DENG 2.0

DENG 1.0 has been around for a long time now (almost three years), and there hasn’t been any new code release for quite a while, so some of you might wonder what we’ve been up to, and what the plans are.

We started developing DENG in difficult times. DotCom had just crashed hard, and demand for XForms renderers was low (the W3C XForms WG was still working on it). It was very hard to find contributors as most Flash developers generally disliked everything the W3C produced, and the proprietary nature of Macromedia products made it hard for people outside of the Macromedia world to join such a project. Also, it was nearly impossible to get funding. Nevertheless, we worked hard to make DENG a reality, found a few contributors who saw the potential, and even had a bit of funding (well, at least enough to pay the rent for a while).

A big up goes to Stefano Debenedetti, who was working on a Flash XHTML/CSS renderer for Benetton at the same time i was working on DENG. He quit his day job just a few weeks after we made first contact to come from Italy to Germany for a few months to join the core team and work on DENG fulltime. He eventually implemented the DENG XForms module, as well as an experimental SMIL module.

After we got DENG 1.0 out the door, open source, and with a lot of features (significant subsets of CSS3, XHTML, XForms, SVG, XFrames, etc), we started an open discussion about the future of DENG. The Flash Player 7 was released by Macromedia, introducing Actionscript 2 (an ECMAScript 4 implementation), but not much more that would be relevant for DENG. We thought about porting DENG to Actionscript 2, even wrote some proof of concept modules (Jim Cheng did a DOM implementation, i ported the DENG CSS parser etc).

The UGO initiative was given birth, at first as an attempt to develop an open source framework for the Flash Player. UGO was drawing the attention of quite some developers (both Flash and non-Flash), and some very interesting discussions were going on. The UGO initiative today focuses on providing reliable standards support on ECMAScript-like platforms and is an ongoing project. Current results are a deployment system, a module loader and a non-Flash, ECMAScript XForms implementation for current browsers, developed by Stefano, who luckily found a new employer (Dreamlab) being very pro open source and open standards and actually made all this possible.

I was very busy the last year, working on commercial Flash projects (and I still am). I also moved to Brazil some months ago, and currently am in progress of setting up a company here, so time was very limited thus far to work on DENG or UGO. I feel very bad for that, but unfortunately this was necessary.

With the Flash Player 8 on the horizon, i am now going to catch up with the development of DENG, and push it to version 2.0.

DENG 2.0 will be targeted for Flash Player 8. That means that the current code base will be completely refactored and DENG will leverage all the new features that are going to be introduced by the new Player (many of the new features are not yet published by Macromedia, but some are, like big improvements in drawing API and performance) – along with features developed in the UGO initiative (standards compliant API).

I have high expectations. I am working towards 100% compliance of XForms, SVG Tiny and CSS3 and as much of XHTML compliance as possible, with a strong focus on CSS3 and XForms.

Please contact me at claus at in case you want to contribute code (although it will take some time yet for code contributors to be able to join as the Flash Player 8 is not released yet) or in case you are looking for an open source, zero install, pure clientside, lightweight, modular renderer of XForms, XHTML, SVG etc (you name it) with CSS3. I also haven’t given up hope to get decent funding for that project, in order to make this a fulltime job again, either for me, or for other contributors. Thanks.

7 thoughts on “DENG 2.0

  1. Hello Claus,
    Thank you for the article on Deng 2.0. I will follow the UGO initiative with interest.
    Could you also answer the following questions for me?
    (1) I am currently developing a commercial application for a client and would like the application to have an XForms front-end in Flash. Can the application use Deng 1.0 as the front-end, as the application I am selling is not licensed under a GPL licence?
    (2) Will the UGO products be licensed under a GPL licence or some other license?
    Many thanks,

  2. (1) If you want to integrate DENG into commercial applications, you either have to release the rest of your application’s code under GPL or buy a commercial DENG license.
    (2) The Flash based UGO XForms renderer (DENG 2.0) will most likely be released under GPL, although the final decision has not yet been made.

  3. Will greater text formatting — that is, more XHTML elements and CSS1 properties — be supported in DENG 2.0? Or will this depend on whether Flash 8 supports it? I was thinking in particular of support for , , and vertical-align, but implementation that didn’t wreak havoc on line spacing as all browser implementations currently do ( and , unless accommodated with extra line spacing, tend to screw up line spacing within a text block). I was even hoping for discretionary hyphenation (­), although there is considerable controversy as to whether ­ was ever intended to indicate an end-of-line hyphenation point (but otherwise remain invisible).

  4. Oops, I had a brain spasm — I meant to designate the discretionary hyphen as “­.”

  5. Hello all,

    I am new to DENG and I am having a hard time finding information. I cannot seem to get to your website. I keep getting PHP errors. I am working on a project involving Flash and SVG I would like to diplay a complete SVG file saved from Adobe Illustrator. I need to parse the
    tags and the tags to extract the data into textfield objects for editing but would also like to diplay the complete document with images, shapes and text flows.

    Is this possible with DENG? If not is there anyone out there that would like to freelance or contract to build a SVG Rendering Class? If so please contact me for more information.

    Thank you for any assistance,


  6. Hi Rich,

    i’m very sorry that the DENG website is down. It should be back up soon.

    DENG renders SVG quite well (shapes etc), support for text is rather minimal though. If you intend to render SVG exported from Illustrator, you have to make sure that no entities are used (DENG doesn’t support entities).


  7. Claus:

    It seems that in Flash 8 Macromedia really hasn’t improved the text-formatting capabilities of dynamic textfields. Do you have any plans to implement such improvements (eg, support for baseline shifting) in DENG 2.0? One possibility — although a hideous kludge — would be to implement superscripts and subscripts via sIFR (the text in the SUP and SUB siFR .fla files would be formatted as superscripts and subscripts, respectively). Then DENG could pass these elements to sIFR for rendering. I could even imagine that the font-family and font-size values might be dynamically passed to sIFR. Unfortunately, sIFR is currently not supported from within DENG.


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