Flash Video on the way out. It’s been a long time coming but in the past few weeks another nail has been struck in Flash’s coffin.
Flash is a multimedia software platform that allows for the delivery of animation, video, graphics and games across the internet on a variety of devices. To access Flash content on a website you need to have a Flash Plugin installed on your system.
Mozilla – makers of the Firefox web browser recently announced that Flash would be disabled by default. This is down to continued security risks posed by the plugin. The Flash plugin provides a number of exploits that potentially allow unrestricted access to your computer by malicious software or hackers.
Not just a Flash in the pan
Flash has been around in one form or another on most people’s computer since the late 1990’s. Originally created by FutureWare which was later acquired and reworked by Macromedia who were later bought by creative software giant Adobe.
In the early days of the internet it allowed for the delivery of media rich content over slow internet connections.
Signs of things to come
When Steve Jobs debuted the iPad in 2010, he did so while subtly dropping hints that Flash would not be supported on the platform. During the original on stage demo of the iPad, where Jobs expertly demoed ‘couch computing’ one of the websites he visited on the iPad featured the all to familiar ‘Plug In Not Supported’ box on the page where Flash content would have been displayed.
Flash at the time was a battery hungry addition to the limited iPad system, it’s inclusion would have severely reduced performance. The iPad’s high profile success was one of a number of catalysts in the development of alternative rich media delivery options for use over the web – whether mobile or not.
Google’s Android operating system for phones and tablets dropped support for Flash in 2012. There were many reasons behind the drop, most publicly were existing security issues with the platform as well as the continued drain on system performance and battery life on mobile devices.
In January 2015 YouTube dropped support for Flash based video playback in favor of HTML5.
Flash Video Alternative HTML5
The replacement for the Flash platform has emerged as HTML5. This a revision of the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), the standard programming language for describing the contents and appearance of Web pages (http://searchsoa.techtarget.com/definition/HTML5).
HTML 5 adds a huge amount of functionality to websites that have previously relied upon plugins like Flash. This includes web video.
Flash Video Disadvantage
Flash content is not going to disappear overnight. Many websites that host their own video content such as news sites.
But at the moment sites that use Flash are at a massive disadvantage. Their content can not be seen by many users by default. By asking they visitors to use Flash they are asking them to take a risk with their personal security.
Web Video is meant to enrich, engage and inform, not make people worry about basic web security.
It’s worth noting that Flash as development platform and creative tool is far from dead. The Flash Development environment offered by Adobe allows creatives and developers to publish projects into HTML5 Canvas, WebGL and other platforms.
Plan for the future
Choosing how to distribute your video content online is an important decision. This is something that Workshop Media can help you do.
Relying on third party plug ins like Flash or even DivX is looking like unacceptable risk.
Website visitors are not going to wait around to download additional software to watch a promotional video. The expectation for any content on your website or social platform is that it should just work. They are certainly not going to want to take a risk on web security either.
Web Video should enhance the experience of visiting a website and provide a valuable addition to your content – it should not become a chore to watch. Many Web Video hosting platforms provide HTML 5 based playback including YouTube, Vzaar and Vimeo.
Adobe will no doubt patch the Flash Plugin and plug the security issues – until the next issues are found.
Get in touch with Workshop Media if you’re interested in using Video to promote yourself or business online. We’re always happy to help and advise.