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article imageAdobe Flash to be laid to rest in 2020

By James Walker     Jul 26, 2017 in Technology
Adobe has announced it's to end support for its outdated and insecure Flash Player browser plugin by 2020. The long-anticipated decision will force websites and apps that still rely on Flash to transition to new modern standards based on open technology.
Flash's demise has been caused by its increasing irrelevance to the modern Internet. Once the go-to technology for building interactive websites, Flash is now shunned by most web developers and many users.
Adobe isn't oblivious to the problems with Flash. For several years, it has assisted the web browser makers in pushing developers towards other technologies. Use of Flash is already actively discouraged by all the major web browsers. In most cases, you're prompted to manually enable Flash each time you visit a page that uses it.
This week, Adobe announced the next stage in Flash's slow decline. The technology will be finally discontinued at the end of 2020, marking the death of a technology that was instrumental to the success of the early web.
Beyond 2020, Flash Player will stop being updated and distributed. All the major web browser manufacturers have already announced plans to gradually phase out Flash support over the coming years.
Adobe said it will be offering assistance to content creators and developers who still use Flash. Although the technology is fading away, it retains a significant presence on some online gaming sites and streaming services. Adobe will try to support businesses that are reliant on Flash as they move to modern alternatives.
The free Flash Player plugin allowed websites to host animations, videos and games at a time when there was no open standard for online multimedia. Flash's basis as a proprietary plugin technology allowed apps written with it to run on any compatible device, making it an attractive option to developers at the time.
Flash has never been without problems though. It's slower than native web technologies, less power efficient, insecure and increasingly incompatible with the open nature of the modern web. HTML5, the language used by browsers to display content natively, now lets developers create the same interactive content types Flash previously enabled.
"Open standards like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly have matured over the past several years," Adobe explained. "Most now provide many of the capabilities and functionalities that plugins pioneered and have become a viable alternative for content on the web. Given this progress, and in collaboration with several of our technology partners, Adobe is planning to end-of-life Flash."
Adobe said it doesn't expect the decision to have an impact on its success as a company. It stressed its commitment to helping to develop future web technologies by contributing to open standards such as HTML5. The company said it now wants to "provide the best tools and services" that help developers to create "amazing" open content for the web.
More about Adobe, Adobe Flash, flash player, Html5, Web
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