How to Prepare for the End of the Flash

Prateeksha Dutt July 10, 2019
Change is inevitable in any and every field. But with technology, the change happens faster than the speed of light. This is nowhere more visible than with the 2020 mandate to end flash support.For edtech companies and ed publishers, it’s a case of “objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” These organizations have been developing Flash content for education since Macromedia offered Flash 1.0 in 1996. In 2017, Adobe formally announced that it would no longer support the Flash player plug-in. Google and Microsoft have since announced their intention to disable the plug-in in their browsers by early next year, thus bringing the curtains down for Flash. So does that mean all the content generated so far by them will not be fit for this new era?  The answer is yes and no. Yes! Companies will not be able to use it in its Flash form and No! content will be usable if the Flash content is converted to  some other technology..   
Those who fail to innovate will fail
Just a quick Google search will demonstrate the fate of companies, such as Eastman Kodak, Borders, and Blockbuster, that ended up in bankruptcy because they didn’t innovate rapidly enough.We have reached a midpoint in 2019, so companies have a mere six months to convert all Flash content.  Instead of waiting until 2020, it’s important that companies quickly step up to the plate and start converting now if they have the inhouse resources to do so. And that’s a big IF. What exactly is Flash? In a former life as a product of FutureWave Software, Flash was known as SmartSketch, graphics editor pen computing on the Mac.  Its next iteration was as FutureSplash where it attracted the attention of larger technology companies, such as Microsoft, Netscape, and Adobe. In 1996, Macromedia bought FutureSplash and renamed it Flash. Developers first discovered how to use Flash to build interactive websites and then the program evolved to using it to build games, movies, and experiences. During its heyday, Flash was the “be all and end all” for web interactivity and it was at this time that Adobe bought Macromedia However, when the iPhone came out in 2007, it was without Flash support. In 2010, Steve Jobs authored an anti-Flash diatribe called Thoughts on Flash, He cited a handful of key issues: full web, openness, battery life requirements, touch capability, poor quality third-party development tools, reliability, security, and performance. His article in essence sounded its death knell.  2020 is the year that browsers will stop supporting Flash players., rendering Flash an anachronism.   
The Technology Solution: HTML5
HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. It is a markup language used by the World Wide Web, and the “5” that follows signifies that it is the fifth generation of the HTML standard. HTML5 is coding language that allows us to create responsive content and view it online on all types of reader platforms.  HTML5 has now emerged as the language of choice to create courses, animations, ads, apps and other types of content that can be viewed on all platforms including desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. When Flash-based content is converted into HTML5, it becomes mobile-ready and more responsive, automatically adjusting to different mobile devices in terms of size and usability.  
The Time to Market Content Solution: Magic EdTech
Edtech companies and publishers already have course content in the form of animations, interactives, and apps in Flash. To continue to sell and host the content, they need to convert it by the Flash expiration date. This is where MagicEdtech can ensure the content will be converted before it expires and the HTML5 content can replace it successfully. The steps to convert Flash to HTML5 are arduous and complex, particularly if an organization has a large quantity of Flash content. The timeline to conversion is short and losing quality content because of a technology disruption is costly and unnecessary. MagicEdtech can efficiently perform the following in a timely manner.  
  • Review the Flash source code
  • Identify types of interactivities and templates
  • Map existing templates to templates that are new edge technology compatible.
  • Create tools to facilitate conversion
  • Implement a pilot to test the converted content on all potential devices
As the Doors sang most truly: “The time to hesitate is through. No time to wallow in the mire.” Call your Magic Edtech  rep and get your conversion scheduled.  

Prateeksha Dutt

As a Lead Instructional Designer with Magic Edtech, Prateeksha is actively engaged in conceptualizing and designing various digital learning objects and immersive offerings.