Technology with attitude

Why Adobe Flash Player still important to some people

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Flash is an old and in many respects outdated technology that is being slowly retired in favor of HTML5. For example, YouTube now uses HTML5 on all devices and companies like Apple never liked Flash in the first place pointing to its alleged poor performance, security issues, lack of touch support, and others. Why is it that in 2015 flash is still important to some people? What are the real reason behind its remaining use?

There are in fact many different reasons and one of them lies in the content delivery across different platforms. Flash works a lot like a PDF format in terms of being able to provide a consistent experience no matter what device or resolution you have. All you need is a support for Flash and you can play video or music without any issues. Today, technologies like HTML5 give us a modern alternative, but not everybody is able to take advantage of them. This is probably the most prevalent in the business sector where any upgrades take a long time and people often have to use outdated proprietary software solutions to do their daily work.

Another reason for the prevailing presence of Flash is DRM. HTML5 exposes the delivered content to the end user and thus makes it much harder to protect. On the other hand, you can easily stream your content using Flash Media Server and benefit from its built-in DRM functionality. Flash essentially eliminates the exposed URL and allows the owner of the media to fully control what information is shared. Flash Media Server also ensures that no data is ever cached on the disk and removes the possibility to capture Flash progressive download and save it to a disk.

If you often browse the web without Ad-block, you probably look at flash almost all the time. All of those annoying ads and banners with animations, sounds, and interactive slides use Flash. Creators of web advertising and advertising delivery networks rely on Flash every single day to make money out of web content. While you can make colorful and animated ads using several different technologies – it is only with Flash that you can also very easily track clicks. Big ad networks support standardized tracking in Flash and its implementation is simple. But since advertisers have to ultimately conform to users and not the other way around, there is already an initiative to replace Flash with HTML5 when it comes to digital adverts. This would mean a better performance across all platforms and systems, lesser operational cost, and more scalable and consistent experience.

As you can see, there are still many areas where Flash has its solid place and it will take a few more years until it can be considered as a fully obsolete piece technology. That day will, however, surely come and when it happens we can only look back to everything that this technology enabled us to do.