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.