Thursday, July 21, 2016

Firefox Finally Joins The Anti-Flash Revolution

Starting next month, Firebox will finally join the coup to banish Adobe Flash use, by blocking content that is deemed none-essential. This includes Flash elements that aren’t visible to the end user. As a result, Mozilla says, Firefox users will experience less issues with Flash crashing or causing the browser to hang. Battery life, page load speeds, Firefox’s responsiveness, and overall security will all be improved as well.

For those users that still want to enjoy Flash enabled sites, you know the ones that haven't moved to the new generation, Mozilla promises that Firefox will still support legacy Flash content. In order minimize website compatibility problems, the changes are initially going to be limited to a short, curated list of Flash content that can be replaced with HTML. So users won't suddenly be left in the dark. However, Mozilla says it will add more Flash content to the block list in the future, meaning site owners will eventually need to keep up with the times and change their content delivery systems.

Mozilla notes that over the past few years, Firefox has implemented Web APIs to replace functionality that was formerly provided only by plugins. This includes audio/video playback and streaming capabilities, clipboard integration, fast 2D and 3D graphics, WebSocket networking, and microphone/camera access. As websites have switched from Flash to other web technologies, the plugin crash rate in Firefox has dropped significantly:

Starting next year Firefox will require click-to-activate approval from users before a website activates the Flash plugin for any content. Websites that currently use Flash or Silverlight for video or games should plan on adopting HTML technologies as soon as possible. Firefox currently supports encrypted video playback using Adobe Primetime and Google Widevine as alternatives to plugin video.

Most of the major players including Google, Apple and Microsoft have all already implemented plans to phase out or completely end support for Adobe's Flash plugin. Largely citing security concerns as the plugin has notoriously been riddled with security vulnerabilities. Over the past several years Flash has been one of the most targeted exploits for hackers.

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