Flash is dead: Adobe announces end-of-life plans, will stop distribution in 2020

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2017
Citing pressure from HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly, Adobe has announced that it will end development and distribution of Flash Player at the end of 2020, and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to open formats.




Adobe cites collaboration from Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla as impetus behind the decision.
"The mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards -- all areas where Flash falls short." - Apple's Steve Jobs in 2010
In a statement on the matter, Apple says that its users have done without Flash for some time, and notes that the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch have never supported the technology. Safari now requires explicit approval for each website before it executes the Flash plug-in, which must be actively installed by the user.

Adobe will continue to support Flash on most of the browsers that currently support Flash through the planned dispatch of the product. The company notes that this includes issuing regular security patches, maintaining OS and browser compatibility and adding features and capabilities as needed.

Killing off Flash doesn't mean that Adobe is giving up on developing web standards. The company will continue to continue to contribute to the HTML5 standard and participating in the WebAssembly Community Group.

The announcement comes more than 7 years after Apple cofounder Steve Jobs published his famous "Thoughts on Flash" letter, in which he slammed Adobe's web format as outdated and not suitable for portable, low-power devices. At the time, the absence of Flash support on the iPhone and iPad were common criticisms against Apple's mobile platforms, but in the years that talk has all but disappeared.




Jobs's issues with Flash were numerous, related to security, performance, battery life, and the fact that it is not designed for touchscreen devices. Instead, Apple opted to back its own App Store, as well as open web formats like HTML5 -- a bet for the company that proved prescient, even before Adobe announced the death of Flash on Tuesday.

"Flash was created during the PC era - for PCs and mice," Jobs wrote in 2010. "Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards - all areas where Flash falls short."

Since Jobs's letter, modern browser makers have increasingly veered away from Flash, which while once useful for games, video, and animation, has largely been supplanted by other technologies -- namely HTML5 -- that pose less of a security threat. For a number of years Flash was one of the main vectors for attackers, forcing Adobe to issue regular patches.




Apple escalated its position against Flash last year with the launch of macOS Sierra. Adobe's plugin is disabled by default in Sierra's version of Safari, forcing people to manually activate whenever they encounter a webpage asking for it. Java, Silverlight, and even Apple's own QuickTime are treated the same way.

Google also announced its move away from Flash with its PC Chrome browser in August of 2016, revealing its plans to block some specific applications of Flash, including behind-the-scenes operations like page analytics. The switchover came in Chrome 53, which launched later that month.
cincymacanton zuykovlolliver
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 55
    At my company, we're hard at work to move our applications way from Flash. It will be at least another year. Glad Adobe has an appropriate road map.
    cincymacmagman1979lostkiwiwelshdog
  • Reply 2 of 55
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,272member
    Great! Let's start by forcing Comcast, ESPN, NBA, and CNN to only use HTML5 and not link to any sites that still use Flash--and I'd like to see that happen starting today, not after 2020. Every one of these sites use HTML5 or other non-Flash when accessed by iOS devices, including Safari on macOS when setting the user agent to iOS so we all know they can do it now. 
    cincymacSolilongpathzroger73magman1979chiatransmasterlostkiwironndigital_guy
  • Reply 3 of 55
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,043member
    It will take 13 yrs but Steve did kill Flash.
    longpathanton zuykovSpamSandwichmagman1979chiatransmasterslprescottanantksundaramphone-ui-guydigital_guy
  • Reply 4 of 55
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 1,036member
    Better late than never.
    anton zuykovchianetmage
  • Reply 5 of 55
    dachardachar Posts: 330member
    This is good news but getting already constructed websites to be updated may prove hard. I have had to write to my son's school many times when they have set web based homework using sites that require Flash. As an Apple only family my son has been unable to do the homework due to our lack of Flash on our iMacs. l believe this is discriminatory and may result in no marks. The school has always been good about the issue but the homework still continues sometimes to be Flash based. I expect most of the teachers have no idea about the problems with Flash and many owners of older websites have not got resources to update their web pages.

    longpathzroger73equality72521magman1979chialostkiwirandominternetpersonmontrosemacslolliverdysamoria
  • Reply 6 of 55
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 2,294member
    dachar said:
    This is good news but getting already constructed websites to be updated may prove hard. I have had to write to my son's school many times when they have set web based homework using sites that require Flash. As an Apple only family my son has been unable to do the homework due to our lack of Flash on our iMacs. l believe this is discriminatory and may result in no marks. The school has always been good about the issue but the homework still continues sometimes to be Flash based. I expect most of the teachers have no idea about the problems with Flash and many owners of older websites have not got resources to update their web pages.


    There's no reason to use one and only one browser. Keep your Safari Flash-free, while have Chrome as your Flash-fallback, when needed. At least that's how I've done it for the past few years. The day is coming when built-in Flash support is gone from Chrome, too. Has that day already come? I have the latest Chrome and Flash continues to work correctly.
    montrosemacssuperklotonairnerd
  • Reply 7 of 55
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,871member
    dachar said:
    This is good news but getting already constructed websites to be updated may prove hard. I have had to write to my son's school many times when they have set web based homework using sites that require Flash. As an Apple only family my son has been unable to do the homework due to our lack of Flash on our iMacs. l believe this is discriminatory and may result in no marks. The school has always been good about the issue but the homework still continues sometimes to be Flash based. I expect most of the teachers have no idea about the problems with Flash and many owners of older websites have not got resources to update their web pages.

