Adobe has ended development on Flash for mobile phones, meaning the venerable technology of the internet’s yesteryear may finally be on the wane.
Flash, the software made by Adobe, has been a fillip for the Internet for years. In the early days of web browsers, which couldn’t play video or do fancy graphics, Flash appeared as an almost miracle cure. It worked in all browsers, and let designers build graphically rich, sophisticated websites.
It was used by YouTube to play the one billion or so videos viewed on the site a day (the number is now three billion) and there were even web competitions for the funky sites designed in Flash.
Sadly, many websites still employ it very heavily, outside the “funky” designs mentioned. Because a number of video-sharing sites are still heavily dependent on Flash to operate, I suspect you may end up needing to install the memory- and CPU-hog to use a large number of sites, but with the advent of HTML5, those sites — and the designers who work with Flash primarily — will either evolve or die. Now that Youtube offers the ability to switch to HTML5-based video playing, the single biggest and most important video-sharing site on the internet is viewable in systems with modern browsers fresh out of the box, without installing any extra components aside from the HTML5-capable browser of your choice.
This marks the death knell for Flash. And it’s about damn time, if you ask me. It was a necessary bootstrap, pulling the internet into the era of content sharing. Now that the vestigial organ that is Flash has been obviated by newer, better, open technology, the web’s only going to get better from here.