How to Quit Flash: A Three-Step Program | PCWorld Business Center. (No longer available online. Original text included below.)
Adobe made news last week when it announced it was cutting support for mobile Flash. This week, Flash is in the news again as an organization called “Occupy Flash” calls on users to uninstall the Adobe Flash plugin. With momentum clearly against Flash, is your business ready to go Flashless?
Flash won’t disappear overnight, and despite the push to kill it, you don’t need to panic yet. Over time, though, developers and software will stop working with Flash, which could leave you in a bind if you haven’t planned ahead. The first step is identifying all the ways your business relies on Flash by making a list of the software and web based tools your company uses, and then finding out if any of them rely on Flash. This will likely involve conversations with your IT staff, development people, and vendors for third-party provided tools.
Your initial search for Flash should identify the most important Flash based systems, but it’s likely it won’t find them all. Ironically, the best way to prepare for uninstalling Flash is by uninstalling it. You don’t need to remove it from every computer, which would certainly disrupt your business, instead, choose from two less disruptive test methods.
Time to Uninstall
If you want to see what life will be like without Flash, setup one computer without any Flash related components. You can then use this as a test workstation where workers from various positions can run through a typical days work, discovering along the way any places where the lack of Flash prohibits them from completing their tasks.
A second option might be a little more work for your IT staff, but will allow your workers to use their current computers. Instead of uninstalling Flash, install a second browser that doesn’t include the Flash plugin. Firefox is a good option on both PC and Mac if it’s not already your standard browser, otherwise, use Internet Explorer on the PC and Safari on the Mac. Don’t use Google Chrome, it has Flash built in, which obviously wouldn’t make for a good test. Which ever browser you decide on, test it on this page, if you see “Missing Plug-in” you’re ready to test. Have your workers try using it for a day, noting any duties they weren’t able to complete due to the lack of Flash.
Prepare for the End
Knowing how your business currently relies on Flash, you can now make plans for how you’ll continue without it. For Internet and Intranet sites, and internally developed tools, migrating functionality that relied on Flash over to HTML5 will be the best option for most. For services provided by third-party vendors, ask if they plan to move off of Flash, and if you’re not comfortable with their plans, begin looking at the offerings of their competition.
Flash was barely established on mobile and won’t last for long, but on the desktop, it will still be around for a while, but it’s death seems inevitable. Waiting around for it to happen isn’t a good idea, as you never know when the latest tool you use might get updated and no longer support Flash. Best to find your dependencies now and prepare yourself than to be caught by surprise one Flashless day.