In July 2017, Adobe announced that they would cease the development of Flash. In 5 months they will live up to their promise, and it will break the Internet.
Many websites will be rendered at least partially inoperable when Flash dies at the end of this year. Flash is used as a programming language by 2.6% of the sites measured on the Internet this month.
Adobe Flash Player is retiring because open source standards like HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly have improved over the past several years.
Steve Jobs warned in 2010 that in the future, Flash would not be allowed on Apple’s devices because of its poor performance, lack of touch support, and the emergence of new open web standards.
Adobe says it will stop offering Flash player downloads at the end of the year and will even block Flash content from running on computers in 2021. Adobe states that “Customers should not use Flash Player after 2020 since it will not be supported by Adobe.”
Adobe and others have produced several tools over the years that allow web developers to migrate their Flash content to HTML5 or other more modern web technologies. The problem, of course, is that many of those sites will have been abandoned years ago or that it is simply not worth the developer’s effort to port the content.
What does all of this mean for you? Well, that depends on if you are using a site with Flash content. Most web developers have made the transition, and many sites have already been removed. There are many documentaries that have been created over the years that still live online, such as Bear 71.
Bear 71 is an interesting documentary about a female grizzly bear that is tracked by wildlife conservation officers from 2001 until 2009. The site uses Flash to add depth to a story that allows the audience to understand the clash between animals, humans, and technology in the modern world.
For you techies, know that BlueMaxima’s “Flashpoint” is a self-described “web-game preservation project,” designed to support thousands of your favorite Flash-based browser games. The project distributes open-source player software, so fans can still access legacy games when Flash goes dark.
Since early 2018, over a hundred contributors have helped Flashpoint save more than 49,000 games and 3,600 animations running on 16 different platforms.
I hope this has helped explain what the death of Flash will mean to you. If you have a favorite website that you frequent that still uses Flash, you should enjoy it now before Adobe breaks the Internet.