LearnSWFObject.com domain being retired

It’s hard to believe that I have 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 …

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PDFObject 2.0 released

After almost eight years in the making (and nearly 7 years of procrastinating), PDFObject 2.0 has arrived. PDFObject is an open-source standards-friendly JavaScript utility for embedding PDF files into HTML documents. It’s like SWFObject, but for PDFs. Version 1.0 was released in 2008 and has enjoyed modest success. Based on stats from PDFObject.com (including devious hot-linkers) and integration with 3rd-party products, I’m guesstimating it has been used on well over a million web pages. (If I had a nickel for every time it was used…) I updated it a few times over the years, but generally only if someone reported a compatibility issue. Like an …

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Convert “localhost” to your Mac’s current IP address

When developing web pages, I use my Mac’s built-in Apache or MAMP.app. Viewing the page means using an address such as http://localhost/mypage.html. I decided to make my life a little easier by writing an AppleScript that looks at the open tabs in Chrome and Safari then replaces “localhost” (or custom domain) with my current IP address. Saving this as a service enables me to go to Chrome > Services to run the script.

On Converting Flash to HTML

I received a question from Bob (no, really), who wrote: I have a question about the newest version of Flash and its HTML publishing option using CreateJS. What do you think of that approach going forward? I started to write an email response but figured I should probably post it here. I haven’t been paying much attention to Flash, so I don’t know what the ‘HTML export’ is capable of these days. In general, I’m very wary of converting Flash-based projects to HTML. When Adobe Captivate first released a “publish to HTML5” feature, all it did was convert the SWF …

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Flash support is increasingly a minefield

Back in 2011, I mentioned that Microsoft was about to halt development of the Silverlight plugin, that Flash mobile was being discontinued, and that Adobe recommended HTML5 for enterprise RIA development instead of Flex, which was being open-sourced. My post was a little long-winded, but the short version was: whoa, the times-are-a-changin’, it’s getting dangerous to rely on browser plugins. Over the last year, the situation has evolved in an interesting way — browser support for plugins (especially Flash Player) has been considerably restricted by browser vendors due to repeated security vulnerabilities in Flash Player and Java. Automatically disabling Flash Player …

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Introducing SWFRightClick

Adobe Captivate currently ships with a 3rd-party JavaScript utility named RightClick.js, which enables the Captivate SWF to detect when a user right-clicks the SWF. While upgrading the Captivate publishing templates, I realized RightClick.js wasn’t built to work with SWFObject 2.x and suffered from a few shortcomings. I modified the Captivate template’s SWFObject code to get around the issue, but marked it down as something to revisit when I have the time. Now, I’m happy to report I’ve created a replacement for the RightClick.js utility, creatively named SWFRightClick. It uses the same approach to handling right-clicks, but does it with a …

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HTML5, Flash, Silverlight, and your courseware

What a busy week. Flash is dead. Sort of, but not really. In case you haven’t heard, Adobe formally announced the discontinuation of Flash Player for mobile devices (“Flash to Focus on PC Browsing and Mobile Apps; Adobe to More Aggressively Contribute to HTML5“). Adobe employees struggled to come to grips with what has undoubtedly been a tough week for them — aside from the product news, they were also informed of massive layoffs (around Adobe 750 employees). Regardless of your feelings about Flash, your heart must go out to the families affected by a sudden job loss. Flash critics …

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