Adobe has announced it will stop developing and distributing Flash at the end of 2020 and is encouraging content creators to move their content to open formats such as HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly. The times, they are a changin'.
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Adobe's venerable Flash extension is, slowly but surely, going the way of the dodo. HTML5 is quickly replacing it in every corner of the Web with faster, quicker-loading and more lightweight tools that are responsive across desktop and mobile devices. But there's an argument for preserving Flash on the 'net.
The slow death of Adobe Flash marches on. Google has announced it will be blocking non-essential Flash content that runs in the background of webpages in September. Mozilla has already started doing this with its Firefox browser this month. Here's what you need to know.
There was a time when browsers needed a little help to deliver decent multimedia content, but we're fast leaving those days behind. For proof, look no further to Google and now Mozilla's decision to cut the ancient Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI), the core API that allows plugins such as Flash and Silverlight to operate.
We already know that enabling Flash in the browser can impact your computer's performance and, along with other factors, slow browsing to a crawl. PCWorld did some tests to find out just how much of a difference running Flash makes.
In another example of how good Steve Jobs was in picking technology losers and winners, in 2010 he listed all of the reasons why the world needed to move on from using Flash. At the time, Jobs was explaining why the iPhone and iPad would not support Flash but it is clear that if he could, he would have banned it from the desktop.
Adobe's Flash plug-in has grown more robust over time, but it's still one of the major causes of instability in Firefox. You could always avoid sites containing Flash content, but that's not exactly practical. Instead, you can try and minimise where things can go wrong by tweaking your browser's settings and performing maintenance on your system.
Flash -- you either love it, or want to see it burning eternally in the fires of Hell. Mozilla's Shumway project, an attempt to create a replacement Flash plug-in that uses HTML5, might ever so slightly placate those barracking for the latter. Previously Shumway has only been available as a separate extension, but it recently made its way into Firefox's nightly builds, hinting at the prospect of mainline inclusion somewhere down the line.
It's fortunate that modern browsers allow you to enable a "click to play" feature for media plug-ins such as Flash. Being a serial tab-opener, I have this feature active so audio from an auto-playing ad doesn't scary the heck out of me, but I could make do simply knowing which tab is producing the noise and acting from there.
Dear Lifehacker, I'm now so reliant on my mobile devices that I only rarely use my laptop. It is far more convenient to use the phone or tablet to look up something. But one challenge I've encountered is viewing TV show episodes on an Android device. The problem is that they virtually all use Flash. Is there an elegant solution that would work for all channels without installing channel-specific applications? Thanks, Eager Viewer
Virgin Australia shifted its back-end systems over the weekend, migrating from Navitaire to Sabre in a shift that was always expected to cause disruption to customers. As expected, the process has experienced the occasional glitch and lots of elements of the site aren't working right now. Those bugs will surely get ironed out over time, but there's one element that seems messy for Virgin's longer-term strategy -- the new online check-in system defaults to using Flash.
Microsoft made sure to curtail Adobe Flash's activities in Internet Explorer 10 Metro, limiting usage of the plug-in to websites the company has verified. While this benefits the security and performance of the browser, it's just annoying if your favourite Flash-powered website isn't included in IE10 Metro's whitelist. So here's how you get around that.
Last month, Google updated Chrome to version 20. As part of the upgrade, the browser's built-in Flash plug-in was moved from the ancient Netscape plug-in API (NPAPI) to Google's newer Pepper API (PPAPI). Unfortunately, by default, Chrome doesn't disable the legacy plug-in and leaves it running side-by-side with the PPAPI one. Fortunately, it's simple to switch the old one off.