FLASH IN THE PAN

Adobe is finally (tacitly) admitting that Flash is obsolete

Nearly six years after Steve Jobs called for its demise, and a year after YouTube put a nail in its coffin, Adobe announced Nov. 30 that Flash will be going away—although for now, in name only. The company will rebrand its animation-building tool as Adobe Animate next year to better reflect the types of projects its users create in what’s currently known as Adobe Flash Professional.

It’s not quite the end of Flash—the multimedia software that has powered internet games, videos, and banner ads since the mid-90s—but Adobe’s announcement signals that the modern web is moving away from the standard. Flash has in the past had issues with security, exposing web users’ computers to being controlled by hackers. And Jobs said the software “uses too much power” to effectively use it on mobile devices. Since Jobs’ treatise, most mobile video and gaming has not been powered by Flash, but many online sites still rely on the software. The games on Facebook, and the videos on Hulu and most major US networks’ sites are still Flash.

Newer options for creative types, such as building web content in HTML5—the most recent set of web-coding standards—and encoding video in H.264—a video format better suited for mobile devices—has led to calls to stop building in Flash, including from the advertising world and those who just like watching funny videos online. According to one report, Flash is currently used by about 10% of all websites.

Adobe’s Animate will still let users create Flash projects and files, but the company’s announcement suggested that it wants to move beyond the format that first debuted as Macromedia Flash in 1996. The company said in its announcement that Animate will be “a major update with significant new features to create animations for any platform,” but did not elaborate on what those will be.

Perhaps someday soon, when content creators and advertisers have completely moved on from Flash, the most infuriating (and hazardous) computer pop-up will soon be a distant memory:

“WARNING! Your Flash Player may be out of date.”

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