By Marcel Gordon, Product Manager, Swiffy

Some Google projects really do start from one person hacking around. Last summer, an engineering intern named Pieter Senster joined the mobile advertising team to explore how we could display Flash animations on devices that don’t support Adobe Flash player. Pieter made such great progress that Google hired him full time and formed a team to work on the project. Swiffy was born!

Today we’re making the first version of Swiffy available on Google Labs. You can upload a SWF file, and Swiffy will produce an HTML5 version which will run in modern browsers with a high level of SVG support such as Chrome and Safari. It’s still an early version, so it won’t convert all Flash content, but it already works well on ads and animations. We have some examples of converted SWF files if you want to see it in action.

Swiffy uses a compact JSON representation of the animation, which is rendered using SVG and a bit of HTML5 and CSS3. ActionScript 2.0 is also present in the JSON object, and is interpreted in JavaScript in the browser. This representation makes the Swiffy animations almost as compact as the original SWF files.

Swiffy is a great example of how far the web platform has come. Swiffy animations benefit from the recent advancements in JavaScript execution speed and hardware accelerated 2D graphics in the browser. Viva la Web!

Update Sep. 8, 2011: links updated to reflect Swiffy's move out of Labs.

Marcel Gordon is the Product Manager for Swiffy, doing the make-up and carrying the drinks. On the weekends he dresses up as a pirate and takes his hamster for short walks.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor