The end of the nightmare. Farewell to Adobe Flash | KISS digital

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The end of the nightmare. Farewell to Adobe Flash

We say goodbye to Adobe Flash

Flash is definitely going out of date. Adobe will stop supporting this technology from December 31st. Flash files will also be blocked by web browsers. Websites, companies and institutions that have not managed to replace this standard with newer solutions may face problems.

“Do you want to allow Adobe Flash to run on this site?” – you will not see this notice anymore. At the end of 2020, Adobe refuses to support their software which has enjoyed a terrible reputation over the past few years. "Evil" and "nightmare" are some of the most popular terms used to describe this technology. Most Internet users associate Flash with invasive ads and long page loading time. For those who had good experience with Flash it probably brings to mind online games and movies.

Because Flash wasn't (I guess we can talk about it in the past tense) a pure evil. It was quite good for presenting multimedia content and dynamic charts. Flash was used extensively in digital entertainment, but also in various Internet courses. Unfortunately, it was also overused in creating advertisements and websites where it gave pathetic results and caused a variety of nuisances.

The main disadvantages of Flash technology

The list of shortcomings of this technology is long. The most important of them concern:

Brief Adobe Flash history

Flash has quite a long history. The first version of the program, created by FutureWave Software, appeared in 1996 under the name FutureSplash Animator. After a few months, FWS was taken over by Macromedia and the program itself gained a new name: Macromedia Flash. In the following years, a few more software versions were released under this brand. In 2005, Macromedia was taken over by the Adobe concern, which in 2007 changed the name of its flagship product to Adobe Flash. From the beginning, the technology was designed to create animations based on vector graphics. The dedicated format was .swf. Files with this extension were usually referred to as Flash files and Adobe Flash Player or a separate program was required to use them.

Until ten years ago, the Adobe tool was seen as a technology with potential (although it was already criticized for security gaps and limited stability). Flash brought a new multimedia quality to the Internet, which made a striking impression compared to the rudimentary HTML. At the same time, developing pages with the Adobe tool was relatively expensive and time-consuming, it required working from scratch, and in addition, the fruits of the development were not available to everyone – some browsers had problems with the technology. However, Flash allowed to create nice pictures and attractive animations, which made it popular for the next few years.

New era, new standards: HTML5, WebGL, WASM

Nowadays, the advantages of Flash have faded strongly. The functions of this software are successfully performed by HTML5, which has no disadvantages of its "predecessor". The last generation of the markup language is an open standard, which is distinguished by its lightness, functionality and robustness. It is not only safe, but also fully supported by all browsers and constantly developed. In addition to HTML5, there are currently a number of other technologies that replace and extend the capabilities of Flash, such as WebGL, a JavaScript extension that provides developers with a 3D graphics interface, or WebAssembly (WASM), a standard that provides programming tools for creating rich and powerful web applications.

Adobe extinguishes Flash

The information about the Flash termination was published in 2017. Adobe gave the site and animation developers three years to break away from this technology and replace it with alternative solutions. Six months before the planned expiry date, the company launched an information page on EOL (End-of-life), the last phase of the Flash product's life cycle. The company informed that from 31 December 2020 it is discontinuing technical support for its software. The company will not release updates or security patches. However, it will remind users of the necessity to uninstall Flash Player. Moreover, from 12 January 2021 Adobe will block all content created with Flash Player. Also, all large web browsers will block Flash Player from 31 December 2020.

How ZUS (Polish Social Insurance Institution) survived the Flash EOL. Barely

During the three years since the first communication on the Flash death, companies have had plenty of time to move their resources from Flash to HTML5 or javascript solutions. However, not all of them stood up to the task. At the end of November, informed that Flash is still used by ZUS. In July, the institution assured on Twitter, in response to a question from a concerned petitioner, that it "is gradually phasing out the existing Flash forms from the website". The institution managed to remove Flash from its website before deadline. Way to go, ZUS!

Enterprises that missed the changes can have a problem

Many other organizations that have overlooked the "historical" change may be in trouble. Flash EOL means difficulties for many applications and websites using this technology. According to W3Techs data, currently only 2.6% of the 10 million most popular websites in the world use Flash (compared to 28.5% in 2011), but SWF files are also used in various internal resources of many companies, such as onboarding or upskilling courses.

If you need urgent help in adapting your application or website to new technological standards – contact us !

Przemysław Ćwik

Senior Editor.