Need expert strategy consulting advice SWF/AIR/AS3/Apps

I am looking for a consultant to give us some strategic advice on a development roadmap for a desktop app that can load and play SWFs from a server. We have a significant number of SWFs with complex AS3, currently being delivered via browser flash player. Looking for recommendations on how to structure an app replacement that will survive the end of the browser FP without requiring rewrites of FLAs. (Kirupa, Senocular, do you guys do consulting work?) Thanks!

I don’t do any consulting work! :smile:

Regarding your question, the best option would be to migrate to a non-Flash solution. Whatever approach you take will go out of support when the browser and OS vendors block the Flash player from being on the users’ machine.

Hi Kirupa - too bad, you would be in demand as a consultant! :wink:
In our case we have around 3000 mini-tutorials, each is an FLA & its SWF. They have many years of valid life left in them so rewriting them or even recompiling them all is a huge cost. I’m thinking to use an AIR app under the assumption that Adobe will continue to support AIR loading SWFs for some time yet. Alternatively maybe Electron with the PPAPI FP but I don’t know if that functionality will be disabled next year too. So I’m looking for someone to help with research and creative ideas.

NWJS has the option also:

But it seems all these Chromium based middleswares will not allow it soon?

Options are becoming very limited quickly, anything other than actual migration seems like a failed stop gap in wanting to hold on to Flash.

Thank you, good inputs.

What are everyone’s thoughts on AIR in general and using it to load SWFs specifically?

I think I remember (which may be wrong) reading somewhere that Air 20 or 21 was the last version you could include the Flash Player so users didint need it installed?

Adobe will provide basic security support – limited to security fixes only for desktop platforms (Windows 7 and above, and Mac OS X) – for Adobe AIR v32 until the end of 2020. After that time, Adobe support for AIR will be discontinued

Each of those Adobe links leads to HARMAN.
HARMAN provides support on behalf of Adobe® for the Adobe AIR® software and the AIR SDK, and extended support for Adobe Flash® Player for enterprise customers. HARMAN’s offerings also include consultancy, support and migration services for companies looking to move their applications away from Flash technologies over to HTML5 via solutions such as Angular, Apache Royale and other JavaScript based frameworks.

What are they?

They are training tutorials covering various technical aspects of satellite communications, including certification exams. They include lots of timeline graphics and AS3 scripting for interactivity and simulation of equipment behavior. They use built-in components, movieclips with linked classes, lots of Away3D (v4 and v4), & big AS3 code libraries. They were developed from around 2008 to the present. (Flash Pro/Animate is a REALLY excellent authoring environment for interactive technical training!)

What type of interactions do you have, are they complex?

Exams and interactive training simulations sound perfect for HTML/CSS/JS. Is converting the applicable parts of your demonstrative tutorials to video an option and then use HTML and JS to control the playback, allowing users to jump around to sections in the videos, etc?

Are there any examples/samples online?

Regardless I think most would feel trying to hold onto Flash is just prolonging the inevitable and instead converting towards current and future standards is the way to go moving forward. But for those whom still have large scale corporate enterprise training etc., remaining in Flash then its a problem. Thats why Adobe announced the end of Flash a few years back to give people time to plan their transition and maybe assumedly is why they are now handing things now over to HARMAN as seen in the links above.

Yeah, they are pretty complex. Things like generating real-time signals in a spectrum analyzer or oscilloscope, coupled to knobs and buttons on the instrument, or 3D dish antennas that you move around and turn bolts on with a wrench. We don’t use any videos and we try to make tutorials simulate real-world behavior, rather than demonstrating. In Flash each display list object can be a scriptable object and we use that heavily.

This video is a bunch of screen shots of a user interactive with different SWFs:

I definitely plan to move to a non-flash solution but in the meantime I don’t want to have to rewrite tons of code and regenerate graphics that works great if I can avoid it or delay it, One interim option might be an AIR app. (Thank you for the links to Harmon, btw – I am getting in touch with them.)

Another issue is that the workflow and source code security with HTML5/Canvas/JS would cause us a lot of hassles. Up to now, we’ve been holding off making a big decision to switch frameworks while watching the HTML5 ecosystem mature. So I’m open to all ideas and suggestions.

Oh yeah, I see.

Well maybe if your systems are managed you can create and wrap things in a NWJS or Electron app and can control the versioning? By doing so you may be able to hold the app back in time per say and ensure the Flash/SWF features remain working, the same with an Air app if needed? But if you are worried about securities then maybe that approach would be a concern also.

I’m curious what you find out from HARMAN, their verbiage does not sound cheap.

Really, such as?

@senocular, where art thou ? :sen: :smile:

On source code security, if we use JS it becomes difficult to prevent copying, and moreover, opens holes for students to alter their own assessment results.

On workflow, what’s nice about SWFs is that each one is a compact, self-contained file with all assets and code embedded, so a course with 200 pages is manageable just using Animate (and many are reused from other courses). With HTML5/JS I think we’d end up with a whole project folder for each “page”. I don’t know how to make that as manageable using an IDE like Intellij and graphics built somewhere else. But I have a lot to learn so maybe there are ways to design a decent the workflow for our unusual situation.

Pretty sure he hasn’t been focused on Flash or ActionScript since the cancellation of ActionScript 4 and its associated initiatives.

I don’t understand why would using AIR would be any issue? It’s almost the same thing as Flash, just standalone runtime. Sure, its not integrated into browser but that shouldn’t be a problem for such specialized use-case as yours.

You can also load external SWF’s, on desktop there shouldn’t be any issues (vs. iOS for example which ignored AS3 code in the SWF’s last time I checked). Either you should be able to load them from http(s) directly or download as temp fiels and then replay locally.

A standalone AIR app can do all that - moreover, you can use such app “forever” on desktops (not on mobile where there are new requirements and hardware all the time so the runtime needs to be updated frequently).

Rather than converting 3k tutorials I’d definitely look for solutions to replay swf’s. I’ve even heard there was something available for C++ (sdk to replay swfs). Not sure how good they were in interpreting AS3. Anyway you shouldn’t neeed to research that, just use AIR! AIR 32 would do fine, you don’t need 33 from Harman, thats mostly needed now for Android 64 bit.

I agree with falcan, I’ve been out of the loop for a bit, but for a right now quick and easy solution to get you by for maybe a few years, air should be fine.

As far as the future, any time guarantee, and harman, that may be another story.

You will find active AIR developers on the starling framework forum, and perhaps the adobe mobile Dev forums

Kirupa and friends ( although the best website ever of course) haven’t touched as3 in years.

I doubt that impedes his knowledge however. :wink:

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My Flash Kung Fu is no longer strong. :bowing_man: