Windows 8 / IE10 and Flash Certification

Windows 8 is a tablet OS, and like any modern OS focused on tablets/touch/mobility options, there’s compatibility concerns with content not specifically written for a tablet/mobile device.

Apple’s famous for their certification process and using it for more than just the sake of ‘quality’ or ‘compatibility’ controls.

Indeed Microsoft has had certification for drivers, and applications in Windows for some time, but never to the point where something cannot be used without their certification.

If you wanted to install something that isn’t certified you’ll get a spooky warning, but I’ve never seen something completely fail to work due to a bad/missing certification on Windows.

Enter Windows 8 and IE10, a whole new ballgame, with two browser modes, one for normal use and a ‘desktop’ integration mode which has to play nice with the new Windows UI.

If you wish to publish web content that leverages the new ‘desktop mode’ you’ll want to visit Microsoft’s ‘developer guidance’ page for information on new meta tags and HTTP header codes that help flag such content.

In a nutshell they explain that either the header:

X-UA-Compatible: requiresActiveX=true

OR the meta tag:

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="requiresActiveX=true" />

… work to create a handy little prompt explaining that the content on the page requires the page to be viewed in ‘desktop’ mode, and even gives a single-click shortcut to switch over:

IE10 desktop warning

The same page also deals with ‘Compatibility Verification’ and the steps to test/certify that your flash content is compatible with the extra features of a tablet OS.

Of particular interest is the option of a single registry entry that allows testing of your site for ‘debugging’ to see just how broken your flash content is.

The key is located here:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerFlashDebugDomain
.. and if you wanted to make a .reg file for easy access the contents would be:
**Blank Line/Carriage Return**
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerFlashDebugDomain] @=""
**Blank Line/Carriage Return**

At that point you could right-click the .reg file you made and click on ‘install’ from within the pop-up menu.

Passing this .reg file to your developers would be fine, but since only one site can be specified, this is NOT a solution for your end users.

Obviously the best advice we can give, as SEOs, is to ditch your Flash content completely.

HTML5 with all it’s perks can replace almost anything you’ve done in Flash and Google’s even willing to help you make the switch by offering the Swiffy Flash -> HTML5 Conversion Tool.

If you feel your content is too sophisticated for Swiffy, or you haven’t tried the tool recently, you should!

Here’s an example of how well the tool works on a flash game with keyboard and mouse controls:

ARVE Error: id and provider shortcodes attributes are mandatory for old shortcodes. It is recommended to switch to new shortcodes that need only url

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