Adobe has finally announced that it will be retiring its Flash plug in at the end of 2020.
The company announced in a blog post on Tuesday that the company will no longer update or distribute any further Flash related content by the time 2021 rolls around.
Until then, however, Adobe claims that it’s “fully committed” to continue working with partners like Google, Microsoft, and Apple to ensure that Flash will continue to be compatible with content and also plug security holes when they become aware of them. Businesses that use Flash are however being encouraged to migrate to other solutions and platforms well ahead of 2020. Any security issues or vulnerabilities discovered after 2020 will not be fixed, and that could lead to security issues.
The long and winding road
Adobe Flash Player has been a synonymous and constant feature on desktop PCs since 1996. On of the great advantages of Flash is the fact that it was only ever released as freeware. Any ordinary user could download and install Flash and the Flash player for free. This helped make the software a pivotal element back-in-the-day by enabling early websites to use video and run on-line games.
As technology and the Web advanced and expanded, Adobe Flash evolved into ‘dynamic multimedia content,’ which turned into quite the overused buzz word/phrase back in the early 2000’s. (Everything had to be ‘dynamic,’ and the word ‘multimedia’ was used in job advertising and career fairs and IT101 classrooms whenever and wherever it could. Everywhere (Probably in the same way that SEO is banded about by business consultants who have no real idea what it means today.))
But Flash actually allowed websites to use dynamic multimedia content in their browsers. Additionally, it also allowed websites to carry use ‘rich internet applications,’ which made and continue to make a hug difference to the way we all see websites.
However, perhaps inevitably, Adobe Flash has begun to creak with age. The base technology behind it is now over 25 years old, which is practically geological in internet terms.
That said, Flash has stood the test of time, and despite its naysayers, it has served its purpose for far longer perhaps than it was ever intended. But with the advent of newer technologies such as HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly, the playing field and the game has changed. Adobe have admitted for quite some time that Flash is pretty much yesterday’s news. Practically all the major web browsers have either moved away from Flash, or are in the process of moving away from Flash.
Earlier this year, for example, Google began disabling Flash in its Chrome browser so that now, web-pages still using Flash have to prompt users to allow it to run on a site-by-site basis. The new version of Safari in macOS 10 literally has Flash turned off by default, even Microsoft announced toward the end of last year, that it would be doing something similar. Mozilla began blocking all its Flash content, last August.