Two From Flash

When Adobe bought Macromedia it acquired Flash technology, which seems to have been the point, giving Adobe a badly needed toehold in the world of sophisticated web production.See Dave Shea’s mezzoblue. Tim Bray thinks it was more about DreamWeaver. Certainly it allows Adobe to reach most of the computers in the world, because of the widespread adoption of Flash. Herewith two Flash-based applications that might be of interest, and that should, if Adobe has played its cards right, run on your computer right now.

First is a Macromedia legacy piece, FlashPaper. This has been around for a while but hasn’t been much used, so far as I know. In a sense this is the Flash piece that would appear to be redundant for Adobe, since it mimics much of what Adobe’s pdf can do. But I think it offers some interesting possibilities. In essence, it allows you to convert any printable document into a Flash swf file and to present that embedded in a web page, where you can manipulate it in a variety of ways. The main advantage over pdf here is that the document doesn’t require a separate window with its own pdf reader plug-in; Flash makes it happen in situ.

Let me illustrate by embedding a FlashPaper document here.

[kml_flashembed movie=”” height=”400″ width=”450″ /]

The other Adobe application I wanted to point you is a more recent development, issuing from Adobe Labs and labelled currently JamJar. It’s an online collaboration space that — natch — depends on Flash, rather than on the Ajax collection of tools we’re more used to in other “Web 2.0”I’m starting to put this expression in quotes, now. It’s pretty much worn out with overuse. I’ll have to drop it soon. apps. You can put up notes, drawings, files and use a calendar to negotiate a common event time, all in a single, presumably unlimited, plane, which gets negotiated by zooming in and out or fixing particular views. It’s still not ready for prime time — takes too long to load, too long for commands to be acted on, user interface isn’t adquately intuitive, needs layers for better organization of data — but it’s definitely worth taking a look at.

I’ve created a Slaw space at this address for you to play with. You’ll likely have to register with Adobe for the thing to work for you.


  1. Thanks for these, Simon. I look forward to exploring them.


  2. Flashpaper is really good, and is also an affordable (not free) alternative for creating PDF files. Needless to say that sometimes PDF files are really big and could make your browser hang.

    I wish Adobe could add DRM features to Flashpaper.