LearnSWFObject.com domain being retired

It’s hard to believe that I have run learnswfobject.com for nearly ten years.

It’s easy to overlook now, but back when Flash was booming, before iOS and Android changed everything, SWFObject was a very important piece of web technology. According to BuiltWith.com, SWFObject’s usage peaked at about 3.5 million sites in late 2013. As of Dec 2018, there are still over 1.1 million sites using SWFObject. That’s a lot of sites. Accordingly, there were also a lot of web developers trying to learn how to use SWFObject.

I didn’t create SWFObject — it was Geoff Stearns‘ brainchild — but I used to frequent the support forums and help people fix their broken Flash and SWFObject implementations. After writing the same advice over and over in forums and emails, I decided to create a tutorial site.  LearnSWFObject.com was built and released as a self-hosted WordPress blog in 2009.

I didn’t start tracking visits for learnswfobject.com until mid-2010, but according to my Google Analytics metrics, the site has had approximately 138,000 unique visitors since April 2010.

  • 2010 (partial): 12.3k
  • 2011: 15.5k
  • 2012: 12.8k
  • 2013: 11.3k
  • 2014: 16.5k
  • 2015: 25.7k
  • 2016: 20.7k
  • 2017: 15.2k
  • 2018: 8.1k

In 2014 I migrated the site from my self-hosted WordPress installation to GitHub Pages. I was tired of dealing with WordPress updates for what was essentially a defunct site, and was also tired of paying the hosting fees out of my own pocket. Migrating to GitHub Pages enabled me to set and forget, except for the annual domain name renewal.

Aside: It’s interesting to note the site had an unexpected upturn in visits after migrating to GitHub Pages. I guess being on GitHub gave it some SEO juice. 

As you’ve likely read by now, Flash is dying, and will be officially unsupported by Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari no later than 2020. This is not speculation: Cutoff dates for Flash Player support have been announced by all of the major browser vendors (Google, Apple, Microsoft, Mozilla), and by Adobe itself. SWFObject’s code base has not been updated since 2013 — over five years! It’s time to let it go. The learnswfobject.com domain is due to expire in February 2019, and for the first time in a decade, I do not plan to renew it. The site will remain up and running on GitHub pages for historical/archival purposes, reachable at https://pipwerks.github.io/learnswfobject/.

Demos for LearnSWFObject have been moved

For the record, all demos for LearnSWFObject.com have been relocated from my personal server to GitHub. The root URL has changed from demos.learnswfobject.com to learnswfobject.com/demos.

This enables me to keep all of the demos in the same repo as the primary LearnSWFObject site. The site and demos are old, and have not been updated for years, but are still useful to some members of the Flash community. Moving the files to GitHub is a nice way to keep the tutorials and demos online while reducing my personal burden for hosting the sites.

Introducing LearnSWFObject.com

I’m happy to introduce you to my latest project, LearnSWFObject.com

It’s been many, many months in the making, and has rudely been put aside a number of times when my life left me no free time to work on it. Happily, I’ve been able to push through the last remaining barriers and get the site out the door. Hopefully someone will find it useful.

I’ve ported my most popular SWFObject tutorials and examples to the new site — updated, of course — and have added a few new tutorials, too. As part of the housecleaning effort, I’ve removed all SWFObject examples and tutorials from pipwerks.com. 301 redirects will re-route the most popular posts to their LearnSWFObject.com equivalent, but the odds and ends have been sent to the compost heap.

I’m most excited about the brand-new code generator (written from scratch) that will write your SWFObject embed code for you. Some notes about the generator:

  • It can write HTML 5, HTML 4 (transitional/strict), and XHTML 1 (transitional/strict) doctypes
  • It provides code for both types of SWFObject embeds: dynamic (JavaScript) and static (markup)
  • It includes a download link that lets you save your generated markup in an HTML file
  • The static publishing option includes an option for a nice, shorter syntax
  • The generator uses progressive enhancement techniques, meaning it’s nicer with JavaScript enabled but fully functional without it

Give it a try!

LearnSWFObject.com will remain a work in progress, as SWFObject itself continues to evolve and people find news ways to break use it in their sites. I will continue to play with the formatting and layout from time to time.

In other SWFObject news, I think I’m allowed to report that SWFObject 2.3 is in the works, and will contain mostly bug fixes and an enhancement or two. Bug reports and feature requests are always welcome at SWFObject’s Google Code site. If you have questions about how to use SWFObject that aren’t answered by the LearnSWFObject.com tutorials, please post them on the SWFObject Google Group.