Adobe Flash: Twilight is Upon Us.

The Flash Apocalypse

Adobe Flash was once the dominant platform for online multimedia development. Everything from web-based animations to interactive video had their roots in some form of Flash. But after a run spanning over two decades, we are now in the last chapter of a long goodbye. On December 31, 2020, Adobe support for Flash will cease. This means no more security updates and no more patches for the long-lived authoring tool. Google and Microsoft will completely block Flash on their respective Chrome, Edge and Internet Explorer browsers (Mozilla hasn’t supported Adobe Flash in its Firefox browser since 2016 due to perceived security vulnerabilities). This means that by the end of this year all three major browser developers will block Flash from running at all, impacting any training module containing even a trace amount of Flash-based content.

Training modules with Flash content will need to be converted to HTML5 format. For years, publishing a module to run in both Flash and HTML5 formats was an acceptable solution. This will no longer be the case after 2020.  If a training module is to be kept in service, there are two options:

Option 1:  Republish. Modules will need to be stripped of SWF or FLV file extension content.  Some examples range from simple animations like blinking callout arrows (SWF) to complex, embedded interactive videos (FLV).  Once the content has been removed or replaced, the module will then need to be republished in HTML5 file format only.  

Option 2: Rebuild. The first option assumes that the editable source files are accessible. If they’re not, a rebuild from the ground up may be the only option. Some modules may also be so Flash-centric that the only realistic course would be to perform a like-for-like recreation.

In summary, we are fast approaching the end of an era and preparations should be well underway to address the impact on your training content. Converting a module could be as easy as publishing to HML5 only format…or it could be labor-intensive, requiring a meticulous screen-by-screen review for any objects that may be Flash-based. A rebuild of a training module is essentially starting from scratch with the old module serving as a template. Either way, if your organization isn’t in the midst of a Flash to HTML5 conversion assessment, now is the time!

SkilllSource can be that extra set of hands that finds each instance of Flash in your learning modules and then republishes or rebuilds those modules. Contact us if you need help getting ready for the Flash apocalypse.