Adobe Flash, released in 1996 brought with it animations, games and of course ads to a mostly static web. The technology was greeted with almost universal praise and adoption by developers and web surfers alike. Nowadays the software tool has a less favoured reputation; it’s unable to run on most mobile devices, consumes high amounts of devices’ processing power and battery life – and then of course there are the many security issues around Flash.
The adoption of Flash has decreased throughout the years but its most noticeable set-back was arguably the unveiling of Apple’s iPhone, bringing with it a new world of mobile internet which left Adobe behind technically, despite their willingness to be included.
Steve Jobs published his Thoughts on Flash on April, 2010 detailing why Apple don’t and won’t allow Flash onto their hugely successful iPhone, iPad and iPod. His main reason being that the mobile era is all about low powered devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where ‘Flash falls short’.
In August 2015 Amazon announced it would no longer be accepting Flash ads on its website. This week Google announced, from the 30th June 2016 it will stop accepting Flash ads on its AdWords and DoubleClick networks and from 2nd January 2017 it won’t display any Flash ads on Display Network or DoubleClick. Google has stated “We’ve rolled out tools to encourage advertisers to use HTML5, so you can reach the widest possible audience across screens.” This move is likely to be the killing blow for Adobe’s Flash platform, with Google being the most prominent web ad provider around.
Adobe itself has come around to support open web standards, now providing its own Flash-alternative, HTML5 tools, for developers to create HTML5 content for both desktop and mobile.
With the almost inevitable demise of Flash in sight and modern, mobile-friendly web standards likes HTML5 ready to take over, appreciation of Adobe’s early efforts in making the web a more animated place should be acknowledged, though few will mourn all the security headaches that came with it.