flash player support

The Final Demise of Adobe Flash?

Following in the footsteps of other major browsers such as Google Chrome and Safari, Mozilla have recently announced plans to begin to retire Adobe Flash starting on August 2nd 2016 with the release of Firefox 48.

The phasing out will begin with a small blocklist, the majority of which will contain URLs of Flash files which Mozilla have identified as being "supercookies" (meaning cookies that are more difficult to detect and delete than usual).  This stage is said to be undetectable to users, but Mozilla are standing firm with the assertion that this will be the beginning of the end of their support for Flash.

The plan is to gradually add elements of Flash which are invisible to users on to the blocklist, the hope being to improve overall browser stability for Firefox, reducing crashes by as much as 10%.

Eventually, in 2017, user experience will change noticeably with Firefox making Flash content completely "click to play".  Various Flash applications will remain viewable, but permission will be required on an individual basis to interact with each one.

Although a clear "the death of Flash is nigh" statement has not been given by Mozilla as of yet, it clearly seems that they are nudging along in this general direction.

But this is not a new idea.  Flash is generally not supported on mobile devices due to its heavy resource usage and security vulnerabilities.  Added to this, the world's leading web browser, Google Chrome, has also made definitive steps towards shutting down the plugin.  In 2015, Chrome blocked auto-playing Flash ads and videos, pausing them by default.  There have been plans unveiled by Google to phase out full support for the Flash software on Chrome by the end of 2016, leaving it enabled by default on just 10 websites, including YouTube, Facebook and Amazon, all of which will be granted an effective "stay of execution" on usage of the technology.  All other sites will have to be manually enabled by the user.

Webmasters currently using the Flash on their websites are encouraged to convert to the more secure, stable HTML5 technology to stream video to their users.  HTML5 has evolved massively in recent years and will provide a richer user experience to website users, playing video seamlessly as browsers look to auto-detect HTML5 players on sites as the preferred alternative player to Flash.

If your website currently uses Flash to display content, we recommend that you look towards converting to HTML5.  This can be very straightforward to do and will ensure that your business does not fall fowl of browser updates, as potential clients click off your website, frustrated by continuous prompts to play resource hungry Flash content.