Testing Flash Player Compatibility Across Browsers

Today, we were informed by a client that one of the sites we had been working on was not working properly. When the client went to the site, they could see the site, but it was behind a transparent white screen. We had no information on what platform or browser the client was using, but I assumed it was a compatibility issue with the Flash player.

On this particular site, it was using SlideShowPro, UFO and sIFR, all on the home page. Chris noticed that one of the slideshows was only compatible with Flash version 8. He thought if we downgraded it to 7, that would solve the issue. I agreed, but I wanted to test it first to see if we could reproduce the problem. I thought that this would help us deal with Flash player compatibility issues in the future.

I decided to look for a way to test different versions of the Flash plugin. I found the archived Flash player download page on Adobe’s web site. I recommend bookmarking this page. You will need to download these plugins if you want to test different Flash player versions in your browsers. I had a problem though. I could only get the players to install in Firefox. I couldn’t install any of those plugins in Internet Explorer.

So I installed Flash player version 7 in Firefox. When I viewed the site, it was obvious that was causing the problem. Don’t ask me how the client had Flash player version 7 still on their browser. That seems to be about par for the course around here. Anyway, downgrading the slideshow to version 7 fixed the problem, and the site is now compatible with Flash 7. Voila!

In researching this problem though, I came across another neat little tool, called Plugin Switcher, that I recommend you try out. Right now, it is only compatible with Windows. But, it allowed me to install as many versions of the Flash plugin as I wanted and switch between them on the fly.

Plugin Switcher claims to let you switch between Active X plugins also but I could not activate that feature. As a result, it only worked in Firefox for me, however it did that perfectly. There is a free version and a paid version. I only tried the free version. I contacted the developer to find out how much the full version is since most of the site is in German. If I ever try out the full version, I will post again, and let you know what I think.