Hi everyone, and a happy new year.
Over the last few weeks, there have been a number of forum posts about the Sky Poker software (both Download Client and website) regarding Flash Player, which has reached end-of-life at the start of 2021
. Naturally this has sparked some concern, as well as raising further questions about the long-term vision for Sky Poker.
Firstly, I’d like to try explain the current state of play on Flash, and I will absolutely follow up with a separate post about our longer-term plans (in the next week or two). But for now, I want to reassure you that Sky Poker will continue to work on both browser and Download Client without Flash.
Back when Sky Poker was first built, the table was built in Flash. Flash had been bought by Adobe, and had been the standard for Web games for quite some time by this point. Flash set the stage for a lot of the techniques and standards we have today. The Download Client was built in the (then brand new) Adobe AIR, so we could have a standalone version of the product.
Fast-forward to 2012 (when I joined Sky Poker), it was clear that mobile gaming was the way forward, and we worked to create a new Poker table in HTML. We used many modern features, but Adobe AIR’s lack of support meant the HTML table still needed to rely on Flash – but only when played via the Download Client. In your browser, the table does not use Flash and hasn’t since around 2014.
Since the beginning, the main lobby uses Flash (for both browser and Download Client) to push regular updates to number of registrants/players etc, and launch tables when your tournament starts. This has always had a backup though; information is updated every 10 seconds as well.
Flash has been marked as end-of-life for a few years
, but a combination of longer-term plans for the product, our understanding of Flash within Adobe AIR, and our backup solution for the lobby meant we had not made any changes to the current software for this.
However, once we learned that Microsoft would start uninstalling Flash from people’s machines in 2021
, we knew that had to change. Some great work in the run-up to Christmas meant we could remove the reliance on Flash for the Download Client tables, and just today we’ve released a further change that means the Download Client lobby no longer relies on Flash either. (We are still looking into some comments about lag when playing multiple tables with the non-Flash version.)
That just leaves the desktop lobby in browser using Flash, which we’re currently working to fix. But as well as the backup ensuring it’s never more than 10 seconds out of date, the current version of Google Chrome (v87) still supports Flash with its own built-in plugin. However, Google are releasing v88
in just a few days (by 19th Jan) that will remove this support. We hope to have a non-Flash solution available for browsers shortly after this.
Lastly, I understand any nervousness about Flash no longer receiving security updates now that it is end-of-life. If you wish to uninstall Flash, then both Download Client and browser will continue to work without it. However, please be aware that AIR (the software that runs the Download Client) is still supported and maintained by Harman, and will continue to receive security updates, as will all Sky Poker software as you’d expect.