CreateJS helps Flash Developers Move to Canvas

For those of you who learned Flash before JavaScript, the HTML5 Canvas can seem a little weird. But don’t worry, there’s a framework available to help you make the transition. It’s called CreateJS, it’s backed by Adobe and it’s completely open.

CreateJS LogoSomeone at work tipped me off to this one, and I must admit that I wasn’t very excited about the idea of a game framework for the HTML5 canvas. What would the quality be like? Would it add more benefit than performance cost? Would the API make sense? And would there be some hidden cost?

Although I don’t have all the answers yet, I can report that things look pretty good. CreateJS is completely open and independent framework, which is made up of several smaller modules: EaselJS, TweenJS, SoundJS, and PreloadJS. The nice bit is that you can use them separately, or as a group. Not only that, but there’s a CDN that you can use to maximize your caching potential.

The API is very Flash-like, but not so much as to be a problem. It’s set up to be a nice transition between Flash and Javascript, so knowing either environment will help with the learning curve. There are also some other neat features that I’m happy to see, like throttling, special events and mouse events mapped out to work with various browsers. They even added touch support. Nice! The docs aren’t quite as extensive as I would like, but the thing was only released in December. It’s still new.

For my part, I’m convinced. I’m going to give it a try, see what kind of apps and games I can make with it. I’ll be very interested to see how it performs under pressure.

If You’re Still Using Flash

As if all of this wasn’t nice enough, Adobe has put together a nice little plugin for Flash Pro 6 that allows designers to export artwork for developers. This is perhaps the best bit for teams who make apps and games, because the developer can focus on the programming while someone else works on the art. I should mention that this isn’t a Flash-to-Canvas converter. It’s just a way for you to build a special Flash file who’s sole purpose is to export art and your library. You’ll still need to program the app on your own, but your resources will be nicely arranged for you. Have a look at Adobe’s videos for all the nifty details.