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Conferences moving from Flash to HTML5

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Hi - I'm new to this area and just wondering if someone can give me a little more detail about "on our product radar." I am specifically looking at when Canvas Conferences (bigbluebutton) will have an HTML5 solution. The most recent thing that I can find is that it is on the product radar - which was posted in April, 2016. I did see the roadmap video that BBB did at InstructureCon in 2016, so it definitely looks like things are in the works. We are trying to decide if we should research other solutions or if we should hold out for the change to HTML5 - but it's tricky without having an idea of how long of a wait it will be.

Does anyone have any time line information on this move to HTML5, or maybe give me an idea of how long things are usually on the product radar. 

Thanks a lot for information!

Kathleen

Excelsior College

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Surveyor II

Hi Kathleen,

I'm Fred Dixon, the product manager for BigBlueButton and CEO of Blindside Networks, the company that started the BigBlueButton project.  I'm only speaking on behalf of the BigBlueButton project and Blindside Networks (not on behalf of Instructure).

We've been providing hosting for BigBlueButton (Canvas Conferences) to Instructure for over four years now.

> I did see the roadmap video that BBB did at InstructureCon in 2016, so it definitely looks like things are in the works.

Yes!  I gave that presentation.   I can say that we (Blindside Networks and the BigBlueButton community) are working hard on an HTML5 client.  You can see the latest designs here

  http://docs.bigbluebutton.org/html/html5-design.html

You *will* see an HTML5 client for students released in 2017 (the instructor will still use the Flash client for the moderator capabilities).  Our plan is to be very close to a release of the HTML5 client come InstructureCon2017.

We're not moving away from Flash -- in fact we continue to add capabilities to the Flash client.  We are adding the ability for a pure HTML5 client to join the session as well.  The HTML5 client will implement all the capabilities today that exist for students in the Flash client except two-way sharing of webcams.  (We'll get the webcam sharing in a future release for the HTML5 client, but we didn't want to delay an HTML5 client when we can implement everything else first).

In addition to the HTML5 client, we are working on a mobile client for Android/iOS.  We need a mobile client for iOS as Apple does not support the web real-time communications (WebRTC) in mobile Safari web browser.  No WebRTC means no real-time sharing of audio/video in an HTML5 client, hence the need for a native client.

The HTML5 client does work quite nicely in an Android phone/tablet, which is the primary device we are testing.

I think you'll see a lot of cool stuff for mobile for Canvas Conferences in 2017.  Hope to see you at InstructureCon!

Regards,... Fred Dixon
BigBlueButton Project Manager

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9 Replies
Surveyor II

Hi Kathleen,

I'm Fred Dixon, the product manager for BigBlueButton and CEO of Blindside Networks, the company that started the BigBlueButton project.  I'm only speaking on behalf of the BigBlueButton project and Blindside Networks (not on behalf of Instructure).

We've been providing hosting for BigBlueButton (Canvas Conferences) to Instructure for over four years now.

> I did see the roadmap video that BBB did at InstructureCon in 2016, so it definitely looks like things are in the works.

Yes!  I gave that presentation.   I can say that we (Blindside Networks and the BigBlueButton community) are working hard on an HTML5 client.  You can see the latest designs here

  http://docs.bigbluebutton.org/html/html5-design.html

You *will* see an HTML5 client for students released in 2017 (the instructor will still use the Flash client for the moderator capabilities).  Our plan is to be very close to a release of the HTML5 client come InstructureCon2017.

We're not moving away from Flash -- in fact we continue to add capabilities to the Flash client.  We are adding the ability for a pure HTML5 client to join the session as well.  The HTML5 client will implement all the capabilities today that exist for students in the Flash client except two-way sharing of webcams.  (We'll get the webcam sharing in a future release for the HTML5 client, but we didn't want to delay an HTML5 client when we can implement everything else first).

In addition to the HTML5 client, we are working on a mobile client for Android/iOS.  We need a mobile client for iOS as Apple does not support the web real-time communications (WebRTC) in mobile Safari web browser.  No WebRTC means no real-time sharing of audio/video in an HTML5 client, hence the need for a native client.

The HTML5 client does work quite nicely in an Android phone/tablet, which is the primary device we are testing.

I think you'll see a lot of cool stuff for mobile for Canvas Conferences in 2017.  Hope to see you at InstructureCon!

