Shumway: a SWF interpreter entirely in JavaScript

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Today, Mozilla Research publicly announced the Shumway project. Shumway is JS/HTML library which displays SWF (Flash) content entirely using open web technologies.

Live demo below: Click the car and then use the arrow keys to drive.

I am very excited about this project. There is a lot of Flash content on the web, and Flash is not available for many mobile users, including most new users of Firefox for Android and Firefox OS. Many popular sites are already converting to HTML content, but there is always going to be a long tail of Flash content which is not actively maintained. Although it’s still a research project, my hope is that Shumway will some day be able to play enough Flash content that we could include it as part of Firefox on mobile platforms.

Another possibility of the Shumway technology is that website authors could use Shumway as a JavaScript library to display their legacy Flash content in any modern browser. For example the Shumway team already has an online example of SWF content running in the browser without any browser support at all. This example works in Chrome, and we can probably make it even easier to automatically convert <embed> nodes using shumway with a little bit of scripting. (The example doesn’t work in IE 9 because IE 9 doesn’t support JavaScript typed arrays or “const”. Maybe future versions of IE will join the modern era.)

Mozilla is actively looking for volunteers who are interested in helping build out Shumway to its full potential. We need help implementing important builtin objects, testing and tuning performance, and building out a test suite. For more information, clone the github project, check out the wiki, join the mailing list, and join us on #shumway.