Load 40 image formats into Flash. Oh, and it’s open source.

For for those who don’t know, I’m one of two people behind ZaaLabs (the other being Aaron Boushley). Today we released ZaaIL, an Adobe Alchemy port of DevIL an open source C image library.

Built in image support of Adobe Flash Player limits you to 3 image formats: gif, jpg and png. While this has worked well for many, many years… I recently have needed to expand the types of formats that I could use in Flash Player. I should also note that you can absolutely add support for these formats directly in ActionScript using ByteArray. For example Mike Chambers blogged about an AS3 BMP parser.

I was originally looking for support for TGA, BMP and PSD, when my friend Ben pointed me to DevIL and challenged me to port it using Alchemy.

Porting C code using Alchemy is not a very straight forward process, but between Aaron and I… and with help from Ben Garney and Branden Hall… worked our way through it. We plan on a series of blog posts discussing the process of using Alchemy in detail. Hopefully we can garner enough interest in the community around Alchemy to get Adobe to continue work on it.

ZaaIL is being released as open source software (MIT if you’re interested). We will post it all on GitHub when we get the chance.

I have been asked by a few people if I think Adobe should expand from their three image formats and use something like DevIL in Flash Player… I don’t think they should. Adobe has given us the tools to create really cool things such as ZaaIL. I’d rather the Flash Player team focus on things I find way more important… such as 3D support, mobile performance, hardware accelerated graphics, etc…

ZaaIL allows developers to now to load more that 40 different image types… go ahead give it a try, I particularly like using a PSD file or cover art embedded into an MP3 (View source is enabled):

Get Adobe Flash player

More information can be found over at ZaaLabs.

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