Mozilla, the parent company of the Firefox Web browser, is following the lead of others by greatly reducing the browser's use of Adobe Flash. Mozilla said that starting next month, Firefox will block certain Flash content that it deems "not essential to the user experience."
That’s being interpreted to mean, in part, any Flash operations not visible to Web users. Blocking non-essential Flash should reduce crashes and browser hang-ups -- possibly by as much as 10 percent, according to Mozilla. This change along with future changes will bring Firefox users enhanced security, improved battery life, faster page load, and better browser responsiveness, the company said.
At first, the blocked content will be restricted to a specific list of items that Mozilla has posted on Github and the company will add to that list over time. Next year, Firefox will force all Flash content to be in click-to-play mode by default, meaning no content will start playing automatically when a tab is opened.
Users will have to manually authorize Flash to play videos and other Flash content. Flash content is said by many users to use an inordinate amount of resources, take too long to load and often comes embedded with malware.
Others Have Done Likewise
Two months ago, Google said it plans to phase out Adobe Flash videos in its Chrome Web browser by the end of this year. Chrome will transition to HTML5 as its default media player. HTML5 is a markup language that supports multimedia content. Microsoft’s Edge browser and Apple’s Safari have already started automatically pausing Adobe Flash content not essential to Web pages.
Apple added click-to-play functionality to Safari 7 three years ago, and the upcoming Safari 10 will tell Web sites that Flash isn’t installed on the users' machines at all, even though users will still be able to opt in to Flash content. While Flash was a major part of the Web years ago, most of its functions can now be performed more efficiently by such native Web technologies such as HTML5.
Ronald Gruia, director of emerging telecoms for Frost & Sullivan, told us Mozilla’s decision shouldn’t surprise anyone in the wake of Chrome and Edge scaling back their uses of Flash.
"They all want to lower their plugin crash rates," said Gruia. "YouTube and Facebook have already accomplished this by going to HTML5 for their video content." Adobe itself is moving away from Flash on the Web and late last year began encouraging content creators to build new Web standards. "Adobe is taking a long look at HTML5," said Gruia.
Flash will likely remain at least an option for plugins for the time being. Firefox plans to drop support for all NPAPI (Netscape plugin application programming interface) plugins, except Flash, next March. The next major Firefox extended support release, also scheduled for March, will continue to support the Silverlight and Java plugins until early 2018 for those users who need more time for their transitions.
Image credit: Logo by Mozilla/FireFox.
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Posted: 2016-07-28 @ 4:44pm PT
Perfect, was looking to see what the problem was