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Flash Player Black icon

Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome web browsers have blocked the Flash plugin, which plays e-Learning courses and other interactive rich-media content on the Internet. Why course authors and instructional designers should worry about it, and how to protect your content from being blocked?

A bit of history. It’s been a long time since the very first release of Adobe Flash Player that painted the Internet with blazing colors and gave motion to the pre-video web era. It has served us well so far and provided content and game developers with great tools.

Then it started descending like the Roman Empire. The turning point was incompatibility with Apple mobile devices. Flash doesn’t work on the majority of smartphones and tablets. It seems that now it’s time that the Flash project could be temporarily closed soon and wiped off the face of the Internet.

Despite the fact that we don’t want Flash to be killed, there have been several occurrences that prompted us to see the writing on the wall and help you prepare for the End of the Flash World.

Flash gets blocked on Mozilla Firefox

This week (July 14, 2015), Mozilla stopped supporting the Adobe Flash plugin in all versions of the Firefox browser. It blocks all .swf and .flv files by default due to a vulnerability in Flash Player that attackers exploited. Cyber-thieves can use these security holes to install malicious software and steal data.

Updating Flash Player to the most recent version (18.0.0.209) fixes this issue in Firefox (39.0). The environment is constantly changing and this version may be blocked soon as well.

Facebook claims for Flash termination

The Chief Security Officer at Facebook, Alex Stamos, unambiguously called for closing the Flash project. Despite Adobe’s actions and bugfixes they plan to release in the future, Facebook users are recommended not to use this vulnerable technology at any time.

YouTube uses HTML5

The biggest flash video (.flv) provider earlier this year (January 2015) stopped serving videos using the Flash plugin. The YouTube site now uses HTML5 video formats (.mp4) for all modern browsers.

Read more on YouTube Engineering and Developers blog.

What does it mean to iSpring users and other content authors

Make sure that your authoring tool supports HTML5 publishing option besides Flash. If it doesn’t, get rid of this miserable tool, before it gets rid of you with all your Flash courses.

Fortunately, with iSpring 7’s various publishing options, you don’t have to worry about any block actions against Adobe Flash. You can always use HTML5 output, which gives you the same experience as Flash.

Difference in playing back interactive rich-media content:

  • Flash is played by means of Adobe’s proprietary plugin: Flash Player.
  • HTML5 web presentation is played by means of your web browser.

When you publish to Desktop (Flash) it may cause this message to appear in your browser:

Vulnerabile Flash plugin messages in Firefox and Chrome

Solution

Please use the Mobile (HTML5) or Combined (Flash + HTML5) output Publishing option.

Use Mobile (HTML5) or Combined (Flash+HTML5) to overcome the issue with blocking the web content that you produce.

In this case, your Web presentation will work on all mobile devices and desktops with modern web browsers without a third-party plugin that may be blocked. The combo mode will also provide compatibility with older browsers like IE8, but will increase the output file size and publication time.

Read more about this drama with Flash in the world’s largest news feeds:

Flash got beaten by the firefox and runs into to the drunkhead IE.

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18 comments on “Flash Fades to Black

  • I only have the free version of ispring, and when I click on publish, I can choose between desktop(flash) or mobile(html5) outputs only. No combined or executable outputs. is that because it’s the free version?
    thank you for your answer

  • We’ve been using the combined Flash and HTML5 option for a while now. It works very well, we no longer get compatibility issues from customers.

  • It’s good to hear that!

    The only reason why we still have the option “Desktop (Flash)” is because some people still use its handy sub-option called “All in one Flash file”. With Combined and HTML5-only mode you can’t get a single file that is very easy to upload to website builder services like Weebly.

    We are not going to get rid of this Publishing option, but maybe warn people on the Publishing step when they are selecting this option.

  • It’s good to hear that, John!

    The only reason why we still have the option “Desktop (Flash)” is because some people still use its handy sub-option called “All in one Flash file”. With Combined and HTML5-only
    mode you can’t get a single file that is very easy to upload to website builder services like Weebly.

    We are not going to get rid of this Publishing option, but maybe we will warn people with a tooltip when they select this option in the Publish window.

  • Hi Cin,

    During any Flash crisis iSpring Free will be always cool enough because you can select Mobile (HTML5) and your published presentation will work on ALL mobile devices and desktop computers with modern browsers. However, it will not be compatible with older browsers like IE8 and earlier.

