Tuesday, 30 June 2015

More Flash in Chrome for Less Power ... and the HTML5 Migration

If you use one of SAS's web interfaces you'll be a great fan of the flexibility and usability of the user interface. And those capabilities are probably provided by Adobe Flash. Your browser is running the Flash plug-in.

But Flash has one or two downsides, principally its tendency to use lots of CPU cycles which in-turn uses lots of battery power. Not a problem maybe if you're hooked to the mains, but not good on a laptop of mobile phone/tablet.

If you use the Chrome browser you'll be pleased to hear that Google are improving Chrome's power consumption when Flash is running. When you’re on a webpage that runs Flash, Chrome will intelligently pause content, e.g. Flash animations, that aren't central to the webpage, while keeping central content (like a video) playing without interruption. If Chrome accidentally pause something you were interested in, you can just click it to resume playback. This update significantly reduces power consumption, allowing us to do analytics on-the-go for longer before having to hunt for a power outlet.

This feature was enabled by default on Chrome’s desktop Beta channel in June, and will be rolling out soon to everyone else on Chrome desktop.

Looking longer-term, SAS are replacing their use of Flash with HTML5. Whilst the use of Flash requires a plug-in from Adobe, HTML5 is supported by all modern browsers out-of-the-box, with no need for any plug-in. The majority of web sites and vendors are migrating to HTML5 due to its net neutrality and power-consumption benefits. SAS Studio already uses HTML5; Visual Analytics and Visual Statistics currently use Flash. We can expect a migration to HTML5, perhaps starting with the VA hub this summer, which will probably be complete next year.