Started Advent of Code 2020 – Switched to Ruffle

Ruffle Logo and Description

This year AOC went a little differently. I was thinking that after a year of not using Rust, I might like to try again and see if I could improve on last year, but after completing 8 days of problems I felt a bit less “Rusty”...

I had recently seen mention of Ruffle – a new runs-in-browser plugin-free Flash emulator – and the fact that Flash was dying in the new year, and thought I'd like to help the effort. I grew up with places like Newgrounds providing games and animated videos that were free to access, and things like Radiskull & Devil Doll, which frankly I'm still referencing today.

I cloned the repo, began looking through issues on Github and started hacking:

Hopefully I'll continue to contribute to Ruffle, but I'm so grateful that my foray into Advent of Code lead to me becoming proficient enough at Rust to start making open source contributions.

I was also very excited to get my hands dirty with WASM, and discover the possibilities (and challenges) of building a Rust program for the web. I have found the tooling, the compile error messages and the linking with JavaScript easier than expected. Naturally there are some difficulties when it comes to types (especially as you cannot use Rust types in JS, and JS types are not very “rust”) – but certainly it enables kinds of processing that were limited to plugins only in the past (mostly due to speed) – and Flash has many parts like animating vector graphics, live interaction, and some embedded movies and things that make speed very critical.

As 2020 was for most of us a challenging year, I am glad to have finished it with something as optimistic as preserving the legacy online art created with Flash, and with that much of my childhood inspiration.