The Death of Adobe Flash

This article was first published in 2013, when emerging HTML 5 and CSS 3 standards were coming into play. Since then the use of Adobe Flash on websites has declined further and last week Adobe changed the name of Flash Professional CC, to Animate CC, adding more features to the program for exporting non-Flash formats.

This is the necessary transition that I discussed three years ago and although it had a good run, 2016 we pronounce the death of Adobe Flash.

 

Original 2013 Article:

Should we still be using Adobe Flash?

In the late nineties I cut my teeth on what was then Macromedia Flash 3. It’s extremely user friendly interface in conjunction its use of vector graphics made it a powerhouse in web development and animation, an accolade it would maintain for many years to come.

In the late nineties I cut my teeth on what was then Macromedia Flash 3. It’s extremely user friendly interface in conjunction its use of vector graphics made it a powerhouse in web development and animation, an accolade it would maintain for many years to come.
Good Old Macromedia Flash 3

Though the web is a rapidly changing beast, the beginning of the end for Flash came as a result of what was essentially a childish feud. The late Apple CEO and well known eccentric Steve Jobs was vexed at Adobe for not developing their creative suite for the iMac. When the ground-breaking iPhone was released the Adobe Flash plugin was not supported, a direction they maintain to this day on all iPhones, iPods and iPads, a demographic that certainly can’t be ignored. But what may have begun as a petty tiff may have well been the push Adobe needed to consider alternatives in the face of a rapidly changing web universe.

 Steve Jobs

Whilst at University I frequently engaged in heated debates about the future of Adobe Flash. The new technologies of CSS3, HTML5 and JQuery were due to explode onto the scene and offer a powerful alternative to Flash but my argument was (and remains) that the aforementioned technologies will never see the same sort of mass adoption as Flash until there is a user friendly application that allows content to be created easily as it can be in Adobe Flash Professional.

Sure enough, in recent times Adobe has created a number of applications that can assist in creating rich web content without the need for Flash. Muse is a program that allows users to create entire websites, without the need for coding knowledge and Edge Animate is a fledgling animation program that shows good potential.

Adobe Edge Animate

Despite these revelations, there is no like for like alternative to adobe Flash, which leads us to the question, should we still be using it?

Well firstly, let’s have a look at the following facts about Flash usage on the web. (Accurate at the time of writing – December 2012)

  • Flash is still used by over 21% of all websites
  • It’s used on major sites such as Google and Facebook
  • Over 70% of browser based games are Flash based
  • 75% of internet videos are Flash based
  • Flash SEO is more difficult but not impossible

Adobe Flash 3D Virtual Tour

So should you still be using Flash? As with most things, there isn’t a clear cut answer to that. There are a number of situations where Flash is still superior but as a rule of thumb, if you can do it without Flash then don’t use Flash.

Flash is a fantastic tool and if you’re talking about those rich interactive web experiences then it is, for the time being, still a weapon of choice and there are several leading agencies who are using it religiously, and rightly so but even the most devout Flash-boy would be a fool to not be (at least) looking into alternatives about now. Sadly for me, Flash looks destined to be a fond memory, and not much more.