Microsoft offers more info on Flash support in Windows 8/IE 10

A few weeks ago, it was revealed that Microsoft would bundle support for Adobe's Flash Player in Windows 8 and also support it in the Metro version of Internet Explorer 10. It was later revealed that Microsoft and Adobe worked together to offer Flash support for Windows 8, despite the fact that Microsoft previously proclaimed that support for plug-in web programs would not be a part of the Metro version of IE 10.

Today, the official Internet Explorer developer blog offered up some more information on Flash support in Windows 8 and for the Metro build of IE 10.  Microsoft said that websites that will be listed in the Flash section of the company's Compatibility View list will be able to run under the Metro version of IE 10.

Microsoft listed some of the Metro IE 10 requirements for Flash websites:

For example, how responsive is the content to touch? Does it work well with the onscreen keyboard? Is it battery-life friendly? Do visual prompts comply with the Metro style user experience guidelines? Sites that rely on capabilities that are not supported within the Metro style experience, for example, Flash rollover events and P2P functionality, and don’t degrade gracefully in their absence are better off running in IE with Flash on the desktop.

Website developers can request that their Flash site be placed on Microsoft's CV list. That information, along with helpful hints on how developers can get their Flash site to run well on Metro IE 10, is available on the MSDN site.

Source: Internet Explorer blog

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FTA
despite the fact that Microsoft previously proclaimed that support for plug-in web programs would not be a part of the Metro version of IE 10

Flash in Metro IE10 is NOT a plug in as the author suggests, it is brokered code but very much a part of IE10's code base.

Windows RT (WOA) also includes Flash support in IE10 Metro. This fact keeps being left out, but is important when talking ARM tablets and comparing Windows RT to the iPad.

Presumptively WP8 will also offer Flash, as it will be using the same IE10 code base and be running on ARM and NT just like Windows RT (WOA). Unless there is some odd usability or performance issue, there is no technical reason it should not be available.


The way Flash is integrated/baked into IE10 it uses the new accelerated GPU rendering features that Adobe developed starting with IE9. This is important for both performance and battery, especially with regard to video content. (The newer Flash build for IE10 Desktop also includes this functionality, and the IE9 Flash builds have 'some' limited' GPU assistance features as well.)

With regards to performance and video, Flash in IE10 on Windows 8 hands off video processing to the GPU assisting Media Foundation. This enables any WDDM class video card to offer codec GPU decoding assistance due to the way Media Foundation no longer needs GPU specific codec acceleration support.

So even older Flash video formats are accelerated through the GPU even on older systems with DX9 level video cards. This is one major performance jump over Windows 7, as the Media Foundation features of Windows 8 are impressive, especially when it comes to video playback.**

**In our own testing of Windows 8 on an Atom 270 with integrated Intel 945 video chipset, we found that the systems (Even the Netbooks like an Acer Aspire One 1st generation****) was able to playback Flash and various other video content types at up to 1080p depending on the codec format. For Flash 720p was easily obtained from older and newer flash formats.

On the same hardware with Windows 7, Flash and other formats would fail to provide a drop-free video experience at far lower resolutions and bitrates.

***If anyone has older Netbooks or systems with limited CPU/RAM, Windows 8 will give you a noticeable jump in performance all around. So even a 512mb RAM Pentium 4 or Atom class system, will run faster with Windows 8 than any other OS, including WinXP or even Win9X.

(Windows 8 only real limitation on 'older' hardware is that it REQUIRES the CPU to have NX, because of the new secure boot features. So the CPU needs to be in the Pentium4 class or newer.)


****With Netbooks with 1024x600 displays, you can still enable Metro by using a display scaling trick. There is a registry setting display1_DownscalingSupported that can be changed to 1 instead of 0 (Do a Bing Search for specific instructions). This allows you to select 1024x768 or 1152x864.

This scales on the screen, so it will make things tiny and pixels are being shoved into a smaller space so the screen is a bit fuzzy (Much like OS X font smoothing works); however, for most users it is a welcome trade off so older devices are not obsolete.

Many users also turn the text size to Medium in the Desktop UI so things are easily readable.

Are you seriously suggesting that a website used by hundreds of millions of people daily should be completely redesigned to cater to a design specification created by Microsoft, especially when it has already proven divisive?

theyarecomingforyou said,
Are you seriously suggesting that a website used by hundreds of millions of people daily should be completely redesigned to cater to a design specification created by Microsoft, especially when it has already proven divisive?

Yes.

remixedcat said,
facebook needs a metro overhaul it's often worse then a good bit of flash sites.

Both Microsoft and Facebook hire the best out of a large crowd of designers... they each have their own styles. Perhaps a Facebook fanboy/fangirl should suggest that Microsoft and Apple theme their sites/OS's after Facebook's theme because they feel it's better?

