A recent update to the Google Chrome browser has introduced a step towards the removal of support for the The Netscape Plug-in API (NPAPI). The result is that any pages that utilize a plugin using the NPAPI (such as Flash, Silverlight, etc.) will be disabled, you will receive a “Plug-in Blocked” notification, and any object on the page utilizing the plugin will display the beloved “missing plugin” image.
From here you have the option of individually enabling the plugin on a per-domain basis (this is done by clicking the “Plug-in blocked” notification, and selecting the option to allow plugins for this domain). This is a fast, but rather annoying workaround that will only work for the next few months until Google permanently disables NPAPI support (at which point, this option will no longer be available).
Unfortunately, the solution is to replace any plugins that use the NPAPI with new versions written using alternative (and still supported) methods. One example of this is the Adobe Flash Player plugin which now offers a version written using the Chromium Pepper Plugin API (PPAPI). This version will be supported going forward, and will allow you to run content requiring the Flash Plugin in new versions of Chrome. More information about the Flash Plugin update can be found at http://blogs.adobe.com/flashplayer/2014/12/flash-runtime-16-update-new-ppapi-installers-and-air-news.html and you can download the updated Flash Plugin at http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/flashplayer.html
With Googles decision to back WebRTC and other HTML5 based streaming and real-time communications API’s, I don’t find it the least bit surprising that they have decided to take another step towards shutting down alternative methods of implementing such functionality. While many people have been claiming for years that “Flash is Dead,” and I have finding myself more and more inclined to agree, this does serve as a gentle reminder of just how much content out there still runs on Flash. That being said, let us not forget that on the world wide webs, dead does not mean gone…