Microsoft, Chrome, Facebook Commits to Eliminating Flash Support

Microsoft will remove Adobe Flash from Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer by end of 2020, Google Chrome, Facebook pledges support as well.

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Flash usage has declined 80% in past 3-years

Adobe on Tuesday, said that at the end of 2020, it plans to stop updating and distributing Flash Player, and is working with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Unity to create a migration path to new open formats like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly.

Following this announcement, several technology partners also announced their plans, like Microsoft outlines of phasing out Flash from Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer, and culminating in the removal of Flash from Windows entirely by the end of 2020.

Microsoft notes, the process is already begun for Edge with "Click-to-Run for Flash" in the Windows 10 Creators Update, and will continue further in the following phases:

  • Through the end of 2017 and into 2018, Microsoft Edge will continue to ask users for permission to run Flash on most sites the first time the site is visited, and will remember the user's preference on subsequent visits. Internet Explorer will continue to allow Flash with no special permissions required during this time.
  • In mid to late 2018, we will update Microsoft Edge to require permission for Flash to be run each session. Internet Explorer will continue to allow Flash for all sites in 2018.
  • In mid to late 2019, we will disable Flash by default in both Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer. Users will be able to re-enable Flash in both browsers. When re-enabled, Microsoft Edge will continue to require approval for Flash on a site-by-site basis.
  • By the end of 2020, we will remove the ability to run Adobe Flash in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer across all supported versions of Microsoft Windows. Users will no longer have any ability to enable or run Flash.

Google said that Chrome will increasingly require explicit permission from users to run Flash content until support is removed completely at the end of 2020.

  • For sites that use Flash for gaming, a list of relevant APIs and demos can be found at OpenWebGames.com. We recommend exploring technologies like WebAssembly, which allows for high-performance computing.
  • For sites that use Flash for media, Mozilla's media migration guide gives an overview of the APIs used to prepare, distribute and play media on the web.
  • Finally, for sites that use Flash for advertising, we recommend switching to HTML ads. Please work with your ad provider directly for this.

Facebook also outlined its plan of phasing out Flash alongwith Unity to create a migration path for developers that use Flash, to start using open web standards like WebGL and HTML5 to deliver games on Facebook.

The company notes, while flash based games will run until the end of 2020, but developers are advised to follow the timelines set by browsers, like, Chrome, that target summer of 2018 for introducing "click-to-play" for Flash-based content.

Adding, it said, that over 200 HTML5 games are now live on its platform from King, Plarium and others — who have migrated at least one Flash game to HTML5 on the Facebook platform with minimal impact to their existing customers.

Check out the following migration guide from Unity WebGL, that provides steps on publishing games from Unity to WebGL.