Goodbye Flash, Hello HTML5

The time has come: Noteflight’s Score Editor is now making a final transition from Adobe Flash Player technology to HTML5. Starting July 1, the HTML5 Editor will become the default choice for all users, although it will still be possible to switch back for a while longer after that. At a date to be announced later in the year, Noteflight will need to remove support for Flash entirely.

The Web Evolves

This transition is not a matter of choice for Noteflight. In 2008, Adobe Flash was unquestionably the best technology for browser-based notation editing. In 2016, though, HTML5 is not only a viable choice, but it’s the only remaining choice. Browser vendors have steadily raised the barriers to the use of plugins like Flash, as security problems have become one of the most serious problems on the Web. We are finally reaching the point where Flash will no longer be supported by major browsers. The Web is evolving, and we must follow it. At the same time we at Noteflight are also leading the Web forward, through our activities on the W3C that help define the Web’s own standards in audio and music notation.

HTML5 technology brings amazing benefits and opportunities to Noteflight, and this truly excites us. HTML5 supports audio, video, and MIDI to a degree that Flash could never have matched, and provides a far higher level of visual quality for notation and for the user interface. So, for some time we have been putting our full development effort on HTML5. New features such as Recording are only available in the HTML5 version of the editor, and bug fixes and improvements are now taking place in HTML5 only.

More than a Technology Change

There is another angle to this transition: Noteflight’s user interface for editing music has badly needed to be revisited after almost 7 years of little change in Flash. It made obvious sense for us to combine these design changes with the big shift in technology. This redesign took place earlier this year, and was detailed in this post.

No transition is without some inconvenience. In particular, we know that making a big change to the user interface is difficult for our existing users. Part of this is learning a new system, but it’s also true that any new design has imperfections and rough spots. This one is no exception. We are listening hard to your feedback, and you will see an ongoing set of improvements and changes. Because we are now going to focus on a single technology, it will help us be more responsive as we do not have to attend to two different versions of the Score Editor.

It’s also the case that the shift in technologies has made some aspects of Noteflight faster, and others slower. We are working hard on making the slower things go at least as fast as they used to (and, hopefully, even faster!).

We encourage you to contact us via the Feedback or Support links in our sidebar and let us know about what you like or don’t like about the new editor and the new design. We can’t promise to do everything, but we can and do promise to pay attention and to do our best for you!

Joe Berkovitz