The plugins are slated to disappear from the face of the internet for Firefox users by the end of 2016. The company argued that the add-ons are based on the 1990s-technology that causes the browser to crash, slows it down and makes it more vulnerable to malware and phishing attempts.
The decades-old tech, which is called NPAPI or “Netscape Plugin API,” was already squeezed off browsers by Microsoft and Google. Microsoft announced this year that it would not provide support for NPAPI plugins in its Internet Explorer browser and Edge browser for Windows 10. Google said that it would do the same thing with its Chrome browser in April and finally dropped support for old-tech add-ons last month.
The 64-bit version of Firefox for Windows doesn’t support NPAPIs, and Firefox plans to end support for all NPAPI add-ons except for Flash. Microsoft and Google didn’t drop Flash either because it is an essential element in HTML 5 especially when it comes to displaying browser games and streaming video.
On the contrary, the two companies updated Flash plugin, and Firefox announced that it would continue to support the plugin beyond 2016.
Mozilla pledged that it would partner with Adobe to improve the Flash plugin and make it more stable and safer. Google ditched NPAPI technology from its Flash plugin in Chrome because of the stability and security issues.
But as Mozilla is set to ditch old-tech Firefox add-ons in 2016, developers need to find new ways to keep web browser apps alive.
For instance the maker of Unity Web Player Plugin on which many web browser games are based announced that it would end support for its plugin in March next year. Instead, the company will focus on WebGL technology, and urge browsers developers to enhance their products’ capabilities to make the new technology a real substitute for Web Player.
In the meantime, players of Unity Web Player-based games will have to stick with older browsers that still support NPAPI. Unity recently said that it was seekingt alternative solutions to their plugin and keep web browser-based games alive.
But as HD versions of browser games are less likely to happen, Unity’s efforts to keep the games running around the web are refreshing.
Silverlight and Java-based apps will soon also vanish. The two technologies are no longer supported by Chrome and Edge, Internet Explorer phased out support, while Firefox announced that it would drop them for good.
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