Tangmeister said,

Both Microsoft and Facebook hire the best out of a large crowd of designers... they each have their own styles. Perhaps a Facebook fanboy/fangirl should suggest that Microsoft and Apple theme their sites/OS's after Facebook's theme because they feel it's better?

it would be quicker and less bloated..... right now with 5 browser actions on FB tab alone it is taking about 450MB RAM.... if I use facebook for half an hour and 30 actions it bloats to 900MB RAM! A metro overhaul would make it take a lot lot less!

Julius Caro said,
I dont understand, are they requiring WEBSITES using flash to comply with metro style guidelines?

sortoff, they want it to meet requirements, not only on looks/workings, but also resource usage, performance.. etc.
which is good, allot of flash is so awfully coded it lags quadcores.

Julius Caro said,
I dont understand, are they requiring WEBSITES using flash to comply with metro style guidelines?

Any time I watch a YouTube video on my 2011 15" MacBook Pro, my fans spin up as if an aircraft is about to take off on a battleship cruiser.

dagamer34 said,

Any time I watch a YouTube video on my 2011 15" MacBook Pro, my fans spin up as if an aircraft is about to take off on a battleship cruiser.


What the hell does Macs have to do with Windows 8 and IE10? Talk about off topic.
Youtube is netbook friendly on Windows.

dagamer34 said,

Any time I watch a YouTube video on my 2011 15" MacBook Pro, my fans spin up as if an aircraft is about to take off on a battleship cruiser.

Thank Apple for low end GPUs and no CORE technologies to process video codecs that are not inherently supported by the GPU.

Win7/Win8 both enable GPU acceleration for codecs that are not inherently supported by the GPU, with Win8 getting a jump in performance.

Apple also ships mid range GPUs in the 'best' MacBook Pro you can buy, even today.

This is sadly true of all Apple hardware, and one reason they are a bad choice for graphic professionals (even though the Mac is good for graphics myth still exists).

The newly announced MacBooks with the BEST GPU offered by Apple is three (3) times slower than the mid-upper end GPUs offered in PC notebooks. And this is not even considering the high end PC notebooks that have multiple GPUs.


MacBooks and Apple products are pretty and well constructed, but not fast and OS X is becoming very limiting with the contrast in technical level features of Windows 7, with the GPU offloading of video without a dedicated GPU/chipset as one example.

Julius Caro said,
I dont understand, are they requiring WEBSITES using flash to comply with metro style guidelines?
It's not style, it's function. If they won't work with touch, there's really no point for them to load in Metro IE which is designed for Touch devices..

Not that I really agree with them doing that.. just saying that's their reason..

Ryoken said,
It's not style, it's function. If they won't work with touch, there's really no point for them to load in Metro IE which is designed for Touch devices..

Not that I really agree with them doing that.. just saying that's their reason..

There is also the incentive to modernize Flash content, which even Adobe has been trying to encourage developers to do with Touch features.

The comment about 'no point for them to load in Metro' is not accurate, as Metro is Touch friendly, but not Touch exclusive, and the MAJORITY of users initially will be using Metro with a Mouse and Keyboard. (As Touch options for notebooks and desktops become even more common, this will eventually shift, but Metro wasn't designed just for Touch.)

So this is more about getting a good experience for everyone, not just the traditional Mouse/Keyboard users. however, it will be VERY important for Windows RT based slate tablets that have fewer options of getting 'past' the Flash limitations.

If Microsoft shoves along with Adobe, then Flash based sites will be easier to use, and/or push developers to recode the site in HTML5 which is the ultimate goal of pretty much everyone, even Adobe.

The majority of Flash content in use is Video and Facebook Apps like Farmville. (Which runs just fine in IE10 Metro, and don't ask how I know this.)

Microsoft's push doesn't mean that Flash content will be banned from working in Metro IE10 either, as that will be up to the user, unless the Flash content has a severe problem or is doing unsafe things that won't run anyway.

This 'push' will also make Flash sites far more 'friendly' for Android, which has been having problems getting Flash content to be touch friendly, so Microsoft's clout will help even Android users that want better Flash experience on Touch based devices.

eddman said,
OK, now I want the same for WP8; no excuses MS.

There is a good chance, as IE10 on WP8 is just the IE10 from Windows RT, which has baked in Flash support already.

Yeah.. as long as we can publish content to the Microsoft's list it's fine. The problem is that the same arguments for Flash can be applied to poorly coded HTML5/JS content and in some cases it will drain far more battery and won't be optimized for touch. I don't see a list of those sites being limited.

I disagree. It should be up to content providers to determine whether the content is applicable for the Metro experience, not Microsoft. The simplest way would be to have a 'touch-aware' tag and if it is present then the Flash appears, otherwise it is disabled. I am uncomfortable with Microsoft acting as a guardian to internet content, especially when third-party browsers aren't supported on Windows RT.