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Startup Aims to Bring Flash Back to the Web

Longtime Flash developer Jim Kremens for years was frustrated by the fact that running Flash-based content on Web sites was no longer feasible. So he developed a new markup language that he hopes will change that.

Called FluidHtml, the new language lets developers build interactive Web sites running rich content without requiring the Adobe Flash plug-in. It is effectively an extension of HTML that can generate Flash content, Kremens said an interview.

Kremens earlier this year launched privately funded FHTML Inc., based in Waltham Mass.  "The goal of the project was to capture all of the dynamics of Flash and usability of the Web, from a developers and users perspective," he said.  Kremens unveiled his new effort last week at the TechCrunch50 conference in San Francisco. (A video of his presentation can be found here).

To make its markup work in Flash, the company uses an interpreter called FHTML.SWF. It reads the FluidHtml markup generated on a page, and then "renders the layout, effects, behaviors and instructions in the markup," according to the company.

The language generates tags and has what it calls a liquid layout engine, which more effectively applies basic Cascade Style Sheet (CSS) concepts. It also includes an animation engine and has no server-side dependencies. It supports basic HTTP requests as well as AJAX, Kremens explained.

Besides simplifying the ability to render Flash on Web sites, a key benefit, is that content created in FluidHtml is searchable as standard HTML. It also supports deep linking, can be built without the need to hire expensive Flash or ActionScript developers, Kremens said.

FHTML released a private beta last week and plans a public beta in November. The company plans a finished release by January 2010.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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