After 20 years of abuse, Flash is dead

As from next week, Adobe’s ‘Flash’ web technology will be officially consigned to the graveyard. If you have a web browser with the ability to view Flash objects, you’ve probably already had messages pop up suggesting that you uninstall the related plug-in. It’s now important that to ensure there’s no legacy Flash material on any of your websites – although this was probably done years ago.

Flash was once a dominant technology for displaying interactive web pages and online games, and to play video and audio content. Even YouTube originally used Flash Player to display video content. It was developed during the 1990s, but as early as 2000, influential web expert Jakob Nielsen was writing articles such as Flash: 99% Bad, saying that the technology “makes bad design more likely, it breaks with the Web’s fundamental interaction style, and it consumes resources that would be better spent enhancing a site’s core value.”

But it allowed websites to do cool things, and it wouldn’t go away. Ten years later, in 2010, Steve Jobs took the decision “not to allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads”, writing: “Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.”

Now, in 2021, Flash has finally been pronounced dead. It had a good innings. Not only is support being ended, but Adobe says: “to help secure users’ systems, (the company) will block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning 12 January 2021.”

As I mentioned, it’s unlikely that you have content which requires it any longer, but this tool can provide a quick check.