Java, Flash, & HTML5 – A Little History
One upon a time, websites relied on Java and Flash to present interactive content such as games and videos. Then, along came HTML5, the latest web standard which can do the job of both Java and Flash. Many, if not most websites, now support HTML5, even if they also still support Java and Flash. Simply put, almost all of us can live without Java or Flash in our browsers.
Now Amazon, Google, and Mozilla are all set to all ban Adobe’s Flash player to one degree or another:
As of 1st September, Amazon will no longer accept Flash ads across its domain. Not because of security risks presented by the ever vulnerable Flash player but rather because of major browsers limiting support for Flash playback:
“This is driven by recent browser setting updates from Google Chrome, and existing browser settings from Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari, that limits Flash content displayed on web pages. This change ensures customers continue to have a positive, consistent experience across Amazon and its affiliates, and that ads displayed across the site function properly for optimal performance.”
So, far from concerns over user security, this move by Amazon is purely to make sure that ads reach a majority of its users by forcing the HTML5 standard. With browsers limiting Flash-based ads, there isn’t much point in selling space for interactive ads that customers won’t be able to interact with.
Similarly, as of 1st September, Google’s Chrome browser will introduce an automatic click-to-play system for all peripheral Flash content, such as ads and fancy banners. Mainstream content, such as videos and games, which are central to the site’s objective, will, however, continue to play as normal.
“With today’s Beta release of Chrome 42, we’ve launched a new setting that automatically pauses plugin content that’s peripheral to the main page. This can help you save precious battery power and CPU cycles. But don’t worry, the primary plugin content on pages (games, videos, etc.) should still run just fine.”
Again, this decision is aimed at enhancing the ad experience for advertisers, among other things, rather than making your browser more secure, although it will no doubt do both.
Firefox has included a Flash click-to-play feature for some time but I believe Mozilla is planning to do away with Flash altogether in an upcoming build, relying solely on HTML5 instead. Add into the equation a recent tweet from Facebook CSO Alex Stamos: “It’s time for Adobe to announce the end-of-life date for Flash“, and it seems the once ubiquitous Flash player may indeed be heading for extinction.
Let’s hope so, one less app that requires constant patching can only be a good thing, yes?