People Say Flash Is Dead, But That Donkey Keeps Getting Flogged!

People Say Flash Is Dead, But That Donkey Keeps Getting Flogged!

Originally SuperSplash Animator, prior to being bought out and rebranded by Macromedia, Flash 1 launched in 1996. Seventeen versions and twenty years later, it clings on as Adobe Animate CC – a multimedia software platform for the production of animations, browser games, internet applications, desktop applications, mobile applications and games.

Flash Made It This Far, Why Do People Think It’s At Death’s Door?

Over the years, Adobe’s continued development of the software (after their acquisition of Macromedia in 2005) saw it transition into a web-based platform for video, music, gaming, and much more. Many computers came with Flash pre-installed to avoid difficulties with media online, although even with the support of the behemoth Microsoft’s operating systems and web browser, Adobe was unable to maintain its considerable market share. Their failure to adapt and become agile cost them dearly. That, and they never got onboard with smartphones.

Steve Jobs was an evangelist for the scrapping of Flash; the iPhone never supported it, unlike early Windows and Android smartphones. Jobs wrote an infamous memo titled ‘Thoughts on Flash’, where he took issue with the fact that most websites (even then) were switching to other formats for video, the negative effect on battery life and poor security.

Fast forward to today and Adobe has released a statement discouraging the use of its former headliner.

“Today, open standards like HTML5 have matured and provide many of the capabilities that Flash ushered in …. Looking ahead, we encourage content creators to build with new web standards and will continue to focus on providing the best tools and services for designers and developers.”

Despite this, it has to be said that…

The Final Nail Isn’t In The Coffin Just Yet!

Only three days ago Adobe released a new version of their Adobe Animate software, with additional bug fixes and security updates.Flash

Their social media isn’t exactly showing signs of slowing either.Flash Blog

YouTube (who used to use Adobe’s format as the standard way to play videos), Firefox (which blocked all .fla content in the wake of security issues) and McAfee (who were continuously plagued by security threats through the framework) have all pitched their stake in the ground and distanced themselves from Flash, although Facebook remains a supporter. Despite dropping Flash for the use of their videos, the social media giant still wishes to securely host Flash-designed browser games. Sadly, the expiration date for this is not far away either. In 2015 Google released Swiffy for converting Flash data into HTML5. Just one year later, Google announced that they were “sunsetting” Swiffy from July 1st 2016, as there was no longer enough Flash content available to justify the expense of operating a convertor.

Time For The Last Goodbyes

Flash isn’t dead, not yet. It lived an impressive twenty years – which is a big achievement for anything in the tech world. It will have brought countless hours of entertainment to many of us, from cat videos to games and music. But today’s tech is moving rapidly and Flash could fade away before we know it, much like Flash Gordon. So say your goodbyes, because tomorrow may just be too late.

Stephen Collins