Adobe Labs has released a research project codenamed Alchemy that lets you compile C and C++ code that is targeted to run on the open source ActionScript Virtual Machine (AVM2). The purpose of the preview is to assess the level of community interest in reusing existing C and C++ libraries in Web applications that run on Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR.
With Alchemy, Web application developers can now reuse hundreds of millions of lines of existing open source C and C++ client or server-side code on the Flash Platform. Alchemy brings the power of high performance C and C++ libraries to Web applications with minimal degradation on AVM2. The C/C++ code is compiled to ActionScript 3.0 as a SWF or SWC that runs on Adobe Flash Player 10 or Adobe AIR 1.5.
Alchemy, which can be downloaded here is primarily intended to be used with C/C++ libraries that have few operating system dependencies. Targeting computation-intensive use cases, such as audio/video transcoding, data manipulation, XML parsing, cryptographic functions or physics simulation, performance can be considerably faster than ActionScript 3.0 and anywhere from 2-10x slower than native C/C++ code. Alchemy is not intended for general development of SWF applications using C/C++.
With Alchemy, it is easy bridge between C/C++ and ActionScript 3.0 to expand the capabilities of applications on the Flash Platform, while ensuring that the generated SWCs and SWFs cannot bypass existing Flash Player security protections.
Adobe is providing some example libraries, and developers are encouraged to share their ported libraries.
The Alchemy preview is prerelease software that is not supported by Adobe and may contain bugs. It is therefore advised that Alchemy not be used to generate code for use in production.