Regards,... Fred Dixon
BigBlueButton Project Manager

View solution in original post

Hi ffdixon@blindsidenetworks.com‌!

Any updates on HTML5 release? 

Hi Jenn,

Working hard on it.

Our focus for the last few weeks has been to finish up a new version of BigBlueButton for all Instructure customers that provides multi-user whiteboard and shared notes.  See Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-09-16) .

From the BigBluButton project point of view, we're working towards a first release of the HTML5 client for mobile (both Android and iOS) that covers almost all the viewer capabilities (excluding two-way video) and will seamlessly interoperate with the current Flash client.  Our goal is the instructor can have students on the laptop and desktop (using the existing Flash client) and on a mobile device using the HTML5 client.  

Supporting both means a smooth transition in the long term to a pure HTML5 architecture.  Adobe has announced end-of-life for Flash at the end of 2020, over 3 years from now. We'll be continuing to improve the Flash client and making the transition to HTML5 over the coming years.

Targeting the mobile user, we'll have our first release of the BigBlueButton HTML5 client out before end of this year, and will be working closely with the mobile team at Instructure to have it integrated into Canvas Conferences for all Canvas users as soon as we can subsequent to that first release.

Regards,... Fred
BigBlueButton Project Manager

(I also moonlight as CEO of Blindside Networks)

Awesome - thanks for the update, Fred! Take care. 

Surveyor II

This update covers information about the upcoming transition to the HTML5 client for Canvas Conferences on April 20, 2019.

 

309185_pastedImage_1.png

I'm Fred Dixon, the product manager for BigBlueButton and CEO of Blindside Networks, the company that started the BigBlueButton project.  I'm speaking on behalf of the BigBlueButton project and Blindside Networks (not on behalf of Instructure).

As many of you know, Adobe Flash is going to be end of life at the end of 2020.  In response, we completed the first step of the transition of Canvas Conferences to HTML5 on September 2018 with the release of the HTML5 client for mobile users, see

 

  https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-15553-4212979801

 

Any student joining a Canvas Conference session using a phone or tablet automatically loaded the BigBlueButton HTML5 client in their mobile browser.  

 

This first version of the HTML5 client implemented only the features for viewers. Since then, we have been working on implementing the remaining moderator and presenter capabilities in an upcoming release of the HTML5 client.  



We are ready to make the transition to a BigBlueButton HTML5 client for all users on April 20, 2019.

 

This post gives you an overview of the transition, where you can test the new client, how Blindside Networks will support you to ensure a smooth transition, training and support material, and a list of frequently asked questions.

 

Try it out yourself

 

Here’s a link to some overview videos of the new BigBlueButton HTML5 client

 

https://bigbluebutton.org/html5

 

We have a public test server available where you can try out the new HTML5 client anytime you wish.  See

 

https://test.bigbluebutton.org/

 

 

Overview of BigBlueButton HTML5 client

 

The new BigBlueButton HTML5 client requires no Flash, no Java for screen share, and no browser extensions to install.  It’s pure HTML5.

 

309186_pastedImage_2.png

The BigBlueButton HTML5 client loads twice as quickly as the old Flash client, requires about a third of the download bandwidth, its more accessible to screen readers, and provides a unified interface across desktop, laptop, Chromebook, and mobile devices (iOS 11+ and Android 6.0+).

 

For desktop users, we recommend Chrome and FireFox browsers.  

 

February 2019 our logs showed that 67% of users were on Chrome, and 10% on FireFox, so almost 80% were using the recommended browsers by default.

 

We do provide limited support Edge, but Edge does not currently support sharing webcams very well (it takes a long time for them to appear) and Safari does not support desktop sharing.  However, this support should improve later this year as Microsoft is moving towards using the Chromium engine within Edge.

 

We do provide limited support for Safari on the desktop, but Safari does not currently support the ability for the presenter to share their screen.

 

Why do we recommend Chrome and FireFox on desktop?  It’s because they have really good support for web real-time communication libraries (WebRTC), which enables the browser to send/receive audio and video without plugins.

 

The BigBlueButton HTML5 client loads within the mobile browser on iOS (Safari Mobile) and Android (Google Chrome).  Also, because it's pure HTML5, there is no mobile app required for users to install/update.

