JavaScript Hack Brings Flash to the iPhone…Sort of

19 Comments

Adobe FlashThe iPhone’s lack of support for Adobe’s Flash platform has been a topic of much debate ever since the smartphone’s 2007 début. However, a recently developed JavaScript work-around successfully manages to get Apple’s popular iPhone running Flash files, without the need to void your warranty by jailbreaking.

The script, which goes by the name of Gordon, was capably developed by Tobias Schneider, a programmer from Munich, Germany. Sadly the small script does not give true fully functional Flash support to the iPhone, as the software only enables Flash files to be displayed within the iPhone’s Safari browser.

However, the hapless and rather weighted shortcomings do not end there, as in order for the script to work correctly, website owners must incorporate Schneider’s code on each and every flash page they want to display correctly on the iPhone. In addition to this, preliminary tests have shown that pages running the new Gordon hack push the iPhone’s central processing unit (CPU) to it’s up-most limits.

Schneider’s freely distributed open-source project, which works thanks to a Flash runtime written in pure JavaScript, unfortunately has its limitations, despite it being admirable and in some ways a successful effort. The restraints in place will stop this nifty piece of code from receiving wide-spread adoption, so don’t expect too many Flash-enabled sites popping up on your iPhone any time soon.

If you want to see Flash in action on your iPhone now, you can. Simply get Safari open and head on over to Paul Irish’s site to give various demos of Gordon a spin. But be warned Adobe’s Flash is one resource-intensive extension which will eat at your iPhone’s battery power in no time.

19 Comments

Skex

This seems more like deep corporate propaganda than an real article: “But be warned Adobe’s Flash is one resource-intensive extension which will eat at your iPhone’s battery power in no time.” Isn’t this one if apples arguments against allowing flash? Other than the fact that flash is the only threat to their stranglehold monopoly on applications. I didn’t notice any different battery usage between this and any native app I usually use, and even if I did, I’d pay that price just to be able to use flash. Apple is screwing their customers and themselves and they’re going to learn thatthe hard way pretty soon, as their majority market share on mp3 players, mp3 sales, application sales, and dataphones wont last much longer.

Alex

Hello there, some page need adobe flash player can somebody explain to me where’s link for download?? Thks.. Alex

Manmay

Gr8 work ….

While trying this out if find the following
1. This script supports swf decoding only if that swf is made up of certain tags.
2. This script throws an error if tested locally saying “Error: not well formed” in _base.js, BUT IF THIS SCRIPT IS HOSTED THEN ALL IS PERFECT … :)))

Paul

What a strange and biased article.

“Sadly the small script does not give true fully functional Flash support to the iPhone, as the software only enables Flash files to be displayed within the iPhone’s Safari browser.”

Well, duh. Where else would you want Flash files to run? Adobe Air notwithstanding, in the browser is where 99% of all users run Flash.

And it’s not a particularly “small script” — it’s thousands of lines of code. Check it out. What Schneider has done is very clever, and a very impressive achievement. Simply allowing Flash swf’s to run native in a browser (iPhone or otherwise) rather than in a plugin is a potentially game-changing moment in the evolution of RIA technology.

As regards CPU utilisation, Gordon uses the native SVG engine in the browser to do the rendering — so if it uses a lot of CPU, that’s Apple’s fault, not Schneider’s. And by “it’s up-most limits” presumably you mean “its utmost limits”?

Philip

Nice article Chris, until you go and totally contradict yourself.

“But be warned Adobe’s Flash is one resource-intensive extension which will eat at your iPhone’s battery power in no time”

Uhh…? But this is clearly NOT “Adobe’s Flash”, you just said it was a thrid-party javascript runtime. Not to be confused with Adobe’s official Flash Player which (behind the scenes) probably runs just fine on an iPhone. It’s loose talk like that making people think that an official optimized Flash Player should never appear on the iPhone.

GW

Two things. 1. When did jailbreaking your phone lead to a voided warranty? Please enlighten me. 2. How can having a jailbroken phone allow you to view flash?

Richard

Since you agreed to Apples T&Cs when purchasing the iPhone. It states in the T&C that any modification to the devices software is in violation of the T&C and can subsequently void your warranty.

It is not illegal but, it can void your warranty.

King TJ

Flash would be nice to have (with the ability to de-select an option in Safari so it could be turned back off, at will) … but this javascript hack really doesn’t sound practical. It’s more of a “proof of concept” thing – to show that someone found a work-around to actually make it work, than a realistic solution.

It sounded to me like Adobe was able and willing to make a much more usable iPhone flash solution – but Apple killed that effort. So it seems pretty doubtful to me, this late in the game, that we’ll see a usable or official Flash solution on the iPhone, period. (Apple has reasons for not wanting it on the iPhone at all. Battery life? Perhaps, but that’s also proved to be a favorite Steve Jobs excuse for something not being ready for the product…. I think it’s much more a belief of Apple’s that Adobe shouldn’t wield so much control over the Internet web experience.) After all, many similar solutions exist. Microsoft would like everyone to use “Silverlight” instead of Flash, for example. Apple even went so far as to work things out with Google so YouTube would convert all their existing videos to H.264 format instead of Flash – just so they’d play on the iPhone properly.

Gubatron

I do want Flash. Flash brought a standard plugin for video streaming to the web and only for that feature alone it’d be awesome having it on the phone.

The added value of thousands upon thousands of flash applications already out there is just a little plus.

Can’t wait for Flash on the Android, there’s a lot of awesome stuff that could be ported to phones thanks to it.

Vei

Do you work for Adobe?, or are you using your iPhone plugged to the wall? I’d like to be able to choose the few cases I’d like to use flash, but I’d better stay without flash, than being forced to see all that flash garbage over the Internet, gosh!…

dankando

For me, Flash is not a major requirement, 99% of all the website I ever want to visit work perfectly on my iPhone, the 1% exception I can deal with for the sake of more battery life.

Someone

I don’t want flash on my iphone, it just allows more ads to be displayed. If I need flash, I use my laptop. Anyway, all the websites I use never have flash on them!

Julian

If you don’t want it, then don’t get it! “Your” problem is now solved.

Vei

Now let’s hope someone make a Click2Flash&Gordon for iPhone to be able to choose what we wait our batteries with…

Comments are closed.