Facebook ends Adobe Flash support, moves to HTML5
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Published on December 21, 2015
A week doesn’t go by without the Adobe Flash file format being removed in part or completely from a major website, browser, or device. The latest site to banish Adobe Flash is Facebook, which is discontinuing the use of Flash videos and switching to HTML5 video. Using Adobe Flash videos requires a browser plug-in from Adobe that frequently has security flaws that made it possible for hackers to remotely control a user’s computer. In addition to security problems, the Adobe Flash plug-in often caused user’s computers to crash, freeze, or perform slowly. With website’s placing more of an emphasis on user experience, along with an increasing emphasis on security, the use of Adobe Flash content on the web has rapidly fallen out of favor.
In a statement this week from Facebook they indicated that switching from Flash to HTML5 enables them to be more innovative and reach more users. With all modern web browsers and mobile devices supporting HTML5 video, it makes sense to drop Adobe Flash in favor of the HTML5 format that works without any browser plug-ins.
Up until last week Facebook had been using HTML5 video instead of Adobe Flash for visitors using more modern web browsers, while allowing older browsers to continue to access video content using Flash. Facebook has now made the switch so they are completely using HTML5 video with no Adobe Flash video use. The HTML5 video format was one of the first standards of the HTML5 specification implemented by browser developers more than three years ago. Users with browsers that are older than three years in age will need to upgrade to a web browser that supports HTML5 if they want to view video on Facebook, as the site will no longer offer the option of using Adobe Flash with older browsers. This has led to an increase in web designers and developers seeking to learn HTML5 so they can implement it effectively.
HTML5 improves accessibility over Flash
Dan Baulig from Facebook stated that by moving away from Adobe Flash to HTML5 they are able to achieve an added benefit of providing improved access to video content for visually impaired users. By moving to HTML5 they have been able to “build a player that is fully accessible to screen readers and keyboard input.”
Scale of Facebook likely to accelerate demise of Adobe Flash format
With this announcement from Facebook, Adobe Flash has been banished from a longer list of influential devices and browsers. The iPhone and iPad already excluded Adobe Flash from these devices, and Google’s YouTube had also moved away from Flash to HTML5. With Facebook moving to stop using Adobe Flash, the format is effectively dead.
Adobe attempts to remain relevant in HTML5 web animation
Adobe is attempting to remain relevant in web animation and interactivity. They’ve thrown a fresh coat of paint on the Adobe Flash program used to create Flash content and Adobe is renaming Flash as Adobe Animate. They are also adding capabilities to create HTML5 interactive content from the newly renamed Adobe Animate. A new name for the tool used to create Adobe Flash content won’t be enough to save Adobe Flash. Under its new name Adobe Animate may provide Adobe with a chance to maintain some relevancy in creating interactive content, but most content going forward will use HTML5 and not Adobe Flash.
About the author
Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the creator and editor of the Digital Classroom book series. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, and Microsoft. He delivers workshops relating to digital marketing, web analytics, SEO, and SEM. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.