The End of an Era: Adobe Flash is Shutting Down
Adobe Flash, the company best known for its graphic design and video editing software, announced today that it will be ceasing all development of Flash by the end of 2020. With this announcement coming as early as it did, there’s an interesting thought experiment to be had in which you imagine what life would have been like if Adobe had made this announcement 5 years earlier, back in 2015. With their announcement, here are some questions worth considering if you worked with flash during the last few years and now find yourself without Adobe’s blessing to continue using it.
Flash is about to be put out of commission for good and there is still plenty of debate as to what could potentially replace it. Adobe Flash, the reigning champion of interactive multimedia content on the internet, will reach its last release in 2020 and then finally die when it’s no longer supported by Adobe. Let’s go back to how we got here and analyze how Flash conquered the world before losing its grip over time.
It’s hard to believe that it was almost 20 years ago when Steve Jobs published his Thoughts on Flash which brought about a storm of controversies. To expand distribution channels,
Jobs deemed it necessary to crack down on some of his competitors. That ignited what we now know as Adobe Flash, a plug-in used to display rich content within web browsers. It became widely popular thanks to its flexibility and low demand for hardware resources.
Even though Jobs’ comments turned out to be somewhat misplaced in hindsight, he was right about one thing: unlike HTML, which served a broader purpose, Adobe Flash was created specifically for multimedia content such as video and animation files that were yet inaccessible by browsers at that time.
Flash’s demise is a long time coming
Adobe has officially announced that Flash is no more. Since the release of HTML5 in 2008, Flash’s future has been uncertain, but this announcement will effectively kill off Adobe Flash for good. Starting next year, all browsers will stop running Flash by default, and support for the software itself will end entirely in 2020. The rapid rise of Apple as a powerhouse in the tech industry also played a major role in its downfall.
Launched in 1996 by Macromedia, Flash quickly became a go-to software for animation and multimedia. It was unique at the time due to its impressive graphics capabilities and helped popularize Internet advertising. The company was eventually bought out by Adobe in 2005 and made its way into nearly every computing platform available at that time, including personal computers, mobile devices, and video game consoles.
Even though it was once considered indispensable to operating a website back in 2006, things have changed drastically over the years with more high-quality online video streaming services emerging.
What do we do now?
It’s a bittersweet moment for Flash developers as the ubiquitous web animation program Adobe Flash is being discontinued by 2020. With Google removing support for the platform from its Chrome browser and Adobe exiting the gaming software business, it’s only a matter of time before Flash officially goes dark.
But does that mean there are no alternatives? Not so fast. Below we discuss some of the most popular free, open-source cross-platform frameworks to replace Adobe Flash in your projects now and in the future.
How will this affect people with disabilities?
The shutdown of Adobe Flash is the end of an era. The web won’t be the same, and those who are unable to access the new standards will be left out in the cold. So how will this affect people with disabilities?
Adobe Flash was a popular programming platform that enabled interactive animations and gaming on websites, but now, it’s effectively shut down. Even more frustrating for those with disabilities is that most accessibility functions, which enable people to interact with web content using assistive technologies such as screen readers and speech recognition tools, relied on Adobe Flash Player or had yet-to-be-implemented workarounds.
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