Vultures have been circling around Adobe’s Flash Player ever since Steve Jobs predicted the death of the ubiquitous plugin back in 2010. Now, Adobe has succumbed to the pressure, choosing to kill their darling at the end of 2020.
Apple was the first to put a nail in the coffin when they decided not to support Flash on iOS. The reasons, according to the Apple co-founder himself, included the openness of Flash; citing the advent of HTML5 as the new standard for rich content on the Web. Being propriety, support for Flash was always up to Adobe whether bugs were squished and security holes were patched, or not. Especially the security concerns have been an Achille’s heel of the plugin, with numerous iterations being susceptible to hijackings by malware, sometimes disguised as the Flash-installer itself.
“Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.”
Flash has never been stable, a memory glutton to boot and prone to crashes, meaning mobile devices have been among the least equipped to run Flash-powered applications, if at all. The battery life of mobile devices has all but suffered when running Flash-heavy websites, leading Google, Mozilla, Facebook and Microsoft to eventually abandon Flash, just like Apple already did.
Adobe said in their July 25th announcement that they will continue supporting Flash until the end of 2020 before calling it an End of Life for the plugin, allowing content creators to migrate to alternatives such as HTML5 and WebGL in the meantime. The company also hopes to continue supply the Web with rich content through their animation and video tools such as Animate CC and Premiere Pro CC.
To be fair, the Flash plugin spawned entire industries in the early days of the web, from Flash-games and Stickman-animations, to content rich splash-pages and of course porn. Like many technologies enabling the wide-spread consumption of erotic content, Flash was able to ride the wave until it was no longer needed.
What are your best memories of Flash? Did you create animations yourself or have a favorite to share? Tell us in the comments below!