Where to move project to

I manage a relatively detailed Flash-based product ‘configurator’ for a client. It makes use of Stage3D and specifically Away3D to present live, manipulable 3D models of the products as they come together into a configuration. It is published on the web as well as being available as an app on both major platorms via AIR. With Flash Player being removed from the major browsers at the end of the year, I am looking for suggestions of possible alternative platforms to use for the web version of the app.

The easiest option is to let the web version go and just continue with the app for both stores. However, I would prefer to keep it alive on the web, and would like to at least have considered and presented the best option(s) before a decision like that is taken. And I would really like to be able to keep a single code-base, so whatever platform it was moved to would ideally work on a mobile device, or would also work as source for an app.

Because of the 3D model aspect, I have wondered whether Unity might work, but do not want users to have to load a plug-in in order to use it, if that is still the case. So I am open to suggestions and ideas. (I would rather not post the project URL publicly, but will send it to you if you PM me.)

Many Flash developers from my community moved to Haxe

have you included tracking/metrics code in that app?
in order to know the percent usage per platform

Why ?


To make a long story short, you’re starting from the get go with the assumption “it has to work on the web”, as if it was an obvious universal law, but do you have anything to back that up?

like real hard analytics number ? or is it just a a feeling?

you also don’t say why the app is both on the web and on 2 plaforms supported by AIR (and congrats on that for being vague as we still don’t know if you’re talking about mobile or desktop).

the why is something important.

so my advice would be be to be less vague and go into the details of why things are like that.

Do you have anything that can tell you how and where the app is used?

What are the reason(s) the AIR clients exists?

When you started this project:

  • was it only a web client, and then you added later the AIR clients?
  • was it only AIR clients, and then later you added the web client ?
  • was it both web and AIR clients from the beginning ?

and then answer again the question why ?

If it started as a web client and then you added AIR clients, what was the reasons for that?

etc.

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I’m in the middle of a big Flash to HTML5 conversion project (lots of little web-based activities and games written over 15 years that will die with the Flash plugin), as part of this project I investigated a number of semi-automated solutions that may have saved me from the re-write (TL;DR none did).

CheerpX sounds the most interesting approach and they recently-(ish) published a new article on progress:

Their approach is to wrap the Flash plugin inside a VM which is then deployed as Web Assembly, note that actual tangible detail is very very hard to come by and they are keeping a lot to themselves.

In theory their solution will let a lot of Flash content run ‘as-is’, but we all know the reality is often very, very different. I wouldn’t hold your breath on this project (especially given how many times they talk about performance challenges) but obviously it’s a very tempting proposition and given your time-frames (and thousands of other variables) it may be worth keeping an eye on.

Toby

and all that for what ?

there are 2 questions to think about

  • does it has to be published on the web or not?
  • depending on the first answer then the question is does it need a rewrite or not ?

Now I’m under the impression that there are a bunch of flash dev that because they were used to publish SWF on the web do not even want to think of changing this habit.

There is a huge amount of SWF content that was packaged up by e-learning course authoring apps like Captivate and Articulate into SCORM zip packages, which are played on Learning Management Systems web sites and delivered to student via the browser. Those SWFs have been around for 2, 5, or even 10 or more years, and now have to be rewritten from scratch in HTML5 to continue to be delivered on LMSs.

@sean72 take a look at OpenFL : https://www.openfl.org/

It replicates most of the flash API, let’s you build for web / desktop (including Linux) / mobile and more. It’s free, open source and under active development. Haxe language looks a lot like as3 and has a lot more under the hood if you need it.

It has Stage3D, Away3D, Starling etc and Josh Tynjala is rewriting the whole Feathers UI lib for it.

Here is a recent web game made with it that uses Away3D : https://community.openfl.org/t/webgl-game-hamster-ball/12554/2

I don’t use video myself but I seem to remember video isn’t available for all platforms yet so if you need it you might want to do some search on that.

There is a guide about porting from as3 : “Learn” => “Books” => “ActionScript 3.0 conversion guide” (looks like I can’t post more than 2 links)
as3hx can automatically turn as3 code into haxe code, but don’t expect it to do 100% of the work.

Also openFL can build to flash/AIR

@Matse That sounds very interesting, I will look into it, thank you!

@zwetan It was developed from the get go for all three platforms. In this case, whether or not it remains on the web will be the client’s preference, not the usage statistics, it is a specialized application that does not need or expect high traffic to be of value.

@tobyski I have not heard of that specific site, but I have heard of the concept of WebAssembly virtualization. There is also AwayJS, but not sure if that is complete.

@satguy There is still a lot of Flash used in sites large and small, especially in custom applications, training and some games. I think it was vicious, spiteful and selfish when a certain highly influential person dissed Flash, and very unfortunate that Adobe chose not to stand up to him. If there was a major browser that was still supporting Flash, I would probably switch to it just for that reason, but that seems unlikely. Every time some tech reporter needs a story and feels lazy, he just writes another ‘Flash is dead’ story, of which there are hundreds, and it saddens me considerably.