Flash Issues

Over all the flash-must-die debates and if DHTML5 can replace Flash, I’m missing some pragmatism. What are the actual issues with Flash? Can those be solved?

Here are the day-to-day issues that I’m experiencing as a user of Flash components:

Captured keyboard input

My biggest issue: When a Flash movie has focus, it swallows most keyboard events. I use Ctrl+Tab and Ctrl+n (1 for mail, 2 for RSS reader and so on) all the time, but for that to work on a Tab with an active Flash movie, I have to click outside the movie so that keyboard focus is back where it belongs. Completely unnecessary and annoying as hell.

Full screen video slow or hanging

My Lenovo laptop has trouble playing full screen HD video in Flash. It actually runs fine most of the time, it just hangs half second every few seconds. Worse, sometimes video completely hangs in fullscreen mode, while audio continues to play, so depending on the video, I don’t even notice the problem until 10 seconds later. I have to press Escape to go back to normal mode, then go to fullscreen again. Happens way too often.

Crashes browser

For years I thought only the Java browser plugin was able to reliably crash my Firefox browser. Today Firefox crashed when trying to play a full screen video. I got worse as Tabmix Plus was unable to restore my open Tabs (about a dozen), and loosing any user input is among the biggest sin software can commit. I wouldn’t care for the plugin to crash and require a browser restart, but crashing the browser isn’t acceptable. I’d disable Flash by default if that would happen regularly.

Stability, performance, thats likely to be important for Adobe to be working on. The keyboard event capturing? I hope so.

Sidenote on the “open mobile web”

If someone argues that you don’t need Flash on the iPhone as Apple embraces the open web and DHTML5 and everything: Try to play a background sound on Mobile Safari. As that isn’t possible for whatever reason, the only way to port Flash games to the iPhone is via Apple’s closed App Store. Even if they add support for playing back a simple MP3 file, I doubt we get anywhere near stuff like this (click on Launch App to see the Flash stuff) anytime soon.


No more comments.
  1. You can add „monitor goes to sleep while move is running” (of course, if you have low sleep time)

  2. I never have that problem, though its probably one more issue where running in a sort-of sandbox in the browser doesn’t allow Flash to tell the OS to disable the monitor-sleeping, what native applications usually do.

  3. Enes

    Have you tried turning off hardware acceleration for flash? That worked for me when I had the problem that fullscreen videos hang.