Flash Tools & Resources

To preserve the Flash works featured in this exhibition, we utilized several different methods. Below is the list of approaches with links to resource sites for others who wish to save Flash art.

Ruffle Flash Player

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Ruffle is a Flash player emulator that required us to add the Ruffle file to the server and then the requisite code to the landing page of a work, a method that meant we were intervening in the art. Specifically, we used a small handful of .js and .wasm files (supplied from and their standalone build) and configured our server to serve .wasm files (a single line of code in the Apache config file). In this regard, visitors to the exhibition will notice that works saved with Ruffle include a scholarly note on the work's landing page alerting them to our efforts. While this method is relatively fast and easy, it does not work for electronic literature with complex action scripting or that contains videos and sound.


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Conifer is the permanent instantiation of, long used and researched by Rhizome. It functions by emulating a legacy browser on which Flash can function. This means that digital preservationists do not need to modify the original files associated with a work. There is a wait time for the remote server when accessing a work, but the "afterflash" exhibition is leasing from Rhizome a dedicated server space in order to mitigate visitor traffic. This is a feature that Rhizome is exploring as a permanent option for users. In some cases, sound may not be expressed for works that make use of it.


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As the website states: "Webrecorder is an independent open-source project" that "focuses on creating and providing a suite of open source projects and tools to capture interactive websites and allowing anyone to host web archives on their own as easily as possible." It is also important to know that "Conifer (previously the service known as is now run by Rhizome", which is "responsible for hosting archives that are archived and created with the Conifer platform. Conifer uses tools previously developed and maintained by Webrecorder when it was a project of Rhizome." We have produced an easy tutorial for visitors who may wish to implement Webrecorder for preserving electronic literature.

Video Playthroughs

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When we did not have the HTML files for a work and, so, could not implement Ruffle or Conifer, or we did not feel we could capture the work effectively, we turned to making video playthroughs. To do this we had to use the Pale Moon browser, an open-source browser available for Windows and UNIX operating systems, to access the work and then video screen record reading through the work.

HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript

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Some artists are translating their Flash art to open web languages as a way of making it accessible. Serge Bouchardon's "Toucher" represents one example of this method featured in the exhibition. We have not ourselves taken this tack for preserving Flash, mainly because it is not conducive for maintaining the cinematic quality that Flash provided and is expensive and time-consuming. That said, based on our experiences with other preservation methods, translation to open web languages remains the most effective long-term strategy for keeping Flash literary art alive.

Internet Archive's Wayback Machine + Pale Moon

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One final way to access Flash works for readers who can use the Pale Moon browser and have the original URL for a Flash work is viewing works via the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. One needs only to access the Wayback Machine on the Pale Moon browser and type in the work's URL into the query box. A screen appears that shows a calendar with dates highlighted. Clicking on one of these dates and selecting the time you wish to access will take you to the work.