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Rest in hell, Adobe Flash

Updated 6 years ago
Adobe Flash RIP
Image: Adobe

Adobe is finally sending Flash to the server farm upstate. Major browsers like Chrome, Edge, and Safari all block Adobe Flash already, but the final nail is being driven into the coffin. By 2020, Adobe will fully end all support for Flash. ““We will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats,” Adobe said in a blog post.

It’s the end of the line for a plugin that was once the key to any media content on the internet. When the iPad first launched as a “content consumption” device, the lack of support for Adobe Flash was a massive sticking point for the new tablet.

Nearly 10 years later, it seems that Steve Jobs has been vindicated. Flash has been surpassed as a format by new native standards like HTML5, which are baked into nearly anything that can access the internet. HTML5 (and a plethora of other standards) offer better battery life and vastly improved security compared to Flash, which has long been a weak spot for hackers.

Adobe has really been left with no choice but to discontinue Flash. It might seem obvious that Flash needs to die by now, but it’s only the hard work of every major browser developer that’s led us to this point. Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Mozilla have all announced plans to phase out Flash by 2020 anyway, and they’re already well on the way.

Chrome, Edge, and Safari all have some kind of limitation on Flash support already, and you’re generally required to opt-in for each individual webpage to actually make Flash work.

The three-year timeline to put the bullet in Flash’s head might seem like a long wait, but it’s necessary, thanks to the reach that Flash once had. Legacy software used by schools, businesses, and even some hospitals still runs on Flash; security nightmare or not, it will realistically take years for developers to switch platforms, and users would rightly be angry if their websites stopped working overnight.