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article imageAdobe's Flash expected to be dead and gone by 2018

By James Walker     Jan 27, 2016 in Technology
Adobe Flash, the once popular technology used to create a plethora of interactive videos, games and animations for websites, is expected to be gone entirely within the next two years. The insecure and outdated Flash has been dying a slow death.
Flash has been almost entirely superseded by newer, faster and safer technologies. Many of the features that Flash used to be famed for can now be built entirely within the browser via HTML5, the latest version of the language used to build webpages.
The benefits of moving away from Flash haven't gone unnoticed by web developers. As The Verge writes, a report from today found that Flash's usage online declined by 15 percent during 2015.
In 2014, the technology was used to power 21 percent of all the mobile and web video present online. In 2015, that decreased to just six percent, leaving a big gap filled by new open-source standards developed to replace Adobe's proprietary and insecure Flash video format.
Adobe Flash has gained a reputation for harbouring critical zero-day exploits and vulnerabilities that could give hackers complete control of devices. One such major issue was reported last October.
A flaw in all versions of Flash let hackers target users and then take control of their computer, regardless of the operating system it ran. Although Adobe was quick to patch the culprit, the vulnerability was by no means an isolated incident. To add insult to injury, it was discovered the day after Adobe released its monthly security update rollup.
Several technologies are stepping up to the mark to replace Flash online. New video streaming protocols H.265 and WebM will drive Flash out of the video market while the increasing power of JavaScript has already made it largely redundant in the games industry.
According to, H.264, the 13-year-old predecessor to H.265, remains the most widely-used video codec online, holding a 72 percent share of the market. Its successor, H.265, currently has only 6 percent but is likely to become much more popular very soon. It supports 4K streaming and is already used by services including Netflix.
Rival WebM has its own set of advantages, including the ability to use it without paying for royalties. WebM is currently ahead of H.265 with 12 percent market share and wide support from browsers. Both H.265 and WebM are far more accomplished codecs than Flash ever was, capable of saving bandwidth and optimising video to suit the connection they're being used on.
Flash is now very close to the end of its life. Major browser Google Chrome now disables Flash content by default and even Adobe has distanced itself from the plugin, renaming the software used to create Flash content to "Animate." predicts Flash will finally decline to an inconsequential share of the market by 2018. As developers upgrade existing apps and services they are almost certain to abandon the old format. The majority of modern websites have already done so, improving performance, saving power and keeping users better protected against the dangers present online.
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