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Replace Flash with HTML 5

Replace Flash with HTML 5

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

  

Adobe's have announced that they will no longer be pushing flash development instead recognising that HTML 5 replaces much of the functionality that was once provided by Flash.

 

https://blogs.adobe.com/conversations/2015/11/flash-html5-and-open-web-standards.html

 

Please can Canvas remove the need for Flash across its Web platform as part of core functionality and replace it with HTML 5?

 

Comments from Instructure

For more information, please read through the https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-15947 .

48 Comments
kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

I agree!

Flash is a hacker's best friend. HTML5 is much more secure, and considerably more versatile.

biray
Community Champion

This idea has moved to the next stage and will be open for voting among the Canvas Community, from Wed. January 6, 2016 - Wed. April 6, 2016.

Check out this doc for additional details about how the voting process works!

a_birch
Community Participant

I good idea - needs doing!

jbrady2
Community Champion

Standardization and security across all platforms used for accessing the web, why would we ever want or need that? All kidding aside, this is a great idea.

ffdixon
Community Champion

Hi Joe,

As the product manager for BigBlueButton (I work at Blindside Networks), I can share some thoughts on this as the BigBlueButton client is written in Flash.

Upon looking at the announcement it states they are increasing their support for HTML5. 

Our customers have clearly communicated that they would like our creative applications to evolve to support multiple standards and we are committed to doing that.

It's clear Adobe wants to have both parts of the market: Flash and non-Flash based web applications. 

In terms of browser support, it's interesting to note that Microsoft now includes Flash in Microsoft Edge (the default browser with Windows 10).  See

     https://dev.windows.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/platform/faq/flash/

where it states

Is Adobe Flash supported in Microsoft Edge?

Yes, Adobe Flash is supported as a built-in feature of Microsoft Edge. We continue to work closely in partnership with Adobe to provide this version of Flash, which we support and service via Windows Update.

This means if your using Windows 10 and Edge,  you'll have the latest version of Flash automatically built-in (no need to download it).  This is similar to what Google does with Chrome.

I am personally all for web standards. 

Today, you can run the BigBlueButton Flash client on all four major browsers: IE, Safari, FireFox, and Chrome on the desktop, laptop, or ChromeBook.  We work very hard to make sure "it just works". 

We're working on a version of the BigBlueButton client for HTML5 (no Flash).  We're also working on a version of the BigBlueButton client for iOS and Android devices.  Yes, we are working on *three* different clients to make sure you have the widest possible choice.  We gave an update on our progress at InstructureCon 2015 -- here a link to my presentation: Road Map for BigBlueButton - YouTube).  ​Look for more updates at InstructureCon 2016.

There are challenges, however, with HTML5 when it comes to broadcasting audio.

In BigBlueButton, we use a combination of both web real-time communications (WebRTC) in the browser and Flash to enable the user to broadcast their audio.

Today, when a user uses FireFox or Chrome, BigBlueButton taps into the browser's support for WebRTC to broadcast the user's audio (it's pretty good audio).  For Safari and IE users, there is no WebRTC support available so BigBlueButton use Flash-based audio.  This all happens seamlessly to the user.

Looking ahead, Microsoft has stated they intend to support the newer version of WebRTC 1.1 (currently in development) in Edge (see blog post), and we'll build in support for it in BigBlueButton Flash client and HTML5 client when it's there.  

Apple, however, doesn't support WebRTC in Safari today, nor can I find any indication of their intent to do so.   No WebRTC in Safari means no ability for any HTML5 application to broadcast audio.

I am very hopeful that Apple will fully support the WebRTC standard in the future.  It would give us the ability to move to HTML5 even faster. 

Until then, we'll continue to improve the BigBlueButton Flash client *and* work on releasing a BigBlueButton HTML5 client to give users the widest possible choices.

Regards,... Fred

--
BigBlueButton Product Manager

kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Thanks for the detailed update, Fred!

joel_mills
Community Participant

Great response Fred,

Many thanks for such a detailed explanation. Very helpful and good to know this is on the agenda for BBB.


