A Death Foretold: Adobe Will Discontinue Adobe Flash in 2020

Image Source: neurogadget

Image Source: neurogadget

Adobe has announced that it is planning to shut down Flash Player by 2020-2021. In their announcement Govind Balakrishnan, Adobe’s VP for the product development department has stated that Adobe has recognized that their product is now obsolete. Already this week, a similar announcement was made by Microsoft about their MS Paint application when they announed that they’re removing MS Paint as default image editor in favor of Paint 3D (though because of fans’ reaction in social media, they announced that MS Paint will be available to download for free in their Windows Store).

A Brief History In Flash

Image Source: instructables

Image Source: Instructables

Adobe was once the king when it comes to web based multimedia applications. What made them king was their Flash software which is a multimedia software platform that’s mainly used to add animations, create web, desktop, or mobile applications,  create web based games, and add web based video players. Since it’s a multimedia platform, of course, it can stream videos and catch inputs from input devices, like the mouse or keyboard.

Formerly known as Macromedia Flash, it was first introduced in 1996 as a method to add animations and interactive media to web pages. In 2005, Macromedia’s rival, Adobe, bought Macromedia along with their products, like Flash and Dreamweaver.

Flash enjoyed their popularity as the choice for web based multimedia for more than 15 years since it was first introduced. But sadly, like all software, Flash isn’t without bugs and these bugs became the choice exploit by a lot of hackers. Adobe has been patching their software ever since.

Obsolete Software

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Steve Jobs predicted Flash’s death due to HTML5 (Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Around 2004, the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group started working on a new HTML standard. The latest one at the time, HTML 4.01, hasn’t been updated since 2000. Their work became what is eventually now known as HTML5, which is the present standard. Published by the World Wide Web Consortium in 2014, it was able to improve the HTML language by making it able to support the latest multimedia with the help of CSS3 and Javascript. But with this functionality to support multimedia, Flash steadily grew unpopular. It doesn’t help that in 2010, Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, wrote a letter stating out the reasons why Apple devices will not support Flash and point out that HTML5 will eventually kill Flash.

By 2011, it looked like Adobe has recognized that Flash wasn’t popular anymore when it came to mobile (they never really gave any reason as to why), and announced that they have stopped developing the software for mobile use.

Which finally brings us to the present. Flash announced this week that they have finally decided to pull the plug for Flash by the end of 2020. The reason is simple: Steve Jobs’ prediction in 2010 came true. HTML5 and browsers supporting the current HTML standard have seen less use for Flash now that developers can directly embed content to their web pages. As for developing games, newer software came out since then and Flash fell into disuse when it comes to games. With people using Flash less and less and the threat of bugs and vulnerabilities that came in using Flash, it feels like it’s the right time for Adobe to discontinue Flash.

But of course, they just can’t pull the plug immediately. Adobe announced that they’re going to support their customers and partners until 2020, probably to give them time to migrate to other software.

And so the sun will finally set on Adobe Flash. For a lot of people, this was one the first softwares they have to study for web development. There will probably be a lot of people who will miss Flash, but like everything in life, it’s only natural to be replaced by something better, something safer, and something faster.