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Flash is dead (Again). Long live the king

Since its slow burning demise starting in 2015, Adobe have finally set the funeral date for the once loved plugin Flash. With numerous hacks and security issues, heavy load times and ever dwindling mobile support (we’re looking at you Apple and Google!) it’s time to finally say goodbye. Flash is dead.

But with what was once the glue that held the web together there was a lot that Flash gave us through the years. Cue screen going all blurry and wibbly and arpeggio harp music as we go back in time.

Memory lane

The first time I remember being blown away by Flash was through the website NewGrounds. A horror game called Exmortis which brought real life graphics, point & click gaming, and creepy audio into one Flash file. It pushed the limits at the time and I remember my computer could barely run it.

Flash introduced online animated movies and games on an unprecedented level and during the early 2000s some of the best websites we built completely in Flash. By 2005 more computers worldwide had the Macromedia Flash Player installed than any other Web media format, including Java, QuickTime, RealNetworks and Windows Media Player.

The web opened to a new way of interaction with Flash bringing advanced animation and user interaction to everyone with a computer. Advancing this through the years was the addition of Actionscript 1.0 and 2.0, the addition of object orientated programming and major animation feats Flash was set to become the way the web was to be viewed.

Except Adobe when it acquired it in 2005, they didn’t have the foresight and knowledge to bring Flash in line with the major mobile revolution that was occurring.

Why now?

An ever-increasing number of issues have cropped over the last five years when it comes to Flash. Its access to users computing devices posed security issues, its functionality became more limiting as better standards came into place and the loading time… well let’s not go there.

During early 2016 Flash had to produce some major patches more minor security patches in a short space of time to fix security vulnerabilities. The level of risk associated with the potential hacks was so high that major companies such as Google, Mozilla and Facebook have all pulled away from Flash through fear of the inevitable.

Apple was the first back in 2010 to impend doom on Flash by not supporting it, in Steve Jobs words: Mobile device Internet is about low-power, high-performance and open standards.

Of which Flash falls flat at each of those hurdles. Flash isn’t mobile optimised and from 2010 it was doomed to fail.

What’s next?

Everything that Flash was for has been replaced with its light, code-based counterpart HTML5, which has been around for a few years and can do almost everything Flash can do but without the risk or the long load times.

HTML5 Canvas is also supported on Mobiles and has several frameworks maintained by companies like Google, and Facebook to ensure it is top of the line stuff.

Adobe didn’t roll over and give up when it came to its replacement of Flash with the introduction of Adobe Animate which is the HTML 5 Canvas Version of Flash with almost the same intuitive interface we’ve seen since Macromedia owned Flash way back in 2005.

As an internet user, you probably won’t notice much of a difference in your day-to-day browsing unless, of course, you’re going to miss those ‘This plugin is vulnerable and should be updated’ messages. Besides, there’s been a long overlap with the demise of Flash and the ascendance of HTML5 animation.

But we salute you Flash, you put up the good fight over the years and gave us the first glimpse of what the internet would be like in the future. Flash is dead (again), long live HTML5.

Posted in Browsers, Mobile Websites, New Ideas, User Experience, Video

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