Goodbye Flash. All you need to know

Goodbye Flash. All you need to know


Goodbye Flash - all you need to know

A few weeks ago Adobe announced goodbye to its Flash software. It will be ‘killed’ (as some headlines announced it) by the end of 2020 and the software for making Flash will be renamed from Flash Professional CC to Animate CC.

“We will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats.”, Adobe spokeperson

But what does it really mean and what about the future of interactive content?

Multimedia king: Adobe Flash

Many recall dominance of Adobe Flash. Launched over 20 years ago, it’s a software used to stream and view video, audio and multimedia and Rich Internet Applications (RIA) on a computer or supported mobile device (Source: TechTarget). It started as SmartSketch, a drawing program for PenPaint, then rebranded as FutureSplash Animator. In 1996 purchased by Macromedia and renamed as Flash. In 2005 with Adobe’s acquisition of Macromedia it turned to Adobe Flash and started to take off with designers discovering and enjoying its versatility and ability to create rich and interactive experiences. It also became a very easy tool to encode videos coinciding with the 2005 YouTube launch.

Beginning of the end: Steve Jobs and HTML5

For a while it’s been a staple of multimedia on the Internet. But security concerns and Apple’s lack of support (in 2007 Apple decided not to support it in the newly introduced iPhone) commenced the end of it. Famously in 2010 Steve Jobs revealed his thoughts on insecure and resource-intensive Flash supporting HTML5 and JavaScript as the new standard.

“Though the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open(…). Rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript – all open standards.” Steve Jobs

Then the fifth version of HTML happened promising to replace some of the functionality Flash provided. HTML5 standards have been implemented across all modern web browsers, and the need for Flash just isn’t there anymore. And the rest is history!

And the impact – many already adapted 

  • Majority of video streaming sites already moved to HTML5 (YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo and soon BBC iPlayer)
  • Web browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox automatically block Flash plugins
  • It’s allowed by default on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon
  • Google made Flash a “click-to-play” plugin meaning users must explicitly enable if they really want to use it
  • Gaming, education and video are the industry built around flash and are tipped to get the hardest hit. Education and gaming space seem most affected but Facebook says that it will help game developers on its platform migrate to open web standards.
  • For those who’re still hooked on Flash, they’re encouraged to use open standards such as HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly as replacements
  • Our customers already know that in the next few months we’ll be phasing out our own flash export options from Cloud Authoring and InDesign Authoring Plugin

Ps. And anybody there who remembers Silverlight?  Microsoft launched it in 2007 trying to once tried to compete with Flash but had no chance to replace it.