iPaper… the new FlashPaper?

A little over a month ago I wrote about how FlashPaper seemed like it was taking its last dying breath. After reading the comments and doing some searching on my own,
Share currently seems to be the only continuation of FlashPaper in any form by Adobe. This was a little disappointing since Share is definitely not FlashPaper. Share (much like its name states) is basically a document sharing product that offers an embeddable preview of the document that you can embed on your site. The keyword there is “preview”. The preview is very basic and doesn’t give you any controls besides changing the page. The only way to actually look at the document in all of its glory, with some of the old FlashPaper controls, is to click on the preview which links the user back to Share’s website where the actual document is hosted. Unfortunately this is very limiting and annoying to people who are used to being able to embed the entire FlashPaper application in their own page.

A month and a half later and along comes a new tool to possibly fill the void left by FlashPaper.

Scribd, another document sharing website competing with Share, has released their own version of FlashPaper called iPaper. At first glance, iPaper seems to be everything I was hoping FlashPaper 3 would be. It offers all of the tools that FlashPaper 2 offered, including embedding the entire application, plus some:

  • iPaper can convert PDFs, Word docs, Powerpoint docs, OpenOffice docs, and more to Flash.
  • You can integrate Google ads into your documents.
  • Security… which I still need to look into.
  • Very light… only 96 KB.
  • Sharing features built in.

But the thing that caught my eye the most (that I still need to investigate further) is that Scribd offers a full API.

From their site: “Use the Scribd API to harness the full power of Scribd’s scalable conversion system, storage system, ad network, search engine, and iPaper viewer on your website at no cost to you.”
Looks like you will be able to control all of iPaper’s controls through an API much like FlashPaper allowed.
This is very exciting and I can’t wait to dig deeper into it and see if there is a need for a component at all anymore. One thing I do see the need for though is an AS3 library to communicate with Scribd’s API.

So I started AS3ScribdLib.
Nothing has been added yet, but keep your eye out and hopefully it will be coming soon.

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  • Hi there,
    I’m the CTO at Scribd. I’d just like to let you know that I’ve been following this site for a while now. Back when we were using FlashPaper at Scribd, your component and FlashPaper tips were influential and helpful.

    We were big fans of FlashPaper too; despite its problems, we built an entire company around it. We met with the people at Adobe who were originally behind FlashPaper, and tried to convince them to revive and develop the project. Unfortunately, Adobe just wasn’t interested in doing so.

    so, we built iPaper. As you know, we built it from scratch, not on top of FlashPaper, and there are a number of internal and architectural differences which I believe lead to a much better user experience. iPaper uses functionality only available in AS3 to separate the content of the document from the iPaper application, so the user only has to download the application once. There are numerous improvements in the handling of fonts, shapes, text, memory management, and the user interface.

    We’d like iPaper to pick up where FlashPaper left off, encouraging an ecosystem of products and services to form around our free APIs. AS3ScribdLib sounds like a great idea, and I’m excited to see where you go with it. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if we can help you.

    Best regards,

  • Looking at Scribd I cann’t help but think Adobe missed an opportunity by not taking FlashPaper further. With a single player (Flash) you can render documents, play media, and deliver apps. Wonder where Adobe PDF reader fits in.

  • You’ve got a great product, Jared. I’m definitely going to be doing some things with scribd.

    I never knew FlashPaper had been discontinued by Adobe. I don’t see the logic behind it.

  • My company is working on a website where our client will be hosting a large repository of word and pdf documents. We do not want to monetize these documents and have been looking at FlashPaper 2 to display these documents. I was wondering if someone could answer the following questions for me:

    1. Does FlashPaper2 have an API that can be used in a LAMP environment or would we need to install a Windows server?

    2. If we use Scribd’s iPaper as an alternative technology, do we have to upload everything to Scribd’s server or can do everything on our own server without giving Scribd visibility into our documents? If it is the latter, would we need a Windows server? How does Scribd handle privacy issues?

    3. Does Scribd provide an option to turn off the monetization of the iPaper contents or is this something that cannot be avoided? In our case, we do not want to use ads at all.

    4. How do FlashPaper and iPaper compare with Print2Flash?

    If Jared or someone else can provide insights into these questions, I would deeply appreciate it.

  • Hello,

    Robert, have you found out a solution for your issue ?

    We are currently in the same situation you were at that time.

    We would really appreciate some help.

  • I’d like to bump the last comment again. Do you have to upload to Scribd’s server, or can you use on your own server with zero vis to Scribd? I have similar issue with regard to privacy.

  • I was wondering if I can still use my old FlashPaper on an older laptop that is running Windows XP Pro to create my Flash files that can then be embedded into other documents and web pages? I have not used FlashPaper since upgrading my machine to Windows 7 Ultimate about 3 weeks ago. It kept failing during install to Windows 7. I really loved printing to FlashPaper and embedding the resulting Flash file to my social networking sites because they took up alot less space on the screen and could be resized, scrolled, etc. by the viewer. So sad to see that FlashPaper is no longer supported by Adobe/Macromedia and is no longer being updated.

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