Technology with attitude

The future of Adobe Flash Player


You might have seen that the Java plug-in is going to be killed in future versions of the JRE. It’s coming very shortly. That begs to question, what will happen to Adobe’s Flash Player in the next couple of years? The answer is painfully obvious. I think the writing is on the wall. Flash Player will go the way of the dinosaurs.

Adobe’s Flash Player had a great life. It brought the web to life in ways that weren’t possible by any other means in the age of Web 2.0. YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime might not have been possible with without Adobe Flash Player.

Eventually, though, more and more exploits were found in the Flash Player making it a huge security risk. The software became so unreliable, yet needed, that Google made its own flash player built into Chrome. Eventually, Firefox did the same.

Steve Jobs was famous for refusing to add Flash capabilities to iOS. He was adamant about his decision. Google fired back by partnering with Adobe and adding a native Flash Player in Android but later removed it in 2013.

In December of 2015, Adobe announced they were renaming their Flash IDE from Flash Professional to Animate. This marked a big change in the future of Flash. Adobe stated that Animate will still allow Flash development, but it has been deprecated and developers must actively choose to use it. Flash is no longer the default programming language. Instead, Adobe is going all in with HTML5 technologies and announced that they were working on an HTML video player, one of the reasons Flash had clung to life for so long.

The Flash video player is no longer relevant anymore. The HTML5 spec now includes native video tags allowing for a way for browsers to play video natively without plug-ins. Both YouTube and Netflix have moved away from a Flash-based web player to a native HTML5 based player demonstrating that even copyright protection is no longer an issue.

A few developers might be hoping that Flash will stick around to develop interactive games and web applications. JavaScript has gained a lot of new functionality that surpasses even the capability of Flash. In fact, many of today’s web apps and frameworks are built on top of JavaScript. Even major game engines, such as Construct2 and Unity, choose to export web games to HTML5 based on JavaScript rather than Flash.

I would hope that many developers and companies no longer utilize Flash. The writing is on the wall. Major web stakeholders have backed new video technologies, like WebM and H.265. Video game developers are developing in JavaScript. Web App developers are using frameworks based on JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, and Python. The days of Flash are over. We all owe it a warm thank you for helping to make the web a better place, but it’s time for Adobe’s Flash Player to retire.

Ultimately, consumers won’t need to worry about its demise. Web companies are actively working in new technologies now, and the ones that use Flash are working to transition to HTML5. For consumers, everything will just work. The only people that need to worry are those gamers that use websites like Kongregate. Their favorite game may eventually disappear.