This Tuesday, Adobe announced that it would stop updating and distributing Flash Player at the end of 2020. There are plenty of reasons to be happy that it is going away but I can’t help but spend some time reflecting on the past.
There are new standards in place that will carry us into the future and while I am glad to see Flash going away, I can’t help but be a little nostalgic today.
Adobe Flash (back)
I remember when Adobe Flash first came around and how excited I was to learn it. A lot of people were using Flash for simple games on the web but I never really got into game development.
There were digital agencies out there building entire websites in Flash. These were massive undertakings and in some cases almost mini movie like. The big name I remember that was doing this was 2 Advanced Studios. When they came out with a new version of their website it was almost like the release of a new movie.
It was this that inspired me to learn Flash & Actionscript. With my limited Graphic Design skills, I would never quite reach anywhere near this level of website design but it did turn out to come in handy.
For all of us old guys, Flex came on to the scene as a savior from browser inconsistencies. See for all you young whipper snappers out there there was a time where we couldn’t just write web applications. The biggest challenge we faced was making sure that our content displayed the same across multiple browsers & versions.
When Flex came out it was a chance to improve on my Flash & Actionscript skills and use them for good. We could write one application and expect it to work the same across every browser that could install a Flash plugin. I was in love with this and thought it was for sure the future of development.
Who would have known that all these years later we still have a couple Flex apps at work that I take care of?
Adobe Flash Security
While I can be nostalgic I can also be truthful and say that there is an issue with Flash. The single biggest problem with Flash is that it is buggy and a huge security threat. Flash has long been a favorite tool used by hackers to infect computers with Malware.
This is where the title of this article comes full circle. We might be happy to hear this but I can assure you, not everyone is happy.
In 2010, Steve Jobs announced that he wouldn’t allow Adobe Flash on the iPhone. Steve wrote an article about how Flash was too proprietary and too resource-intensive. I remember this being a somewhat controversial topic but looking back on we know that Steve was right, yet again.
While I am a little nostalgic today about Adobe Flash I am happy to see it go. There are Open Standards like HTML5, WebGL & WebAssembly that are going to carry us into the future. Every single year that goes by I get excited about what the web is going to bring us.
Question: Do you have any good memories of Flash or is it just good riddance for you?