Adobe Flash: Time To Say Goodbye

In the early 2000s, Adobe Flash was the technology for all that makes the web interesting. It was the time of the dial-up modem, where the tiny 56kbps bandwidth was insufficient to deliver video and animated content by other means.

Back in those days, Flash was the number one go-to for content creators. Videos were often seen with the extension .flv (cue disgusted look) and there were tons of online flash games (my favourite was y8 and miniclip).

Flash was a key that opened up the gate to a richer variety of content. Some even go to the extent of calling it the technology that shaped the internet. It’s true – without flash, we may not even have been introduced to the concept of sharing videos and playing games over the internet.

When HTML5 tried to take over in 2008, critics slammed it. Take-up rate was slow and Flash was still dominating.

Just two years later, the late Steve Jobs slammed Flash hard. iPhone did not come with Flash, and his reason was that Flash caused poor battery life, is not optimized for mobile devices, and was essentially a piece of legacy software.

People began to think.

Flash was a piece of ancient software made for thick and heavy computers, not thin and light phones. Written over 10 years ago, it was, like a decaying tooth, overrun by bugs and cavities then patched over and over again in a futile attempt to ward off hackers. Just like its best friend Java, Flash is going down the drain. More patches were followed by even more exploits. People turned off flash for fear of being hacked.

The infamous crash page
The infamous crash page

HTML5 soon grew in popularity. I mean, who needs an insecure plug-in when the browser natively supports the viewing of these media files? Youtube switched to HTML5, people switched to Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare over Stickman Rampage, and almost all video files are now encoded with H.264 into mp4 or mkv files. Even advertisers switched away from flash.

Flash is broken.

Recently, it was announced that Flash had multiple, critical, zero-day bugs that were found and exploited for over 4 years. While Adobe rushed to fix the bugs, user confidence in the product was almost gone.

And finally on Tuesday, 14 July 2015, Google and Mozilla officially pulled the plug on Flash. Users would see that the Flash extension/plug-in has automatically been disabled.

Google and Mozilla have officially pulled the plug on Flash
Google and Mozilla have officially pulled the plug on Flash

This marks the end of the Flash era. While Flash lies in the ICU and Adobe doctors try desperately to revive it, Flash is likely to join Internet Explorer in a couple of years, if not months.

Flash has left behind a legacy, one that opened up the web to an immense range of content. Now it is time for newer technology like HTML5 to take over and continue the legacy.

Goodbye, Flash.

This article was inspired by this picture

Leave a Reply