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Adobe Flash heads for the web graveyard

  • Published on September 5, 2015
Adobe Flash heads for the web graveyard

A few years ago Adobe Flash was the standard method for creating and sharing interactive content on the web. Whether you wanted to create an online advertisement, build an e-learning project, or develop a game, the go-to choice was to use Adobe Flash. With more than 90% of all computers including the Flash web browser plug-in, it appeared that Flash was a long-term winner for Adobe Systems. The company tried to build a web conferencing system, Adobe Connect, around the Flash platform, along with a media server business to enhance the streaming of Flash video content.

Because graphics, animation, and video could easily be included in an Adobe Flash project, it also became a favorite of designers. The easy and powerful scripting language of Action Script which controlled interactivity also became popular with many front-end web developers. Adobe Flash and Action Script were among the most popular Adobe classes offered for learning creative tools, and training books on Flash were equally popular as designers rushed to learn ways to create interactive content online.

Yet Adobe Flash never was popular among an influential group within the web hardware and software community, and this has become its downfall. Those creating mobile devices such as smart phones and web browsers have long complained about Flash. Five years ago Steve Jobs of Apple railed against Adobe Flash, complaining it used too many resources, slowing the iPhone and iPad, and posed security risks. Apple decided to not include support for Flash on any iOS devices. This week Google belatedly showed support for Steve Jobs ideas and announced that the Chrome browser will no longer show Flash ads so that web pages will load more quickly and batteries will last longer. Within the past few months Chrome had temporarily stopped displaying Flash ads due to security concerns as well.

In a sign of how quickly the web can change, HTML5 has become the new standard for creating and sharing interactivity. While some visual tools exist for creating interactive content, many users are choosing to learn HTML5 and CSS3 coding so as to control all aspects of interactivity that would have previously relied on Adobe Flash.

About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics training along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.