Adobe Wallaby Benchmarks

Adobe Wallaby is an Air app that converts Adobe .FLA files into a HTML5 group of files . The idea is another workaround to get from .FLA into acceptable code for Apple’s iOS4 and thus around the Steve Jobs blockade on Flash on his iDevices[Wallaby does nothing about the Jobs Java ban]. Having not a few .FLA resources, ye Editor decided to do a little benchmarking. The results were  disappointing simply on the basis of what can be converted; not the performance of the converted files…. well maybe that too.  Here is the lowdown.

First bear in mind that Adobe spokespeople have warned that Wallaby is for banner ads and it is not able to handle advanced data handling features and much of ActionScript. The lack of robust ActionScript support did in the majority of my .FLA files which had been converted from tweens and other Flash animations to ActionScript 2+3 programmatic animations. The net result – all of the  CS2 and CS3 .FLA files did not convert. Now this may be a problem with the older .FLA format.

However, most of the CS4 and CS5 .FLA files, many of which had ActionScript or advanced form and data processing also failed to convert. What did work were the .FLA files that used motion, shape, and color tweens not scripting for animation. Also none of my .FLA files with forms converted. But, .FLA files with simple script commands like gotoandplay() or stop() worked. More advanced loadMovie() and other commands were just too mixed with other scripting to determine why they failed to work.

When the Wallaby conversion did work there was a browser hurdle. The two major Webkit browsers, Chrome 10.0.648 and Safari 5.0.3 [Safari 4.0.3 was very slow] worked for the small, half dozen set of working.FLA conversions. Both were roughly equivalently  fast on startup and operating time . But Firefox 3.6.14, Opera 10.0.11 and IE9 beta 9.0.793  were unable to run any of the converted files including the ones that Chrome and Safari could. Finally the code produced by Wallaby was interesting.

The code for the animation above

Wallaby uses HTML5 and SVG to do the basic vector images and  animations. Wallaby uses some nifty CSS to control the stage, and jQuery JavaScript to manage the whole screen. So the committment to Open Source is, as far as can be seen from these few successful tests, very high. In sum, Wallaby is beta and an Adobe Labs project. It will mature. What now needs to be done is to map wwhat ActionScript can be converted and then address the larger Flash Catalyst like form features. In sum, Wallaby is  a step in the right direction but not nearly as useful as many Flash developers might hope.  See here for more Wallaby Technical Tips.