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What Does the Death of Adobe Flash Mean for the Web?

by: Amy Wainwright, Marketing Intern – ASPE

Adobe Flash has been a dominant player in Web Development since its release in 2005.  It’s most popular use has been in online video and games.  In November of 2011, Adobe announced that they will no longer build or release new versions of Flash for mobile browsers.  Why is this? What caused such a dominant web player to fall?

Flash was handed its death certificate when Apple refused to support it on their devices, including the iPhone and iPad.  The first generation iPhone was released by Apple in 2007.  Adobe did not release a mobile version of Flash until 2010.  By this time, the iPhone was the most popular phone in the world and had apps where Flash did not matter. Adobe was not able to keep up with the technology for mobile devices and, therefore, missed their window of opportunity.  Now you may ask, why can’t Flash still survive on desktop browsers? Well you are correct in that thought.  Adobe Flash can still be used on desktop browsers, but its future does not look bright.

Mobile devices are currently the most popular and efficient way of connecting to the web.  People do not need desktop browsers to connect to the web anymore.  Eventually, any program unavailable on a mobile browser will no longer exist.  Flash will exist for now, but only until developers learn new skills and can abandon Flash, if they haven’t already.

I have already seen changes in Flash from an education standpoint.  I am currently a senior at North Carolina State University minoring in Art and Design.  In my Multimedia and Digital Imaging course we have been using Flash all semester.  I believe that it is great for students to have a background and understanding of Flash methods, but I also think it will become irrelevant.  From listening to professors and professionals in the design field, I think Flash will eventually be erased from design curriculum.

Now the question is what’s next? What software will eventually replace Flash for web development? Will jQuery and other JavaScript interfaces overtake Flash? Or will HTML 5 mature and take its place? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, Adobe Flash has no future on the web.

What are you thoughts? Do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment and let’s keep the conversation going.

2 Comments on What Does the Death of Adobe Flash Mean for the Web?

  1. broody
    April 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm (5 years ago)

    Adobe made a big blunder in stopping Flash mobile development and open sourcing Flex. Now no one believes in the Flash platform while before it was still considered the best solution for several tasks.

    Flex in particular is a magnificent tool to develop enterprise applications, and it probably will take many years for HTML5 to overtake it in functionality and reliability. The beauty of the flash plugin for enterprises is in how easy it is to deploy a rich internet app- if you can run the plugin, you can run the app. HTML5 on the other hand is still a very shaky framework, and it makes me nervous. You have to test and debug for many different device sizes and browsers with disparaging features, and rely on questionable hacks to address fringe use cases. If you’re a consumer, running into a non-working app is a mere annoyance. If you’re a business, it can potentially mean a lot of trouble and losses, including human harm. It’s kind of irresponsible to turn to HTML5 just because it’s new and edgy, but it’s what people are doing in droves now that they feel Flash has lost support.

    • Amy Wainwright
      April 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm (5 years ago)

      I agree that HTML5 is a new framework and not very dependable at this point. HTML5 is still in development though and has not been finalized. It is currently able to incorporate both audio and video as Flash does. Once HTML5 does mature, users may not be able to tell a difference. Users do not necessarily care how material is delivered, just that the content is good. Adobe has support behind HTML5, which will hopefully accelerate their efforts to mature the product and change the way we work with the web.


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