Joel

xcotto
Community Contributor

Awesome Fred. Looking Forward Smiley Happy  @farbelaez ​

allison
Instructure
Instructure

As Fred has noted, there are still some considerations that may keep Canvas in Flash-land for a while longer, but it IS something we have been actively advocating for and working toward. Most recently, we eliminated Flash from Files in Canvas and upgraded to HTML5 for the video player in Canvas. We don't yet have a good solution for replacing Flash for the Media upload workflow, but we are looking for alternatives and will definitely make the move when the time is right. We will archive this idea for now since it's already on our radar. Thanks, all!

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team
  Idea is currently in Product Radar Learn more about this stage...
jthoms
Community Participant

Hi  @Renee_Carney ‌,

Just curious how things are going on the Flash-replacement front. It's not yet a burning priority, but is gradually becoming less supported in Chrome. Thanks!

ffdixon
Community Champion

Hi John,

We're making solid progress to create an HTML5 client for Android devices that gives the student the ability to participate from a mobile device.  Our goal is that the student can do everything today in Canvas Conferences minus two-way video (that can come in a later version).

Here's a video showing a recent build running of the HTML5 client running on Latest developer build of the HTML5 client - YouTube.

We'll be giving an update InstructureCon 2017 (look for the speaking session "Canvas Conferences goes Mobile') with a live demo.

Regards,... Fred

Product Manager for BigBlueButton

jthoms
Community Participant

Thanks,  @ffdixon ‌! I'm also interested to hear how things are going elsewhere in the Canvas platform (SpeedGrader media comment, media upload, etc).

ffdixon
Community Champion

As stated in a previous post

> As the product manager for BigBlueButton (I work at Blindside Networks), 

I can't speak for Instructure, but I can answer all questions related to BigBlueButton. 🙂

Regards,... Fred

ffdixon
Community Champion

Hi Everyone,

We are making progress on creating an HTML5 client for BigBlueButton (Canvas Conferences) that would implement most of the features for the viewer.   You can see a video of the features implemented in the current developer build here

  Overview of the HTML5 client for BigBlueButton (dev build) - YouTube 

For more details on our plans, see this blog post

   BigBlueButton HTML5 Client (developer release) - BigBlueButton 

The BigBlueButton HTMl5 client is under heavy development.  I'll be sharing the latest updates at InstructureCon 2017 (look for the presentation titled "Canvas Conferences goes Mobile").

The HTML5 client uses WebRTC, which isn't supported yet on iOS in the browser.  We are working in parallel on an iOS client as well (will give you updates on this as well at InstrcutureCon 2017 presentation).  

The first release of the HTML5 client is targeting all viewer (student) capabilities except two-way video.  You can expect two-way video a subsequent release.  By focusing on the viewer capabilities, we cover a large number of the use cases (i.e. a student wanting to participate from their Android device) for mobile access to a BigBlueButton (Canvas Conferences) session.  Teachers would still use the web client for its presenter/moderator capabilities. 

Hope to see you all at InstructureCon 2017 and at our presentation.

Regards,... Fred
BigBlueButton Product Manager

(I also moonlight as CEO of Blindside Networks 🙂

dholton
Community Participant

I don't know the progress in Canvas, but it is feasible to record video/audio without Flash using WebRTC.  Here's an open source demo if you want to test it.  It worked in Chrome for me, even in Android, and supposedly webkit/safari supports WebRTC now, too, but I haven't tested this demo in it (don't have a mac or iphone):

RecordRTC | WebRTC Audio+Video+Screen Recording 

If there's no update soon from Canvas, perhaps a 3rd party LTI app could offer the functionality using WebRTC.

susanjaw
Community Member

From the Canvas beta release page: "Using the camera and microphone to record media content within the Canvas Rich Content Editor currently still relies on Flash and is being addressed by Canvas engineers." Can we get a timeline on this? It is now a completely useless function for me and, I suspect, many others.

cwindsor
Community Participant

Agreed.  We would like to use this functionality to record our students' performances. It's been on the radar for over a year.  Any success?

jteaney
Community Member

I have my entire user base running Chrome OS Version 62.0.3202.94. In that version I am seeing that I have to add my Canvas instance URL to the Flash allow list to be successful with camera/microphone recording.

jfridell
Community Participant

Yes, it would be great to see a shift to HTML5 when it comes to media recordings such as teacher comments, we are getting more and more support tickets regarding this.