Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Flash internals, security and inside look

SWF (Shockwave video files) and FLA (flash video files) are every where now. Adobe/Macromedia provides good software, but was also smart to get their plugins on all most all computers by default now. Most websites are designed in flash format. See flash file internals for the file format and details.

However if I want to do any thing sophisticated like dynamic changes to images or movies, I have no control. The reason claimed is security and sandbox. Well, it is secure (not completely though, see flash problems) from browsing point of view assuming that providers are really careful and not harmful to users. It is very difficult to create secure movies (with no breaches on user computer). Coming to why I looked at flash internals, it is equally difficult for creating private(with ownership and secrecy) flash videos. Solution is not going to some other apple or microsoft technologies, but to have open and secure protocol so that others can extend. It is proprietary and there is no way other than waiting for Adobe to come up with secure extensions.

I see announcements about their new protocol RTMP recently. Common sense says it is no more secure than obscure. It just seems business strategy to keep people locked for some more time and also to buy their new servers. We either need alternatives like open source or corporates with open standard protocols like HTTP and RTSP.

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