Flash – Once the “immortal” of the digital age, is now left behind as the world move on to the new page of mobile Internet.

According to Microsoft’s official news, the latest preview of Windows 10 no longer includes Flash in its control panel, and the Flash Player folder is now empty in the system disk. Adobe, the previous owner of Flash Player, also announced their plan to stop Flash support in late 2020.

Flash will be no more than a name in history as 2020 ends.

Flash – Once the largest ecosystem

Flash was first developed in the early 90s by a software company called FutureWave. The ecosystem was initially named CelAnimator, before becoming FutureSplash Animator for widespread use.

In 1996, Macromedia – the future developer of Three Musketeers, had purchased FutureWave and FutureSplash along with it. Later on, Future and Splash was combined to become the Flash ‘giant’ of the web era. In 2005, after Macromedia was purchased by Adobe, 98% of Internet-connected PCs was installed with Flash.

The earliest Internet connection speed were in mere kilobytes, and so the web supports its own compact vector formats. It was then that SLP’s FutureSplash became one of the most animator software of the time. Around 2000, Flash and the culture surrounding it was experiencing a boom in the Internet world and constant updates by Macromedia.

Alongside animations and gifs, Flash games also played a crucial role in the early internet experience – one notable example being the once-famous “Happy Farm” game that everyone was into. Flash websites were also no exception to the fame, and everything from pop-up ads, web and video players, to online tasks, were supported by Flash.

There is one explanation for all this popularity – the limited speed of the early Internet and some particular benefits of Flash. On one hand, Flash had become the most widely used multimedia format due to its compact vector files and its online playing function.

Flash also had a simple and visually-friendly display that reduced considerably the development benchmark, providing the best development platform for innovations and giving way to the wave of original content on this new Internet.

However, the beginning of the mobile epoch – with mobile operating systems that case doubts and rejection over Flash, had made this once superior ecosystem missed out quite the opportunity. Thus, we moved onto the age of HTML5.

The collapse of the ‘Flash empire’

Flash was once considered the immortal of the digital age, and yet it was left behind in this mobile era. It began with Apple and the first iPhone, who recognized that Flash plug-ins were consuming too much energy and CPU resources.

In mobile devices, battery life and response time are of utmost important. Therefore, Apple chose to eliminate Flash support from the very start.

Finally, Jobs once shared that Flash consumed tremendous amounts of energy and contained one two many security issues, and thus iPhone and iPad will never enable Flash support. This announcement had led to other large websites applying free open software when developing mobile applications.

In 2014, after the HTML5 was officially built for these software, they had quickly gained popularity on both the web and mobile apps, thus becoming a practical alternative for Flash. HTML5 also allowed video and animations.

But Flash’s flaws are not without pros. As Flash utilizes vector graphics – which was much lighter than bitmap graphics, it was much more suitable for the slow Internet. However, vector graphics also mean that Flash can only exist and plug-ins and never the original browser system.

As a browser plug-in, Flash is neither effective nor compact, leading to downtime and slow connection. There were also prevalent security issues in Flash – as it supported too many platforms, used too often, and hold too high of the system authority, once hackers found a vulnerability, they can attack many platforms and users at once.

For Flash is only a plug-in, it can be deactivated by any browser, and held little power. Knowing this, its future is suddenly crystal clear. On one hand, most interactive platforms had changed to H5. On the other hand, Flash had left Apple and later Android in 2012. Years after, the ecosystem also vanished on Firefox, Chrome, Facebook, YouTube, and so on.

Adobe – which had recognized the dwindling fame and revenue of Flash, had recommended its user to give up on the system in 2015. In 2017, they announced their plan to completed stop Flash support in the end of 2020. Flash had now official left the game as Chrome – the leading browser, and Microsoft – the PC giant, also gave up on Flash Player.

With just 2 months left in 2020, we are witnessing the end of Flash. It is clear that those who uses the latest version of Windows 10 will no longer require Flash services.

But perhaps for many, Flash’s demise at the end of 2020 may still deserved an honorary farewell.

Source: ICT

Related posts: