The End of Flash:  The RIA Revolution

Rise and Fall of Flash Infographic(Don’t worry, we are talking about the interactive media technology by Adobe, not the superhero “The Flash” or “Flash Gordon”)

Everyone has interacted with Flash on the internet in one form or other, from the dawn of Youtube videos to memories of arcade-like video
games, or digital greetings cards with dancing elves.  Most people probably didn’t even give a second thought as to how the media was delivered. At it’s peak, Flash was installed on over 95% of all computers, and was the interactive media delivery method of choice.  Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) have evolved from gimmicky games to full blown web based SaaS (Software as a Service) applications and advertisement delivery platforms.

Alas, Flash will soon be no more- at least that is what the major players on the internet are saying.  From business apps used to design porches, decks and patios, to educational games teaching children to read and count, and even jumpstarting the successful #1 video platform in the world- Youtube, – Flash has been at the core of our interactive web-based experiences for the better part of the last 15 years.

But, with all of the security flaws, mobile performance issues, and proprietary software and installation requirements, it seems Flash has reached the end of practical usefulness.  As Steve Jobs put it when addressing Apple’s decision not to allow flash on Apple products- “… the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.”

The Mobile Browser Changes Everything

As the number of smart phone users in the world is expected to surpass 2 billion in 2016, we have definitely entered the mobile era, and any standards or platforms used from here on out must fully support the vast array of mobile devices being released over the next few years.

Several platforms tried to oust Flash as the king of RIA including Microsoft Silverlight.  However, while adopted by some corporate developers, these platforms continued to suffer from many of the same problems as Flash.  Security issues, closed source, proprietary software, inability to run natively on multiple platforms without installing additional software and the reliance of developers on a third party to maintain the platform.  Thus, all of these platforms are also being eliminated from browsers, including Silverlight, java applets and anything else that relies on 3rd party browser installations like NPAPI (Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface), which has been completely removed from Chrome 45 as of September 2015.

So What’s Next?

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Test Whether Your Website Works Across IPv6 (Now That ARIN Has Allocated the last IPv4 Address in North America)

IPv4-6ARIN, the American Registry for Internet Numbers is the authority in charge of distributing IP addresses in North America.  ARIN received the IPv4 blocks for North America from the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, which is responsible for distribution of IP addresses and maintaining DNS root zones as well as managing the database of top level domains.

Yesterday, on September 24th 2015, ARIN announced that they had issued the final IPv4 address available.  This has several implications to the internet at large:

  • First of all, this does not mean that all IPv4 addresses have been used up, simply that all IPv4 addresses allocated to North America have been distributed to organizations.  For example, the pool of addresses in Europe was depleted three years ago while the AFRINIC (The Internet Numbers Registry for Africa) still has an available pool of addresses.
  • This also does not mean that IPv4 addresses have all been used up in North America.  Organizations that would like to acquire an IPv4 address may still be able to do so through secondary methods. They might either be put on a waitlist for unmet IPv4 addresses or they may purchase the addresses through the IPv4 transfer market.
  • This does mean that any existing restrictions on IPv4 transfer from one organization to another have been lifted.

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Google Releases Brotli to Improve Web Page Load Speed

At Dotcom-Monitor we agree with Google that “we think that internet users’ time is valuable, and that they shouldn’t have to wait long for a web page to load.”  This was their opening message today when they announced the release of their new compression algorithm, Brotli. Brotli was named after a small bun in Switzerdeutsch (Swiss German). Google goes on to state that “The smaller compressed size allows for better space utilization and faster page loads.”

Google Brotli Web Page Load Speed

This release continues to support the fact that Google is committed to providing the best possible mobile browser experience. Google has stated that this is just another way they are trying to help the industry squeeze just a little more data to end users while optimizing data transfer fees as well as battery usage.

What remains to be seen is whether the industry as a whole will agree with Google that the brotli algorithm is the best available and will be implemented in future browser versions.  Google has published their own internal study comparing different algorithms here: ‘Comparison of Brotli, Deflate, Zopfli, LZMA, LZHAM and Bzip2 Compression Algorithms.  While others in the industry have already published their own comparisons to a much larger group of algorithms here:

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IMPORTANT UPDATE:  This update only affects ServerView Devices of type HTTP or HTTPS

The ServerView http monitoring agents are being upgraded this week to send more modern header identification.

Previously, most ServerView http/s task headers identified the browser as a version of IE6.  This version has been updated to IE10 for compatibility reasons.

Some websites return different responses based upon browser type and version, so this update may cause unintended errors, or changes in monitoring results, because a web page returns different results than it did when the monitoring task was set up.  If you experience unexpected errors with http/s ServerView monitors after this week, please create a support ticket to resolve the issue.

SQL Server Monitoring: A Case Study

SQL_Server_MonitoringWe recently worked with a client to troubleshoot issues with a SQL Server instance.  The client was running SQL Server 2012 on a Virtual Machine.  The applications running on the SQL Server were running into issues and the client was unsure what the root cause of the issues was.

Initially, we set up web application monitoring with the client to send alerts if the web application began running slower than normal, thus letting us know the next time a problem was encountered.  By setting a timeout threshold for the page load speed, we were able to identify different time periods where the system appeared to have an issue accessing data from the SQL server.  Using the built in alerts, we received emails as soon as an issue was detected. Read more…