Channels ▼
RSS

Open Source

Adobe Opens Flash Scripting Engine Code


Adobe Systems plans on Tuesday to open the source code of its ActionScript Virtual Machine, the scripting engine in the company's ubiquitous Flash Player, and offer it to the Mozilla Foundation, where it will be part of a new open source project called Tamarin.

"Between Flash Player and Mozilla, we're unifying the scripting engine and really giving developers a platform that cuts a very wide swath across the Web community," says Pam Deziel, director of product marketing at Adobe.

ActionScript is a motion graphics-oriented implementation of the ECMAScript programming language standard, which is also the basis of JScript, the scripting engine in Microsoft's Internet Explorer. It's also closely related to Sun's JavaScript. "There are a number of implementations of ECMAScript out there," says Deziel. "We had one, Mozilla had one. It didn't make sense to be operating in two separate silos."

Adobe claims that a key advantage of its scripting engine is its execution speed. "In terms of performance, we think this is going to be pretty much ahead of [JScript]," says Deziel, who adds, "I think both Mozilla and Adobe would be overjoyed if Microsoft were to participate in the project and pick up the code and incorporate the engine into IE."

Speed is critical for online rich media applications because users expect it, having become accustomed to highly responsive local applications. It's also significant in the browser war between Mozilla's Firefox and Internet Explorer—neither organization wants to have slower software.

In a statement offered via e-mail, Satish Dharmaraj, CEO and co-founder of Zimbra, claims Adobe's contribution to Tamarin will keep Firefox ahead of Internet Explorer. "According to our performance testing, Mozilla Firefox is already the fastest browser for rich, Ajax applications and this open source contribution will help Mozilla Firefox perform even faster for these rich applications."

A Microsoft spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Adobe's decision to open source the Flash scripting engine can also be seen as an effort to counter Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere (WPF/E), a subset of Microsoft's graphics display platform that will compete with Adobe's Flash technology.

The biggest threat to Flash, says Richard Monson-Haefel, senior analyst at the Burton Group, is Ajax and Microsoft. "I think what they've realized is Ajax has just taken off," he says. "It's either jump on the Ajax ship or get left behind."

The Tamarin project will implement the final version of the ECMAScript Edition 4 standard language, which Mozilla aims to use in the next version of SpiderMonkey, the scripting engine in Firefox. SpiderMonkey developers can access the Tamarin code at the Mozilla project page.


Related Reading


More Insights






Currently we allow the following HTML tags in comments:

Single tags

These tags can be used alone and don't need an ending tag.

<br> Defines a single line break

<hr> Defines a horizontal line

Matching tags

These require an ending tag - e.g. <i>italic text</i>

<a> Defines an anchor

<b> Defines bold text

<big> Defines big text

<blockquote> Defines a long quotation

<caption> Defines a table caption

<cite> Defines a citation

<code> Defines computer code text

<em> Defines emphasized text

<fieldset> Defines a border around elements in a form

<h1> This is heading 1

<h2> This is heading 2

<h3> This is heading 3

<h4> This is heading 4

<h5> This is heading 5

<h6> This is heading 6

<i> Defines italic text

<p> Defines a paragraph

<pre> Defines preformatted text

<q> Defines a short quotation

<samp> Defines sample computer code text

<small> Defines small text

<span> Defines a section in a document

<s> Defines strikethrough text

<strike> Defines strikethrough text

<strong> Defines strong text

<sub> Defines subscripted text

<sup> Defines superscripted text

<u> Defines underlined text

Dr. Dobb's encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Dr. Dobb's moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing or spam. Dr. Dobb's further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

 
Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | View the list of supported HTML tags you can use to style comments. | Please read our commenting policy.
 

Video