It’s hard to believe that I’ve run learnswfobject.com for nearly ten years.
It’s easy to overlook now, but back when Flash was booming, before iOS and Android changed everything, SWFObject was a very important piece of web technology. According to BuiltWith.com, SWFObject’s usage peaked at about 3.5 million sites in late 2013. As of Dec 2018, there are still over 1.1 million sites using SWFObject. That’s a lot of sites. Accordingly, there were also a lot of web developers trying to learn how to use SWFObject.
I didn’t create SWFObject — it was Geoff Stearns‘ brainchild — but I used to frequent the support forums and help people fix their broken Flash and SWFObject implementations. After writing the same advice over and over in forums and emails, I decided to create a tutorial site. LearnSWFObject.com was built and released as a self-hosted WordPress blog in 2009.
I didn’t start tracking visits for learnswfobject.com until mid-2010, but according to my Google Analytics metrics, the site has had approximately 138,000 unique visitors since April 2010.
- 2010 (partial): 12.3k
- 2011: 15.5k
- 2012: 12.8k
- 2013: 11.3k
- 2014: 16.5k
- 2015: 25.7k
- 2016: 20.7k
- 2017: 15.2k
- 2018: 8.1k
In 2014 I migrated the site from my self-hosted WordPress installation to GitHub Pages. I was tired of dealing with WordPress updates for what was essentially a defunct site, and was also tired of paying the hosting fees out of my own pocket. Migrating to GitHub Pages enabled me to set and forget, except for the annual domain name renewal.
Aside: It’s interesting to note the site had an unexpected upturn in visits after migrating to GitHub Pages. I guess being on GitHub gave it some SEO juice.
As you’ve likely read by now, Flash is dying, and will be officially unsupported by Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari no later than 2020. This is not speculation: Cutoff dates for Flash Player support have been announced by all of the major browser vendors (Google, Apple, Microsoft, Mozilla), and by Adobe itself. SWFObject’s code base has not been updated since 2013 — over five years! It’s time to let it go. The learnswfobject.com domain is due to expire in February 2019, and for the first time in a decade, I do not plan to renew it. (Update: Is is now owned by squatters, don’t visit!) The site will remain up and running on GitHub pages for historical/archival purposes, reachable at https://pipwerks.github.io/learnswfobject/.