    You could have just put Flash on your Mac and be done with it, no? There is a way to not have Flash enabled for every site in Safari. 
    Metriacanthosaurusalmondrocaairnerd
  • Reply 8 of 55
    Noooo! O, wait. I mean, yes.
    zroger73Rayz2016anton zuykovanantksundaram
  • Reply 9 of 55
    " ... a bet for the company that proved prescient, even before Adobe announced the death of Flash on Tuesday."

    If it hadn't proven prescient before Tuesday, it would not have been.
    netmage
  • Reply 10 of 55
    I was sure there was going to have some talk about "web developers that don't have the resources to move from Flash...". Please, you just can't be more lame. The death of Flash is like a relative you really don't like that's been terminally ill for ten years now.

    If, by now, you weren't prepared for it, you would never be. I've been Flash free for about five years now. I invested in Apple devices (in part) so I could use Safari, not to bloat them with half a dozen of (inferior) browsers.

    If I open a webpage and it requires Flash, I simply close it and go somewhere else. To refrain to jump the boat now (which is already late) is being penny wise-buck foolish. Dear God, not even Android supports this anymore, and about three of four web accesses is mobile nowadays.
    edited July 2017 dysamoria
  • Reply 11 of 55
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,799member
    No surprise here. They changed the name of Flash Professional to Animate, so the end of the Flash Player was fully expected. BTW Animate is a pretty decent HTML5 authoring environment. I still have a couple Flash applications that are going to be really difficult to convert to HTML5. Very complicated database connections and some fancy drag operations that require separate image files to be loaded onto the stage. Not that it can't be done, but the clients don't want to pay for reprogramming since it will be kind of expensive.
  • Reply 12 of 55
    bradipaobradipao Posts: 145member
    Citing pressure from HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly, Adobe has announced that it will end development and distribution of Flash Player at the end of 2020, and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to open formats.
    Actually Apple was only moderately interested in open formats. Apple wanted developers to move to native apps distributed through Apple-controlled AppStore, instead of the multi-platform third party development tool capable of distributing apps through every website. In fact once Flash was wounded to death, also the HTML5 promotion slowed.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 13 of 55
    longpathlongpath Posts: 394member
    I wonder how long it will be before Facebook updates its APIs to shed Flash.
    welshdog
  • Reply 14 of 55
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    dachar said:
    This is good news but getting already constructed websites to be updated may prove hard. I have had to write to my son's school many times when they have set web based homework using sites that require Flash. As an Apple only family my son has been unable to do the homework due to our lack of Flash on our iMacs. l believe this is discriminatory and may result in no marks. The school has always been good about the issue but the homework still continues sometimes to be Flash based. I expect most of the teachers have no idea about the problems with Flash and many owners of older websites have not got resources to update their web pages.

    Solution: Home schooling
  • Reply 15 of 55
    dachar said:
    As an Apple only family my son has been unable to do the homework due to our lack of Flash on our iMacs. 
    LMFAO. That is, quite possibly, the dumbest thing I've ever read. No reason you can't use Flash.
    edited July 2017 netmagesuperklotonairnerd
  • Reply 16 of 55
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,605member
    Youtube still has Flash requirements in the "Enhancements" section when editing your Youtube video. 
    dysamoria
  • Reply 17 of 55
    mubailimubaili Posts: 454member
    i just did a quick check on Google Finance, from 2010-10-1 to 2017-07-25,
    Adobe is up 455.18% while Apple only up 267.52%. So much for Flash is dead. 

  • Reply 18 of 55
    tzm41tzm41 Posts: 95member
    mubaili said:
    i just did a quick check on Google Finance, from 2010-10-1 to 2017-07-25,
    Adobe is up 455.18% while Apple only up 267.52%. So much for Flash is dead. 

    Adobe is much more than Flash
    techprod1gyrandominternetpersonlolliverdysamoriawelshdog
  • Reply 19 of 55
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,799member
    bradipao said:
     In fact once Flash was wounded to death, also the HTML5 promotion slowed.
    HTML5 is really difficult to develop with. Takes a lot longer to produce complex functionality than with Flash and the animations are usually not as smooth. Even Apple's use of HTML5 can be a little jerky and seems to take longer to initiate than an equivalent Flash application would.

    No question that Flash is a pretty big resource hog and probably a bit of a security risk, but Javascript can be just as much a resource hog and is not entirely free of security issues either. The main benefit of HTML5 is that it usually works pretty well on mobile devices which are so prevalent these days. It just takes a lot more work to develop in HTML5. I have a lot of experience in both technologies.
    dysamoriawelshdog
  • Reply 20 of 55
    dachar said:
    As an Apple only family my son has been unable to do the homework due to our lack of Flash on our iMacs. 
    LMFAO. That is, quite possibly, the dumbest thing I've ever read. No reason you can't use Flash.
    I think they are saying they don't instal Flash since it's a giant security risk. Either do I on any Macs in our house.
    lolliverdysamoria
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