Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Flash ActiveX Monopoly

For years the Flash ActiveX plugin has dominated the Internet with its proprietary control over the ability to view most of the Internets dynamic content. But those days are soon to be over as new open-source format technologies emerge such as HTML5, WebM and OGG. The predominant Flash plugin has done us well in terms of allowing us to view impressive dynamic content and video but the vulnerabilities and hassle of continuously updating the plugin and controlling the end-users ability to view most of the web without installing it are some of the reasons for its demise.

Not to mention that an entire community has been left out of the ability to use the plugin or view Flash content for years. Apple (Mac) users have had ongoing issues with Flash content and interfaces built on Flash platforms and the time has come for them to be able to view whatever they want without being inadvertently victimized and ridiculously excluded in this content war which involves Adobe, Microsoft and Apple. Now I don’t hate Flash, I use flash and have been using it for years to design, develop and present content, but allowing it to be the predominate platform through which everyone can view content on the free Internet is not in the best interest of the Internet community.

This ongoing feud has given birth to emerging technologies that will put a timely end to this monopoly and war by big companies who act like children when it comes to who does what and who can view what. For developers it has always been a nightmare to try and please everyone at the same time. A tremendous amount of work encoding and embedding multiple versions and formats of web content has been nothing short of a hassle for most if not all. Especially independent developers who aren’t associated with a big marketing firm or web design company who commonly have large teams of individuals working on development and implementation of web content.

Most if not all of the mainstream browsers are already implementing support for the new formats and technologies which threaten the Flash ActiveX plugin. Updates are being distributed that will allow everyone to view even the pre-existing Flash content that is on the Internet today with whatever browser they have. There are also many tools available to help convert Flash content to a more suitable open-source format. New coding and encoding formats like HTML5, WebM and OGG are granting freedom to the internet user and making the World Wide Web a real community again, free of discrimination and division when it comes to viewing content that is meant for everyone to view in the first place.

As a developer myself, I have been waiting for this day for a long time and I am happy to say it is coming to fruition right before my eyes. Monopolies and proprietary control are often not good in our society and for it to have impacted the Internet the way it has for so many years is sad in my eyes. But thanks to some very innovative and hard-working individuals on the back-end, we will all be free very soon and have the ability to view old content as well as new content created with the open-source concept in mind. What a relief is all I can say and a big Thank You to all those involved with HTML5, WebM and OGG!

Do a Google Search for:
  • Flash Vulnerabilities
  • WebM
  • HTML5
  • OGG
  • YouTube HTML5 Project
Written by Allan Whitney