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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For Your Reading Pleasure: EasyCaptions

Introducing EasyCaptions: A simple system for adding captions and an interactive transcript to online videos. EasyCaptions uses progressive enhancement to provide the best possible experience for all visitors, regardless of their browser’s JavaScript, HTML5 or Flash support. Demonstration Background I don’t produce much video these days, but as a web surfer I often encounter other people’s videos, and was recently impressed by two video implementations: a TED Talks video page, and an HTML5 video demo produced by Bruce Lawson. The TED Talks page had a great feature I’d never really seen anywhere else: an interactive transcript of the video that …

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HTML5 Video, minus Ogg

Mozilla, the makers of Firefox, refuse to support the MP4/H.264 standard because it isn’t open-source and free from licensing constraints. Without Ogg, Firefox’s HTML5 video is rendered useless and requires a Flash-based fallback system. However, Firefox’s handling of the video element breaks the fallback mechanism. A scripted solution is required.

Here’s a simple script that will detect whether HTML 5 video is supported in the browser, and if it is, will check to see if this is Firefox. If yes, it deletes the specified video element but leaves the Flash fallback in its place.

What feature is missing from your e-learning development tool?

I have some simple questions I’d love to get feedback on. I’m curious about what people are looking for in their e-learning authoring tools, specifically: What feature is your current tool missing that you would love to see implemented? Support for team collaboration? Support for themes or custom CSS styling? Support for language localization? A beer dispenser? Etc. What feature does someone else’s tool have that you’re jealous of? For me? I wish the most popular tools (Captivate, Articulate, Lectora, etc.) would output cleaner HTML and JavaScript. I also wish there was less reliance on Flash and PowerPoint. But if …

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