All posts tagged ‘flash’

File Under: Browsers

Disable Flash With ‘Click-to-Play’ Option in Latest Firefox Preview

Firefox's proposed click-to-play model for plugins like Adobe Flash Player

Firefox developers are considering making web plugins like Adobe Flash an opt-in feature. Although there is still a long way to go before it’s ready for Firefox proper, switching to an opt-in, “click-to-play” approach for plugins could help make Firefox faster, more secure and a bit easier on the laptop battery.

A very early version of the “click-to-play” option for plugins is now available in the Firefox nightly channel. Once that’s installed you’ll need to type about:config in your URL bar and then search for and enable the plugins.click_to_play flag. Once that’s done visit a page with Flash content and it won’t load until you click on it.

While HTML5 lessens the need for Flash and other plugins, they’re still a big part of the web today. Even where HTML5 has had great success — like the video tag — it hasn’t yet solved every publisher’s problems and remains incapable of some of the things Flash can do. That means Flash will likely remain a necessary part of the web for at least a few more years. At the same time Flash and other plugins are often responsible for poor performance and security vulnerabilities. So if something is necessary, but can slow down your browser and can be the source of attacks, what do you do?

At Webmonkey we’ve long advocated NoScript or even disabling plugins system-wide.

Another popular solution is the click-to-play approach that Mozilla developers are considering. It’s not a new solution, Chrome offers the option, but so far no web browser has yet made it the default behavior. Savvy users will already know that you don’t need to wait for Firefox to implement this feature to block Flash. If you’d like to prevent Flash from loading until you say so you can do that today with Flashblock (Safari users can try the Click to Flash add-on, Chrome will block plugins out of the box, see the Plugins section in Chrome’s settings).

Visit a webpage with embedded Flash content when Flashblock or similar is installed and you’ll see a static image where the Flash movie would normally be playing. Click the image and then the plugin loads. Because Flashblock blocks even things you don’t realize are Flash, for example banner ads, it can greatly reduce memory use and speed up your browser by preventing those elements from running in the background. Indeed Flashblock and its ilk are like ad-blockers, hard to live without once you’ve become accustomed to them.

Whether or not the click-to-play approach that Mozilla is considering will ever become the default behavior for Firefox remains to be seen. This very early release is rough around the edges and nowhere near ready for prime time, but the goal is to have it be part of — disabled, but part of — Firefox 14.

File Under: Programming

Got a Profitable Flash-Based Videogame? Adobe Wants a Cut

Adobe has released Flash Player 11.2 and has decided it’s high time the once-ubiquitous browser plug-in started earning the company a bit of money.

Starting Aug. 1, 2012, Adobe will begin taking a 9 percent cut of game developers’ net revenue over $50,000.

For most Flash developers that means the new revenue sharing plan will not have any effect, but for the very successful companies building Flash-based games using the new domain memory in combination with the Stage 3D hardware acceleration, the change may affect the bottom line.

Users of Flash Player 11 don’t need to pay anything.

There are two exceptions to Adobe’s new revenue-sharing model. The first way to avoid it is to crank out your app now, before that Aug. 1 deadline arrives. The second option is to switch over the developing for AIR, in which case there is no revenue sharing. That means that the new rules don’t apply to any AIR apps compiled to standalone apps for iOS or Android.

So what are you getting for your 9 percent fee? Access to what Adobe is calling Flash’s “premium” features category. The premium features all revolve around the hardware-accelerated Stage 3D graphics in Flash Player 11. The Stage 3D rendering in Flash 11 consists of a low level API that offers hardware-accelerated 2-D and 3-D graphics. Adobe claims that Stage 3D can deliver “console-quality games” in the browser.

Adobe says the new premium-tier features and the accompanying fees are aimed at “game developers interested in creating the most advanced, graphically sophisticated, next-generation games for the web.”

Of course developers may also note that Adobe’s announcement comes on the heels of an impressive HTML5 gaming demo from Mozilla, which might offer some game developers another possible way to avoid Adobe’s revenue sharing plan.

File Under: Browsers

Adobe Confirms: No Flash for Chrome on Android

Google issued a beta release of Chrome for Android earlier today. The browser provides support for modern web standards and includes a number of compelling features that aren’t available in the Android’s default browser. One noteworthy Chrome desktop feature that isn’t included in the mobile port, however, is the integrated Flash runtime.

Adobe has issued a statement confirming that Chrome for Android does not support Flash content. The company also indicated that it does not plan to work with Google to add Flash support to the new mobile browser. Adobe will, however, continue supporting Flash in the current default Android browser.

