Is It Game Over for Adobe Flash?

Do you sometimes get the warning regarding using Adobe Flash via your current browser, or have you ever been prompted to update your Flash plugin? If so, great! You remember them! Are these memories quite annoying or nostalgic?

A leading interactive and creative tool in its day

Bear in mind that Adobe Flash has been a huge part of producing the interactivity and creative content of web technologies. Way back in the early 2000s, most of the old operating systems had Flash installed on desktop computers or laptops. It was commonly used to display interactive web pages and online games, as well as to playback video and audio content. Actually, Adobe Flash was born to the World in 1996 (as FutureSplash), believe it or not!

Adobe Flash's death has been slow and painful, but the news just in from Adobe is that they’re planning to stop offering software support for Flash in 2020.

Why is it stopping its usage so slowly?

There are many rationales, but all are reasonable.

HTML5 is taking over

HTML5 is a new technology replacing Adobe Flash. HTML5 is being rapidly adopted for Adobe Flash features – for example: video embed, interactivity, games and much more. Most browsers support HTML5 although their capacity to handle these features varies. The illustration below clearly outlines the Flash vs HTML5 rivalry through the years.

How about smartphones – is it true that Apple refused to include Adobe Flash?

Apple decided not to support Flash on the first iPhone when it was launched back in 2007. Apple decided that its size and chunkiness didn’t make it worth the effort to include in the iPhone’s offerings. They were concerned about Flash possibly affecting the iPhone’s performance (draining the battery) and security issues.

Browsers and Security

There were lots of security concerns about using Adobe Flash for browser plugins. Popular browsers began blocking the Flash plugin - for example, Google blocked the plugin last year. The majority of browsers let users choose which websites can run the Flash plugin.

Also, in 2009, Symantec highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records.

Bugs, updates, and downloads be gone!

Plus, it is a pretty bad user experience when browsers just suddenly stop working with Adobe Flash due to a bug. Or asks users to download the Adobe Flash plugin to view an interactive element, web page or videos. Pretty annoying isn’t it?

OK, I’m clear now, but why end Adobe Flash for good in 2020?

My guess is that the Adobe team wants to provide support for software or websites that have Adobe Flash running, but Adobe wants to give them time to be aware of this advance notice and encourage them to migrate the existing Flash format to new open formats.

Is your website or Flash app still running with Adobe Flash; if so, this is a good time to consider getting this looked into.

Conclusion

To be fair, Adobe Flash has brought us much joy, for example, producing awesome online games, creative banners, and animations. Indeed, YouTube was introduced to the world in 2005 with Adobe Flash. Here at Webfactory, developers are always interested in exploring new technical features and looking forward to what’s coming up, especially with new HTML5 features dropping in the near future.

Contact our team at Webfactory today to get your website upgraded with the latest best practice web technologies - drop us a line on our contact page.

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Ronan Lowry

Web Developer

The author

Ronan is a Web Developer at Webfactory, with over 10 years working within the digital media industry. Ronan has an interest in all areas of digital matters including a variety of threads on web design/development and digital marketing.

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