Facebook switches to HTML5 for all video instead of Flash

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Adobe Flash Player 19 Update Comes With Almost 80 Fixes.

The social network has switched to HTML5 for all Facebook web video, meaning videos you upload or publish on your profile or fly through on your news feed will no longer require Flash.

Although HTML5 video has long since been the preference of Facebook and just about every other site out there, some issues prevented it from being the universal standard, but thanks to some intensive coding work from Facebook developers in order to ensure the platform performs perfectly on older browsers, it has now officially ditched the unloved Adobe application.Mozilla was the first one to block the use of Flash on its browser and as it appears Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has hammered yet another nail to the coffin of the beleaguered plugin. Amazon-owned video streaming site Twitch and video rental service Netflix have recently made similar moves. “We… have shipped the change for video to all browsers by default”. In a damning indictment of the much maligned Flash, Daniel Baulig, engineer at Facebook, said: “Not only did launching the HTML5 video player make development easier, but it also improved the video experience for people on Facebook.

Facebook said it delayed making the shift because of variations in the way HTML5 is implemented in different software, which caused errors in some browsers. HTML is the basic computer language underpinning the web. “HTML5 made it possible for us to build a player that is fully accessible to screen readers and keyboard input”, Baulig added, going on to explain that the standard will make it easier to develop for people with visual impairments. “People appear to be spending more time with video because of it. Facebook’s Daniel Baulig writes that going to HTML5 means the company can “tap into the excellent tooling that exists in browsers, among the open source community, and at Facebook in general”.

The new Adobe Flash Player update comes with 79 fixes and we’re pretty sure that this is the last patch that this application will receive until the end of the year. Unfortunately, this new update doesn’t solve all the issues that these applications, but it solves some of the critical issues that had to be fixed fast.

A bug in Chrome’s implementation of the SPDY protocol stopped videos loading in Facebook’s News Feed until Facebook worked out the problem was triggered by loading too many videos concurrently, so it reduced the number of videos it loads at the same time. Following YouTube’s switch to HTML5 video, Facebook’s dumping of Flash for its 8bn video views a day means that the majority of web video watched is now Flash-free. It also allows the development team to make use of various web testing tools like jest and WebDriver, whilst supporting accessibility requirements for visually impaired users.

According to Wolfgang Kandek, the chief technology office at Qualys confirmed that three of the vulnerabilities that were just fixed have allowed hackers in the past to gain code execution running under the users in the browser. Like Microsoft with Windows XP, Adobe has been trying to migrate companies away from using its own tools while putting out fires left, right and centre. For Facebook users it will be business as usual, for the most part, just a little faster and without having to worry about vulnerabilities in an ageing outdated video system.

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