 

How we will support you in the transition?

 

There is nothing you need to do on the day of the switch -- it all happens on our end. 

 

For support, we have a single page that lists all the support resources for Blindside Networks, including training material for the upcoming BigBlueButton HTML5 client

 

https://blindsidenetworks.com/support

 

(We recommend you bookmark the above link).  Instructure will also be coming out with guides on using the new Canvas Conferences client on April 6 (beta release notes).

 

Based on early testing (some customers have already transitioned over), we believe you’ll find the new HTML5 client easier to use than the current client.  

 

FAQ

 

Do I need to do anything before April 20th?

The switch to the HTML5 client will be transparent.  After April 20th, all users will load the HTML5 client by default.

 

Can I switch before April 20th (or after April 20)?

All users of Canvas Conferences Free Tier will automatically switch on April 20th.  If you are on the Premium Tier hosting (you have permanent recordings), you can elect to switch on a different date. Just send us an e-mail to support@blindsidenetworks.com with details on when you would like be switched over.

 

What are the newer features?

You’ll find that the HTML5 client now lets you share YouTube videos during the session (however, the videos are not yet captured in the recordings). The Share Notes is easier to access as it's located next to the public chat.

The videos at https://bigbluebutton.org/html5 gives you some visuals.  Also, try the client yourself anytime at https://test.bigbluebutton.org/

 

What features are not yet implemented in HTML5 client?

We've implemented pretty much all the current features of the Flash client except the ability to enter live closed captioning (that feature will be implemented after April 20th). 

 

For more support information on the HTML5 client, along with known issues, see

 

 https://support.blindsidenetworks.com/hc/en-us/articles/360025341371.

What training materials do you provide?

Here’s a link to our HMTL5 Overview Training deck that gives you training material for the transition.
We can also provide your support team a training session on the new HTML5 client — just e-mail us at support@blindsidenetworks.com to setup a training session or contact us at 613-695-0264 (M-F 9-5 ET).
We are really looking forward to the transition to the HTML5 client.  We've been demonstrating versions of it at InstructureCon the last few years and getting feedback from the community.  If you have any questions, don't hesitate to post a follow-up message to this thread.

Warm regards,...  Fred Dixon
--
BigBlueButton Product Manager
(I also moonlight as the CEO of Blindside Networks)
 

Hi everyone

As stated earlier in this thread we'll be replacing the Flash client in Canvas Conferences (BigBlueButton) with a pure HTML5 client.  

 

Based on our testing, we expect you'll find the HTML5 client loads faster, is easier to use, and works across desktop, laptop, Chromebook, and mobile devices (iOS 11+ and Android 6.0+).  

We've created two videos to give you an overview of the HTML5 client.

Viewer (student)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYYnryIM0Uw

Moderator/Presenter (instructor)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWo3wUatR34

Feel free to share these with faculty, students, and staff who are using the current Flash client.  If you want to test out the latest version yourself, visit https://test.bigbluebutton.org/.

We welcome any feedback you have on the upcoming version.

Regards,... Fred

--

BigBlueButton Developer

(I also moonlight as the CEO of Blindside Networks)

Learner II

Greetings kathleen@excelsior.edu Smiley Happy

Yay!  It's here!

Please view the following link, from the current Canvas Release Notes (2019-04-20) 

"Patience is a Virtue" Smiley Happy

Yes! 

It went live on Saturday, April 20th for almost everyone. 

From this day forward, no more Flash, no more Java, no extensions, and no downloads -- it's a pure HTML5 client for Canvas Conferences that loads about twice as fast, is easier to use, and gives  you a unified user experience across desktop top, laptop, chromebook, and mobile.

It was a journey to get here, and the browsers are an amazing platform to build upon for real-time sharing of audio/video.

We invite everyone to try out the new Canvas Conferences and give us your feedback.

Warm regards,.. Fred Dixon

--

BigBlueButton Developer

(I also moonlight as the CEO of Blindside Networks).

Greetings Sir Smiley Happy

Appreciate the confirmation.  Moreover, it's always a treat to receiving inquiry responses...FROM THE CEO!

In comparison, the would be like me submitting a help-ticket to Apple, and receiving a response from Mr. Cook himself!

Thanks again Sir, Have a SUPER Day!