There’s a whole world of browser plugins out there, and they do some pretty awesome stuff. Most everyday tech users take advantage of them without even knowing it, as in the case of Java or Flash Player. Other higher up tech-savvy users have come to rely on plugins for all manner of features that standard browsers don’t automatically provide.
But that’s about to change. As more and more web browsers phase out their compatibility with some plugins, it’s logical to think that industry fans will be scrambling to make sure their web experiences are still up to par. The difference is, however, that browser developers are building platforms that are so top-notch that the need for additional features isn’t there anymore.
Case in point: Mozilla Firefox announced in a blog post that it will halt support for plugins by next year, indicating in its explanation that the platform itself is powerful enough to drive web users’ needs. This has actually been a long time coming, as the process of ending supporting for NPAPI plugins began a few years ago. Google Chrome and the new Microsoft Edge browser are already shunning these additional pieces of software.
One of the few plugins not to get the cold shoulder is Adobe Flash, as so many of the things we love about the internet rely on that powerhouse to function properly. It’s also an intense add-on that really hasn’t been perfected by other developers, so browser creators are leaving it alone rather than trying to reinvent the wheel with their own built-in versions.
According to Mozilla’s Benjamin Smedberg, “Because Adobe Flash is still a common part of the Web experience for most users, we will continue to support Flash within Firefox as an exception to the general plugin policy. Mozilla and Adobe will continue to collaborate to bring improvements to the Flash experience on Firefox, including on stability and performance, features and security architecture.”
Mozilla’s team is working closely with Java’s developers to ensure that all of the processes that currently run on Oracle’s plugin can make the switch to a plugin-free existence seamlessly, which Oracle is at work on through its own solution, Java Web Start.