What a wonderful relic of the past they are, but with technology, we have to constantly improve and older plugins like Java or Silverlight simply can’t keep up. Thus Chrome and other browsers decided to give them the boot. It seems that the guys and gals at Mozilla share the same view about their relevance and decided to end the plugin reign on Firefox browsers by the end of 2016.
Most of the older plugins are based on the Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI) extension and these are the ones that are getting the boot. So don’t worry about your precious Mozilla apps, they’re not going anywhere (sadly). NPAPI’s previous role was to do all the heavy lifting (video streaming, browser games, advanced graphics etc.) that older versions of the browsers simply couldn’t handle at the time. Well, times are changing (or have changed) and most, if not all, browsers don’t have to rely on Netscape plugins any longer, the exception for this plugin purge being Flash. Smedberg stating: “Because Adobe Flash is still a common part of the Web experience for most users, we will continue to support Flash within Firefox as an exception to the general plugin policy”.
At the end of the day, the change is quite understandable and people should also be able to understand that change (in this case especially) is very good. Those plugins were dragging down the user experience by offering services that were performing at a slow (to stopping rate) or even in its “best” case scenario, crashed your browser. Browsers understood this and took the step to add a more stable “plugin” that was native based to the browser (example: HTML 5) and thus rid us of the lacking performance those plugins brought us. The only shame about this is that the Unity engine is also a NPAPI plugin and this change will turn unity based browser games incompatible by the end of 2016. The gamer inside of me is shedding a tear right now, but the tech guy inside me appreciates the change and knows that Unity will most likely adapt to the new decisions being made.