What is it?
I asked just this question to Don Woodward, a Principal Scientist and leader of the Adobe Digital Home initiative.
Don explained it in this manner.
Adobe had taken great steps in making the Flash Lite player available to be licensed by mobile device and CE manufacturers. The 3.1 verison of this player supported AS2, MP4, and a host of other standard flash components which would allow the existing base of Flash developers to be leveraged by companies looking to develop content for this platform. If a company licensed the Flash Lite player for their device, Adobe would send over a package of code libraries and documentation, and it was up to the device manufacturer to “port” the player onto the device. As you might imagine, there was an impact on content portability given that it was up to the device manufacturers to make sure their ports were to spec. Needless to say, not all device ports worked the same and one of Flash’s greatest strengths “app portability” was compromised.
Stagecraft looked to address this issue and add some global device type specific enhancements that would improve performance.
As I understand it Stagecraft goes one step farther by wrapping the Flash Lite player in a layer that mitigates the risks associated with porting just the Flash Lite player itself. It insures that SWFs created for one Stagecraft based device will work on all Stagecraft based devices. The one exception here is the use of EDK extensions. If a SWF requires any special capabilities that AS2 cannot offer or perform well, a native “extension” can be created that is accessible via a “intrinsic” class facade that can offload this functionality to the host environment. Portability is preserved across Stagecraft and insured via a device certification process marshaled by Adobe and its partners.
Stagecraft not only insures consistency across devices, it leverages HW graphics acceleration for bitmap compositing and MP4 video. These two things allow developers to create full motion HD user interfaces as well as pull IP video into a connected device.
Do you want to start your own television network today? With Stagecraft you can…
Now for the plug… I have been deeply involved with Stagecraft projects for Comcast, Vizio, Rhapsody, Netflix, Samsung, RCDb, and a few others. I offer services on this as well as browser based connected device UI frameworks. Please contact me for services ranging from globlal strategic approach in this area to content development.
UPDATE: This post goes on to compare some versions of the Flash player and calls out Stagecraft itself.