“Today Google introduced Chrome for Android Beta. As we announced last November, Adobe is no longer developing Flash Player for mobile browsers, and thus Chrome for Android Beta does not support Flash content,” wrote Adobe’s Flash Platform product manager Bill Howard.

Adobe struggled for years to make the Flash player plugin viable on mobile devices. Though it was able to make Flash work reasonably well on Android phones, results were mixed on other systems. Due to Apple’s unwillingness to allow the Flash plugin on iOS and the difficulty that Adobe faced bringing the Flash player to new devices, the plugin never achieved the same ubiquity on phones that it has historically enjoyed on the desktop.

These setbacks caused Adobe to abandon its mobile Flash player strategy last year. The company announced that it would phase out development of its mobile Flash player plugin and not support it on new platforms. Adobe instead focused its mobile Flash efforts on developing tools for deploying Flash content as native mobile applications. It also strengthened its commitment to native web standards and acknowledged HTML5 as the way forward for building rich mobile web experiences.

When Google eventually moves to replace the default Android browser with Chrome in future versions of the Android platform, devices that run the operating system will likely no longer be able to play Flash content in the browser.

This article originally appeared on Ars Technica, Wired’s sister site for in-depth technology news.

File Under: Browsers

Adobe Builds Flash Sandbox for Firefox

Flash logoAdobe wants to save Firefox users from falling victim to Flash-based security flaws. Working with Mozilla, Adobe has created a beta version of Flash with a new sandbox technology designed to limit the damage Flash-based attacks can do. Adobe previously added similar sandbox protection to Google’s Chrome browser.

If you’d like to test the new Flash Player Protected Mode for Firefox on Windows 7 or Vista, head over to the Adobe Labs download page. Bear in mind that this is a beta release and may contain some bugs.

The new sandbox feature for Flash in Firefox will provide extra protection against malicious browser exploits launched through the Flash Player. Sandboxing means that even when such attacks succeed, the damage is limited and won’t spill over into the rest of the browser or even the operating system.

The design of the Flash sandbox is similar to what Adobe uses in its Adobe Reader X Protected Mode. “Since its launch in November 2010, we have not seen a single successful exploit in the wild against Adobe Reader X,” writes Peleus Uhley, senior security researcher for Adobe. Uhley goes on to say that Adobe is hoping to “see similar results with the Flash Player sandbox for Firefox once the final version is released later this year.”

While Adobe has ceased development of mobile Flash, the company continues to develop and improve Flash for the desktop. HTML5′s canvas and video elements — among others — are designed to remove the need for plugins like Flash on the web. However, HTML5 support remains incomplete even in the newest browsers, and Flash will likely remain a necessary part of the web video and animation world for the foreseeable future.

Adobe Puts Flex Out to Open Source Pasture

If you needed further proof that even Adobe is done with Flash, look no further than the company’s recent announcement that it will open source the Flash-based Flex SDK. Adobe plans to turn over its Flex SDK to the Apache Software Foundation.

Flex is the company’s development framework for building cross-platform applications using Adobe Flash and ActionScript. The SDK’s focus on data-driven apps made Flex a popular choice with Adobe’s enterprise customers, many of whom are no doubt feeling a bit let down to see Adobe walking away from Flex.

Much of the Flex codebase is already open source; what’s changing with the move to the Apache Software Foundation is the governance of Flex. Adobe is no longer the sole guiding force behind Flex.

Ordinarily, when a company opens up a project like Flex it’s good news for developers, but in this case it feels more like Adobe’s exit strategy. The community of Flex developers may have gained some more control over Flex’s future, but that future looks pretty bleak.

Adobe has already made it clear that the company plans to refocus its efforts on HTML5, and, while it says it intends to continue supporting Flex, it also says, “in the long-term, we believe HTML5 will be the best technology for enterprise application development.”

In fact the initial message about the future of Flex was dire enough that Adobe felt the need to update its FAQ to specifically address concerns that it is abandoning Flex. “Absolutely not,” says Adobe in the updated statement, adding that the company is “incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved with Flex.”

While the updated statement is intended to reassure Flex developers, it’s hard to miss the use of the past participle in reference to Flex, which doesn’t bode well for developers looking to the future. It’s also hard to miss the reiterated commitment to HTML5. “In time,” says Adobe, “we believe HTML5 could support the majority of use cases where Flex is used today.” The company puts the timeframe for most applications in the three- to five-year range. In other words, Adobe believes Flex is only a good bet for the immediate future, developers interested in building something with more long term viability would do well to consider the web and HTML5.

For more details on the future of Flex and Flash, be sure to read through Adobe’s updated FAQ on the subject.

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