Here Today, Gone in a FlashTali ScheerBlockedUnblockFollowFollowingApr 22- The Rise and Fall of Adobe Flash -Once a dominant platform for online animation and multimedia content, Adobe Flash has since seen its day in the sun.
Officially deprecated in 2017, Flash has a quickly approaching end-of-life scheduled for the end of 2020.
The three-year period was designed to provide time for content platforms and creators to migrate existing Flash content to newer platforms, such as HTML5.
History and RiseAdobe Flash was a platform developed by Adobe Systems with the focus of creating rich internet content.
It combined images, graphics, animation, video and sound in order to provide users with a better web experience.
It was even able to capture mouse, keyboard, microphone and camera input.
Flash revolutionized the internet.
Once a static and dry place, with boring websites and a few gif’s here there, it transformed the web into an interactive and dynamic experience.
At one point, it seemed almost impossible to browse the internet without landing on a page that would require you to install or update your Flash Player plug-in.
Adobe Flash’s history can be traced back to the mid 90’s to a product called SmartSketch, a vector drawing application, published by FutureWave Software.
SmartSketch was soon transformed into FutureSplash to include frame-by-frame animation.
In 1995, FutureWave actually approached Adobe in an attempt to sell them their software, but Adobe turned them down.
In 1996, FutureWave sold their technology to Macromedia which soon rebranded it to FutureSplash Animator as Macromedia Flash 1.
This matured over time to include video and other graphical animation.
In 2005 Macromedia was acquired by Adobe Systems, and from here Adobe transformed Flash into the ubiquitous platform and plugin that we all came to know.
The Adobe Flash platform was comprised of several different technologies, including Flash Professional, Flash Builder Flex, Adobe Integrated Runtime, and Flash Player — the browser plug-in that provided the runtime environment for Flash, and which we are all likely most familiar with.
By the early 2000s, Flash had become a common addition to desktop computers, and was used across the internet by industry leaders such as YouTube — which initially built its entire platform on Flash — Nike, HP, HBO and more.
However, Flash was not adored by all.
A Bumpy RideA quick Google search will reveal a plethora of results with titles such as, “You Really Shouldn’t Be Running Adobe Flash Player Anymore,” and “Keep your computer safe from the next Adobe Flash bug.
”As the use of Flash increased across the internet, so too did its vulnerabilities.
Flash was installed on nearly every computer and in almost every browser and quickly became an easy target for hackers.
Part of the problem stemmed from the fact that Flash Player ran as a browser plugin rather than a native software platform, and plugins tend to be more susceptible to hacking.
Adobe began seeing attack after attack ranging from plugin vulnerabilities to update scams.
Hacked websites would direct users to a screen which appeared to prompt the download of a new version of Adobe Flash, but was in fact malware, granting hackers access to millions of users’ computers.
Hackers excelled at creating “update” lookalike screens that could fool even an experienced internet user.
Some vulnerabilities even enabled spying via web cams.
Other frustrations with Adobe Flash included its frequent use for annoying ads and banners, its control by Adobe as opposed to being open-source, and its leading to slow page load and display times.
The BattlegroundOver time, experts began recommending against the installation of Flash or blocking the plugin all-together, but the real impact occurred when third-party platforms began limiting its use.
One of the most notable adversaries to Flash was Steve Jobs.
Apple restricted the use of Flash as early as 2007, and ultimately did not adopt the use of Flash on any of their mobile iOs devices, including iPhones, iPads and iPods.
This greatly reduced the Flash user base and led to wider use of HTML5, including YouTube’s transition to HTML5 for mobile browsers.
HTML5 can be used to accomplish all the same “advanced graphics, typography, animations and transitions without relying on third party plug-ins.
”In 2010, Steve Jobs even wrote a 1,700 word letter, detailing why he chose to abandon Flash, despite Apple’s historical relationship with Adobe.
He listed six comprehensive reasons as to why Apple chose not to use Flash, including stating that newer and better video options exist, the fact that Flash is riddled with security issues, and the general negative effect that Flash had on load time and battery life.
Below is an excerpt from Jobs’ letter:Symantec recently highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009.
We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash.
We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now.
We don’t want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash.
— Steve JobsSoon to follow were other large companies such as Facebook, which issued a call to Adobe to discontinue the use of Flash in 2015, followed by Mozilla and Chrome which blacklisted older versions of Flash.
DeprecationIn 2015, Adobe began transitioning from Adobe Flash to their newer Adobe Animate software, though not all were impressed…But Adobe ultimately succumbed to the pressure and announced its deprecation of Flash in 2017.
In their open letter announcing the decision, Adobe seemingly glosses over the security issues in Flash’s history, and instead focused on the progress made by other technologies.
…as open standards like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly have matured over the past several years, most now provide many of the capabilities and functionalities that plugins pioneered and have become a viable alternative for content on the web.
Despite its bumpy rise and fall, we cannot deny the role that Adobe Flash played in transforming the internet into the dynamic, exciting place that we know today.
Adobe has, and will certainly continue, to be a leader in online innovation.
SourcesAdobe Blog | Flash & The Future of Interactive ContentThoughts On Flash | Steve JobsForbes | The Death Of Adobe Flash Is Long OverdueDigitaltrends | Adobe Flash Software End NearsWikipedia | Adobe FlashOriginally published at http://thatgalcodes.
com on April 22, 2019.
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