Although a number of people are more than willing to move on from Flash, it’s still here and Adobe has recently released a new version belonging to the Flash Player 24 branch. Given the many security scares Flash gave users last year, it’s not surprising that some want to move on. But what other options are there?
HTML5 has slowly replaced Flash Player as the favorite for delivering content on the web. But despite the dominance of HTML5, Flash still remains thanks to a user base that still wants to use it as well as a number of products that won’t work without it.
In 2011, Itai Asseo said that Flash offers developers the chance to create applications that will work across platform. At that time, HTML5 wasn’t as good as it is today. However, times have changed and when one of the most popular web browsers switches sides, everybody listens.
Yes, Google Chrome gave up on Flash Player for Chrome 56. The team behind Chrome made this clear years ago, but the arrival of the 56th version of Chrome made it final.
Apple also doesn’t seem to want to do anything with Flash Player, although they support Adobe AIR.
This is an open source Flash Player. The program was written in C/C++ and it runs on Linux. You can even see the code for yourself by going to its GitHub page. The current version of Lightspark is 0.7.2 which was released in 2013. That makes it about four years since the program was last updated. In short, this might not work with many of the Flash-based content of today.
This is a media player for SWF files. It can function as a standalone player for desktops and embedded devices as well as a plugin for browsers. Since it is part of the GNU Project, the program is free and open source. The good news is that it can play SWF files but the bad news is that it can only support up to version 7. It does support SWF version 8 and SWF version 9, but only to some extent. SWF version 10 is not supported on GNU Gnash.
Just like Lightspark, GNU Gnash was last updated in 2012. So yes, there will be some things it can’t support, as mentioned earlier.
Silverlight is no longer around but it can look back with certain pride at what it was able to achieve. Developed to run and write rich internet applications, NBC used it to stream video during their coverage of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Amazon Video and Netflix even used Silverlight for their streaming services. When Microsoft announced the end of life for the product in 2012, Netflix announced it was switching to HTML5.
So what is the best Flash Player alternative for 2017?
HTML5 is widely used. Google Chrome has switched to it as did Netflix. Then again, a number of users still use Flash to deliver some of their content like the BBC. In short, Flash Player may still be the best alternative to itself but HTML5 is just waiting in the wings.