Adobe Flash Finally Meets its End-Of-Life Fate

Published November 27, 2020, 9:46 AM

by Robert "Bob" Reyes

I was quietly working last night when I was surprised by this unusual prompt from Adobe Flash Player:

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If you have been using the Web for quite some time (if you’re within the same generation as me), chances are you had surfed to a website that uses Flash (or maybe websites that were built entirely in Flash).

It was in July 2017 when Adobe announced that they will stop distributing and updating Flash Player after 31 December 2020 — the End-of-Life (EOL) date. The death sentence of the multimedia software platform was attributed to the maturity of open standards like HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly — all take pride in being considered as viable alternatives for Flash content.

Brief History of Adobe Flash

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In 1993, FutureWave Software published SmartSketch, a vector drawing application for computers running the PenPoint OS. The software was later ported to Microsoft Windows and Apple’s macOS after the demise of PenPoint.

FutureWave saw the potential for a vector-based animation tool to challenge Macromedia Shockwave technology as the Internet became more popular. The company approached Adobe Systems to sell FutureSplash in 1995, but it did not materialize.

In November 1996, Macromedia acquired FutureSplash and releasing FutureSplash Animator as Macromedia Flash 1.0 composed of the animation editor Macromedia Flash and a player component called the Macromedia Flash Player.

Adobe Systems acquired the entire Macromedia product line in December 2005.

Web 2.0 Sealed the Coffin for Flash

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While Adobe Flash was capable of doing many wonders previously not possible before HTML5, the growing number of security concerns related to the animation authoring technology contributed to the decline of its role in web development. The popularity of JavaScript frameworks among Web 2.0 websites won over resource-hungry Flash-based sites.

Thank you, Flash for being part of our web journey. Web-based game fans will surely miss you.