5 Reasons to Move from Adobe Flash to HTML5 Canvas Tags

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Adobe just released another patch for a new vulnerability for its Flash player

If you’re an old-school developer, you know that Flash was the de facto application for animation through web browsers. With the introduction of HTML5’s canvas tag in recent years, you no longer need to support a third-party system for your applications. It’s a difficult move since it takes some effort to change platforms, but the latest Flash vulnerability is just one of the several reasons to move from the antiquated software. 

Better Support from Numerous Browsers

Flash applications aren’t supported by all browsers. The big three — Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer — support Flash, but Apple’s iPad and iPhone Safari browser notoriously don’t support Flash. Safari even actively blocks older versions of Flash.

With HTML5, web browsers natively support your animations. You no longer need to worry about cross-browser support. As long as the browser supports HTML5, you know that your canvas components work on any operating system.

Fewer Vulnerabilities

We mentioned the latest hack, but there are numerous other vulnerabilities with Flash. A common way malware writers spread viruses to computers is by showing a popup telling users that their Flash software is out-of-date. Users click the popup, download the executable, and install the fraud Flash update. The result is that they never really installed Flash. The executable loads malware such as popups, keyloggers, and trojans that send data to hackers.

With HTML5, there are no downloads or third-party applications. Your users won’t contact you out of anger because they thought your program sent them a virus. You can confidently tell them that they installed the malware from some other site.

Search Engine Crawl Support

Search engines rely on textual content to “understand” your website. Search engines can’t crawl Flash objects, so your site has limitations in ranking and visibility. It’s difficult to rank Flash sites since the animations load on the user’s local browser. Because search engine bots can’t “see” the Flash animation, they can’t properly index and rank your site.

If you use Flash, the workaround for its limitations is to create content or transcriptions on the page. While this works for intermediate benefits, you should still consider moving on to the current HTML5 canvas tag. 

Better Compatibility

Since users install Flash on their computers, you must support several application versions. For instance, if you create Flash animations on a newer version, users who have older installations might not be able to see your page content. This means that you need to have several animation versions or add a warning to your site that you only support certain editions of Flash. You’ll lose visitors, and it’s a much more complicated process to worry about software versioning.

With HTML5, you still need to ensure that users have an HTML5-supported browser, but most modern browsers support it.

Easier to Learn

Working with Flash takes animation skills, but it’s an entirely new platform. It’s similar to working with Adobe Photoshop. If you don’t have design skills, you won’t be able to work well with the application. However, if you have design skills, it’s still difficult to learn the environment before you’re an effective designer. 

With the HTML5 canvas tag, you just need to know JavaScript. Of course, you also need design skills, but most designers have familiarity with JavaScript. The language is used closely with CSS to create responsive designs and speed up your UI. This makes the HTML5 canvas tag easier to learn if you’re a designer who needs to spruce up your skill set.

Regardless of the technical reasons, it’s time to move away from older Flash technology and convert animations to the canvas tag. Your customers will have an easier time viewing your applications, you won’t need to support multiple Flash versions, and you’ll reduce vulnerabilities for your users.


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