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Internet Explorer 10 and Flash support

Technology site Gizmodo recently featured an interesting article that grabbed my attention about the limitations of Flash support in Internet Explorer 10.

In case you’ve missed the marketing of Windows 8 (with a rumoured $1 billion spend I’d be surprised if you have), one of the key new features of Windows 8 is the new Windows UI experience (formally referred to as Metro in early preview releases) which is designed to be touchscreen/tablet friendly.  To provide a consistent, continued experience using this new interface, many applications have been re-designed to support it, Internet Explorer included.

Two versions of Internet Explorer?

Windows 8 (note, not the tablet only version known as Windows RT)  provides both the new Windows UI experience and the more traditional  desktop experience (think Windows 7), and with it two versions of Internet Explorer… one for each.

This in itself is a little confusing, however, the actual issue highlighted in the Gizmodo article is that Microsoft will restrict the support of Flash content when using the Windows UI version of Internet Explorer.  Microsoft aren’t going as far as blocking Flash altogether, but it appears that Flash content will only be permitted if the site that hosts the content is on whitelist (a Compatibility View list approved by Microsoft) and that the content confirms to their build guidelines. Whether this also affects internal sites (such as Moodles/Intranets) needs to be looked into.

Forcing content to display in desktop mode

Much of the learning we create at Epic is now built in HTML (especially to support the growing need for multi-device learning), but nonetheless, we will be investigating this further as the requirement to build e-learning in Flash still exists.

The article suggests that developers will be able to add a Meta Tag to force the content to load in the Desktop experience which should at least allow us to launch the content. We will continue to investigate this further and put together recommendations in a follow-up article, so stay tuned.