How to get a Flash website working smoothly on Windows 8 and Windows RT

This blog post is for developers, designers, and content publishers who have created websites that use Flash Player, and want to know what the right steps to take are to get those sites running smoothly on Windows 8 devices. This is pretty important in education, where there have historically been lots of websites using Flash, that either don't work, or work poorly, on a wide range of mobile devices. And turning them into a more standards-based web format, such as HTML5, isn't an overnight job!

However, with Windows 8 starting to appear in classrooms and homes, in the hands of students, there are some things that you can do to improve your users' experience.

Here's an introduction to the background, and links to more detailed articles:

Supporting Flash in Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8

IE logoInternet Explorer 10 is one web platform that provides two browsing experiences: the new Windows Internet Explorer in the new Windows 8 interface which is optimised for touch, and the traditional browsing experience of Internet Explorer for the desktop. As a Windows Store app, Internet Explorer 10 runs without plug-ins so that you have a clean, fast, and secure web browsing experience, though it does provide a native Flash player with support to play Flash content for sites listed in the Flash section of the Compatibility View (CV) list.

By designing a web experience that doesn't require plug-ins for the browsers, users will benefit from better performance, longer battery life, as well as increased security, privacy and reliability. All of which are critically important to educational customers. Typically plug-ins are used for delivering video and graphics (Flash, QuickTime, Silverlight, Java applets) as well as offline storage an communication (Flash, Java applets, Google Gears). For all of these uses, there are equivalent web technologies that comply with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards, in HTML5 video, audio and graphics; web storage, file and application APIs; and HTML5 Web Messaging standards.

For developers, the benefit of developing web sites that don't need plug-ins is that using the W3C standards increases interoperability across browsers and devices, and increases forward-compatibility. Standards-based technologies, specified by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), like the ones comprising HTML5 offer similar capabilities to various plug-ins. These technologies have strong support across modern web browsers, making it possible for web developers to write the same markup and script that works across all modern browsers, without writing or maintaining any additional code that has third-party framework and runtime dependencies. (For more on this, read "Get ready for plug-in free browsing")

On Windows 8, both modes of Internet Explorer 10 use the same integrated Flash Player, removing the need to download or install an additional player. Internet Explorer 10 for the desktop provides the same full Flash support as previous versions of Windows Internet Explorer that relied on the Flash Player plug-in from Adobe, and continues to support other third party plug-ins.

What developers and publishers need to know to get Flash websites working with Windows 8

There's a detailed article on MSDN, "Developer guidance for websites with content for Adobe Flash Player in Windows 8", which provides guidance and guidelines from Adobe and Microsoft for designers, developers, and content publishers. It provides some really simple tips that will allow you to ensure that your website always open in the desktop version of IE10. This means that as soon as a user opens the site, it will give them a prompt to open it in Internet Explorer on the desktop.

It also describes the Compatibility View (CV) list to enable content for Flash Player to execute inside the Internet Explorer 10 browser, and the process for developers to submit sites to be considered for the CV list. The aim of this is to make sure that sites work well in this mode – for example, that they'll support a use of touch on a tablet device, and not requiring users to do things such as a mouse double-click.

The article also provides advice to enable developers to test sites that require Flash Player in Internet Explorer 10 before they submit it to the CV list.

Learn MoreRead more:
Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 – the similarities and differences
Get ready for plug-in free browsing
Developer guidance for websites with content for Adobe Flash Player in Windows 8

Comments (4)

  1. David Ferebee says:

    As an end user of a Surface tablet running RT and a desktop computer running W8 I am frustrated that the same websites that run Flash fine under W8 will not run on my Surface. I hope Microsoft fixes this problem before my 30 return period is over so I can keep my Surface, otherwise it goes back to Microsoft:(  

  2. Cindy says:

    I am a very basic computer user and know very little in the way of technology.  I just purchased a new laptop with Windows 8 already installed.  I need to create something that requires Adobe Flash Player 11.1.0 or greater and I cannot seem to get it downloaded on this laptop.  I keep getting error messages reqarding Compatibility View issues and I have no idea how to fix this issue.  Can you tell me in "elementary" terms?  Thank you!

  3. jan says:

    It used to be you kept up to date with your flashplayer, that was it, you went to any site. Now you go to utube, some videos' support it, some don't, then there's this clicking around to see if it can be viewed on desk top or else disable active x and all this check for compatibility, I'm sick of it. When I go to a music site, I go there to listen or download music, this is very annoying to deal with every time! I'd like to stick with Internet Explorer 10 since I have Windows 8 but I'm soon just going to make google my browser just to get away from this until they come up with something better than this mess. It just may be this morning too!


  4. Cayce says:

    I've been a web developer for 20 years and all of that experience tells me this: that the most catastrophic development ever to befall the age of personal computing was MicroSoft. Every single step of the way, internet developers have been having to compensate for MicroSoft's incompetence, and the computing world has been severely stunted because of it. All because one person, Bill Gates, got there first with a thing called Windows, and it got sucked into a worldwide technological vacuum, thus becoming the overnight standard we have all had to miserably live with from that moment onward. Imagine for a moment if it had been Steve Jobs who had the edge instead of Gates, and it was an Apple world today instead of MicroSoft. Things would actually work. Things would actually be pleasant, even fun.

    The only people to benefit from the existence of MicroSoft are Gates and others who have become ultra rich from proving that they can do so by creating and distributing a product so thoroughly and deeply diseased that, after decades of pathetically failing performance, it still cannot be cured.

    Do the world a favor, MicroSoft: just go somewhere and die.

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