¶ A Year Without Flash

With today’s news that Adobe is killing Flash for Mobile, I thought it was a good opportunity to check in on how a year has been without Flash on my Mac.

This time last year John Gruber published his manifesto on going Flash-free on OS X, and how to cheat when necessary. I followed suit with his methods a few days later, and haven’t turned back.

I use Safari sans-Flash nearly all the time with little hindrance. The few places I tend to run into snags are movie or video game sites, Flickr videos, and the scourge of Flash-less browsers everywhere — restaurant sites. For these instances, I employ the use of Safari’s Develop menu. With the Develop menu turned on, I can simply click the menu, then select Open Page With Chrome. The page simply opens in Chrome. Boom.

I used to assign a keyboard shortcut to this menu item, but Apple decided to start including Chrome’s constantly shifting version number in the menu, which makes that practice cumbersome.

My only real annoyance with the Chrome fallback is for sites, like Flickr, that will feed HTML5 when viewing on an iPhone or iPad, but not on a Flash-less desktop browser. It seems asinine for a site to check specifically for which device you’re using when deciding to serve Flash or HTML5, instead of detecting whether or not Flash is present on the device. The site is already doing a check for Flash capability, it’s just checking the wrong aspect.

No matter what, though, running a Mac without Flash is very much achievable. I’ve been doing it. The Chrome fallback is a nice safety net, and Safari encounters far fewer problems than it did when I had Flash installed.

Until web development lessens its reliance on using Flash for video players and restaurant menus, this method works great. And remember, the less you use Flash, the more the web will become Flash-less.