  • Yes, you are correct. Those publishing options are only available separately within the free version.
    However, since Flash is slowly going out of style anyway, HTML5 is definitely the way to go :)

  • There´s on truth about about flash which rarely gets addressed: if you kill flash, there’s no alternative that comes even close to it. NOTHING! Html5 is still very young, something like between 5 and 10 years away from reaching the level of Flash. We killed netscape, yes, but there were alternatives which were way better (you’re using one right now, you used one from day 1 when netscape was gone). Eudora, which remains one of the top email programs ever, was killed also, but new alternatives began to appear at the time which could do a lot more (you’re currently using one, Im sure) Amiga computers were awesome, but they too were killed: there were some pretty good alternatives popping up at the time(you’re using one right now).
    So, instead of panicking like a bunch of scared gnus, how about if we simply improve flash? and please don’t mention the hacking crap vulnerability: everything can be hacked. Your bank account, facebook, your windows 8.1 and 10, your email account, and yes, the FBI and the USDD

    If you are in the elearning business, you’ll find that unless you buy a hosting plan (which costs a fair bit of money, and even then it’s never 100% secure), you can’t protect your html5 content. Even a beginner can copy everything that you’ve done.
    Flash can be copied too, but it’s far more complicated to decompile, break up domain protection, etc.
    It’ll be more than 5 years before html5 can catch up with Flash, probably closer to 10 years…

  • I agree with what you’re saying here. Concerning the current Flash Panique, my suspicion is it’s being driven by the one that goes and ogles, which has a self-interest in promoting html5 (and webm), one of the reasons for Yt’s perpetual cussidness towards its users. Mozilla? not so sure what their beef is.

  • Hi, article’s author is here. I agree. Flash, with its cool ActionScript 3.0 coding environment is much better from the developer’s standpoint. But for the end user there is no difference between a Flash or HTML5 version of the PowerPoint. They both look the same. Less secure? Right, but iSpring offers domain protection for HTML5 content as well. Because JS code is obfuscated and domain protection setting is encoded, some advanced hacking methods should be applied (similar to decompiling an .swf bytecode).

    Moreover, Flash can’t be played on mobile devices that are intensively used in e-Learning. I think it describes pretty much everything. Flash popularity falls as fast as mobile technologies grow.

  • Yes, Ispring offers domain protection for html5 but I understand that’s only under the Ispring Learn LMS plans, which can be quite expensive for the average user (but an excellent choice for schools, institutes, universities, etc.). I can protect a flash file in 2 minutes (Password protection, domain protection + obfuscation) completely free. BIG difference if you ask me!

    I use flash on my samsung mobile without any problems but yes, html5 works better on mobile devices and the industry is leaning towards html5. It will become the standard one day, but it hasn’t reached the level yet… far from it.

  • This protection option works with any domain (not with just isrpinglearn.com) and for both Flash/HTML5:
    http://www.ispringsolutions.com/docs/display/ispringsuite/protection+settings

    iSpring Learn with its authentication and HTTPS connection makes the whole process more secure.

    Btw, with WebGL some 3D effects became available in HTML5: http://www.ispringsolutions.com/blog/powerpoint-2013s-exciting-slide-transition-effects-now-supported-in-ispring/ before that it was the only difference in appearance between Flash and HTML5 presentations. Now they are the same. Flash provides slightly better performance on desktops and used for preview mode.

  • Protecting quizzes is not available in ispring quizz maker, only for presentations.
    You’ll have to agree that html5 games will never be like flash games. The industry can’t replace them. Not for decades to come.
    Choosing how html5 looks on different browsers is still a nightmare, which wasn’t the case in flash. Microsoft (IE/Spartan), Mozilla (Firefox), google (Chrome)… they all interpret html5 standards at their own will. They always will.

  • Right, you can protect quizzes only as a part of a course made in iSpring Suite, not in QuizMaker itself.

    I speak about these two technologies in the narrow topic of the e-Learning content creation. iSpring removed any noticeable visual or functional difference between Flash and HTML5 presentations, converted from PPT. See my other post where I tell more about HTML5 on iPad http://www.ispringsolutions.com/blog/view-powerpoint-on-ipad-app-comparison/

    We at iSpring still keep supporting both technologies spending twice more resources for developing and testing to retain the compatibility with Flash. We still care about IE8 users and those who prefer a single .swf file to a folder.

    As for games, Angry Birds and others on Facebook are still Flash. A lot of people play Flash games! Flash CS, Flex and other tools are great environments for developing high quality web games. There is no such a complex and convenient dev environment for HTML5.

  • Hi…a quick question. We have a plethora of courses published as SWF files, not HTML5. As the browsers stop using Flash, does that mean our courses can no longer play? Would you convert each to HTML5, or just leave them as SWF?

  • We have a large number of courses that are SWF files. Are we looking at losing the ability to view these files in the future? Should they be converted to HTML5 or let remain as SWFs?

  • Hi, Angel! Thank you for your question.
    Now Flash is working fine in all desktop browsers (after Adobe’s update). You will be able to view these files in the future using the appropriate web browser. However, this post warns all
    Flash content authors that some browsers may suddenly block this third-party plugin.
    It’s recommended to re-publish your courses using the Combined mode (or HTML5 if you don’t have users who use Internet Explorer 8 and earlier).

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