FlashSpan is an open-source library for spanning Flash content across multiple screens.

FlashSpan relies on the fact that the code running on each computer should generate the exact same visuals over a certain number of frames. It works by keeping track of how many frames each client has rendered, and then closing any gaps in rendering speed.

The library’s written in ActionScript 3 and Java, and meant for development with Flex Builder 3 or similar code-oriented IDEs. The current incarnation wasn’t designed with the Flash CS3 authoring tool in mind, though future versions might add support. It’s all a bit rough, so consider this an alpha.

Some inspiration was draw from Daniel Shiffman’s epic Most Pixels Ever library for Processing, though the projects don’t share source code.


The code is divided into two core components: FlashSpanServer, a Java app responsible for keeping all of the screens in sync, and FlashSpanClient, an AS3 app built to handle the actual content and screen offsets.

The project lives in a GitHub repository.


FlashSpan was initially developed for Newsworthy Chicago, an interactive installation at the Hyde Park Art Center.

FlashSpan emerged as a means of distributing the project’s live text content across an 80 foot, 10 projector video wall. Newsworthy was conceived of and designed by a group of graphic design graduate students at UIC: Sara Bassick, Renata Graw, Michael Ruberto, and Gretchen Schulfer. The code was written by Eric Mika.


FlashSpan is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License.


Eric Mika

Photo: Helloleticia