Adobe Donates ActionScript VM to Mozilla

Adobe has donated the source code to AVM2, their ActionScript virtual machine, to the Mozilla Foundation. The new project is known as Tamarin. As stated in the press release, this is the largest contribution to Mozilla since its inception. For the web development community, this is major news.

Adobe Flex is an application framework that can be compiled to SWF, and executed by Flash Player. Flex includes a scripting language known as ActionScript, which is based on the ECMAScript language specification. JavaScript is based on the very same specification.

Adobe has long been a favorite amongst designers. However, they have been historically challenged when attempting to attract developers. Some see Flash as only displaying annoying animations, a reputation gained in its early incarnations. Others still see overlap between Flash and AJAX, and reject Flash without recognizing the features that make it unique.

With the recent release of Flash Player 9, and the corresponding Flex framework, Adobe has been working to change these opinions. With this move, they have brought out the wine and roses. By contributing this code, they show that they are willing to let Flash and AJAX live harmoniously, each technology strengthening the other.

I’ve assembled the following set of resources containing information and technical details regarding the announcement:

  • Adobe, Mozilla, and Tamarin by Frank Hecker

    Hecker, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation, gives an overview of what the announcement means, and explains why these “sustaining innovations” are critical to the progress of web development.

  • Project Tamarin by Brendan Eich

    Eich, creator of JavaScript and lead technologist at Mozilla, gives credit to the engineers at Adobe and notes that a proof-of-concept integration has already been completed.

  • SpiderMonkey’s relative Tamarin joins the family by Tinic Uro

    Uro, an engineer on the Flash Player at Adobe, outlines a few technical details as to how the code base will be utilized by both Adobe and Mozilla going forward.

  • Tamarin Implications by Ted Patrick

    Patrick, also employed by Adobe, presents a visual diagram of the components present in AVM2. He also speculates on what the open source release will mean for ECMAScript in the future.

  • Adobe Open Sources JavaScript Engine in Mozilla Foundation at Ajaxian

    The comments on this article contain a dialog between Brendan Eich and Jim Ray. Eich gives a brief description on how the VM can be utilized within Firefox and other projects.

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