July 25, 2017

Ring the Bell for Another Format as Adobe Bids Farewell to Flash

Adobe Flash
All support and updates for Flash will end in 2020.

Today, Adobe announced that it will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020. The company encouraged content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to open formats such as HTML5, but it committed to continuing compatibility and security updates until this date.  

The long road to the demise of Flash began in 2010, when Apple announced that the iPhone would no longer support it. Many have justifiably complained for years about it being, among other things, too resource-intensive and a security threat to users. Today's news is not a surprise, but rather an acknowledgment that the format has become obsolete and a notice for content creators to deal with the massive amount of legacy Flash content.

A Little History

Flash came into existence in the mid-1990's as a 2D animation application. The Flash player was created to play content created in Flash, but in time also became the dominant video player, outlasting early competitors like RealPlayer. It maintained that dominance for many years, accounting for the massive amount of legacy content of many types out there.  Flash is indelibly entwined with the history of the internet, including its use in creating content by pioneering viral video creators like Camp Chaos as well as annoyances like Flash ads.

Sites like YouTube dumped Flash Player for HTML5 a couple years ago and Adobe killed Flash Player for mobile in late 2011. Most independent content creators stopped creating Flash video for sites like Vimeo or YouTube years ago. However, there is still a lot of Flash content out there, including on major sites like CBS, that still require the Flash Player. Needless to say, if you are still creating in Flash, it's long past time to move on, and today's announcement should have you holding on no longer.      

Your Comment


No mention of Steve Job's historic open letter to the tech industry denouncing flash and all of it's short coming way back in 2010. Citing it will never be supported by Apple products again. One year later Adobe pulls Flash from mobile devices. https://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/
Last paragraph of his letter is all yo need to read. :P

I believe the entire tech industry criticized him at the time? I do remember it being a every news site story for quite awhile.

July 25, 2017 at 11:02PM, Edited July 25, 11:05PM

Timothy Cook
Self employed storyteller.

Tim Cook (heh, couldn't resist, sorry) - the letter from Apple was indeed *heavily* criticized in the tech community and there's a huge disconnect between the actual technology issues and the marketing issues.

The real story is that Apple couldn't take their bite out of games and apps that run in the browser, and at the time anything interesting was all flash. By banning it from their devices they forced developers to build native apps, thereby ensuring their 30% cut of all sales. It was shrewd business, nothing else.

(outside of the scope here - but suffice to say that, at the very least, Jobs' points had more holes than swiss cheese and all apply equally to HTML5 as well which at that time was due to be finalized sometime *after* 2020. Except the point about security, which has truly been an issue but also something that could have been fixed if enough heavyweights had skin in the game- e.g. Apple+Adobe cooperation).

The major shift that had to happen for flash to succeed on mobile, was to shift all of the graphics pipeline to be gpu instead of cpu based. They technically succeeded by allowing both and pushing the Starling framework around 2011. From that point onward, Jobs' points (other than security) were complete and utter BS.

Why am I pointing all that out? It's happened again. The flash player on the web was killed for political reasons - browsers started banning it and so there's no point for Adobe to keep developing it. How do we know this? Because they are still building flash technology rigorously[*] - it's simply that they're only allowing native app exports via AIR. That's the only shift that happened.

But, because Adobe Flash sucks at PR, nobody gets this difference, and so everyone thinks flash died - even as a dev environment, even though it's probably the best cross-platform 2d dev system out there (even better than Unity, for certain things).

Now why am I writing all this out on a nofilmschool forum? That's a whole other subject - but basically I see VR and immersive storytelling as an unexplored frontier and I think interactivity will play an important part in that (along with traditional cinema techniques)

[*] https://forums.adobe.com/thread/2362234

July 26, 2017 at 4:52AM, Edited July 26, 4:52AM


As long as Salad Fingers is available in another format, that's fine by me

July 26, 2017 at 7:47AM

Liam Martin
DP, editor, part time director

It's unfortunate that Adobe is seriously lagging on implementing much of the functionality in the HTML5 version of Story, that was present in the Classic/Flash version.

July 26, 2017 at 2:02PM

Travis Calvert

Many have justifiably complained for years http://allformtemplates.wikidot.com/blog:1 about it being, among other things, too resource-intensive and a security threat to users.

August 4, 2017 at 4:22AM