Adobe opens FLV and SWF formats

This is interesting, after so many years, Adobe has decided to open the FLV and SWF formats, which means that we’ll be able to do more interesting things with them now as developers. For those who may not pay attention, pretty much any animation you see on the web is in SWF format, and FLV is what is used almost universally for web-based video players, such as you see with YouTube.

Adobe will be removing the licensing restrictions on all platforms, including television, mobil devices, etc. for these formats as a part of the Open Screen Project.

The Open Screen Project is working to enable a consistent runtime environment – taking advantage of Adobe® Flash® Player and, in the future, Adobe AIR™ — that will remove barriers for developers and designers as they publish content and applications across desktops and consumer devices, including phones, mobile internet devices (MIDs), and set top boxes. The Open Screen Project will address potential technology fragmentation by allowing the runtime technology to be updated seamlessly over the air on mobile devices. The consistent runtime environment will provide optimal performance across a variety of operating systems and devices, and ultimately provide the best experience to consumers.

Specifically, this work will include:

  • Removing restrictions on use of the SWF and FLV/F4V specifications
  • Publishing the device porting layer APIs for Adobe Flash Player
  • Publishing the Adobe Flash® Cast™ protocol and the AMF protocol for robust data services
  • Removing licensing fees – making next major releases of Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices free
What’s it mean and why’s it important?
Recently there’s been a move by Microsoft with the Silverlight product to get access into this space. This move will solidify Adobe’s position and make it much harder for Silverlight to gain traction.
Additionally, this will most likely mean that we’ll soon see support in the Iphone for SWF, more commonly known as flash. That will mean that in the future Iphone users won’t see vast empty areas on pages where flash objects should be. This was missing from the Iphone previously due to licensing costs.

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