Back in the Internet’s salad days, when it was green in content and cold in multimedia support, designers were extremely limited in what they could do. For the most part, the Internet was designed to deliver academic papers, and while image support was available by the 90’s, there was no way to show video or animation. It was all just images and text. (If you’re too young to remember or just want a flashback, check out Space Jam’s website, it literally hasn’t changed since 1996)
Well, designers tried to make cool looking stuff with such limitations (again, check out the Space Jam site) but it fell short. In order to fill the gap, many, many plugins were created for web browsers. Plugins that allowed users to watch videos, listen to music or render 3D models among other things that are taken for granted today. Flash was one of these plugins, and because it was a programmable stage that allowed the embedding of all kinds of rich multimedia, it quickly became adopted by web developers that wanted to do more than show text and pictures.
Over time, all these multimedia plugins have fallen away as various media has become adopted as standard Internet elements. With HTML5, standard Internet browsers are robust programming stages, so even Flash has become useless.
The problem is, a lot of web developers relied on Flash for many, many years. And change is hard.
The problem is, Flash is buggy, maintained by a single company (not an open standard) and is riddled with security issues. So the tech industry has been working for years to get rid of Flash, going back to Steve Job’s announcement in 2010 that the iPhone would not support Flash.
In time, even Adobe, the owner of Flash, has seen the handwriting on the wall and put their efforts in developing tools for open HTML5 standards. But for people to adopt their new tools, they have to kill Flash. So, on July 25th, they announced on their blog that they were partnering with some heavy hitters – including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla – to drive the stake through Flash’s heart by 2020.
That means it will be totally abandoned in 2020. No more updates. No more patches. No more fixes.
If you have a website that uses Flash, start making plans now to eliminate it. If you’re looking for a new website, let us know and we’ll be happy to help develop something new, modern and amazing!