While we continuously investigate and implement capture improvements, some websites are not created in a way that is "archive-friendly" and can be difficult to capture or replay in their entirety. These difficulties affect all web crawlers, not just ours. When selecting seed URLs and reviewing your archived content, please keep these limitations in mind.
*For more information on what makes sites archive-friendly, there is an in-depth guide available from Stanford University Libraries.
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A type of dynamic content, the Adobe Flash platform is used for the production of animations, graphics and videos. It is multi-step, requiring separate steps in both the browser and the website to work together; this means that there are multiple places where content needs to be activated, and in multiple ways. Most modern browsers require you to enable Flash, either through a prompt, or by downloading a plugin; how this works is specific to each computer and browser setup. Websites can also include various kinds of Flash files that must be captured in order for the archived site to fully replay.
Archived Flash content can be difficult to replay in Wayback.
Both the necessary files as well as a browser’s settings can impact how archived pages with Flash content replays. This means that even if the relevant Flash contents are captured, there may be browser-specific replay issues.
1. Confirm if Flash files were collected
If you’re experiencing issues replaying Flash content in Wayback, a good place to start is by checking if Flash files were actually collected. In some cases, checking the crawl report to verify this can be straightforward. You can do so by:
- Checking your crawl’s File Types report for .swf files
However, Flash files can also call out to other formats, which can be complex to identify and understand what was/was not captured.
2. Perform quality assurance
We also recommend performing Quality Assurance on your archived pages and using our Wayback QA tool to run patch crawls on missing content. This can help to capture the necessary files to aid future replay.
Adobe officially ended its support for Flash at the end of 2020, with many web browsers and operating systems also removing the Flash Player software around the same time. This impacted how contents are viewed on the live web, and of course, how they are viewed when archived. We are investigating the potential solutions for archival replay but do not yet have a timeline for the complex and specific engineering work that will be needed. Because of this, combined with the fact that Flash can be a very specific issue, please submit a support ticket with questions, and include as much detail as possible. Support will be limited both because of the specificity of Flash, and that it has been aged out.