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Has Adobe Finally Admitted The Death Of Flash?

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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Steve Jobs hated it, and now its parent company encourages migration to modern alternative HTML5

Adobe Systems has acknowledged the inevitability of an HTML5 world and is now “encouraging” developers and content creators away from Flash, in order to use newer web standards.

But it seems that Adobe Flash is not completely dead, after the company renamed its animation app Flash Professional CC to Animate CC.

Mixed Signals

Adobe made the announcement in a corporate blog posting entitled “Flash, HTML5 and Open Web Standards.”

“Flash has played a leading role in bringing new capabilities to the web,” Adobe said. “From audio and animation, to interactivity and video, Flash has helped push the web forward.”

But Adobe acknowledged the maturity of open standards like HTML5, which “provide many of the capabilities that Flash ushered in.” It then revealed that it is “evolving” its creative applications to support multiple standards (Flash has always been criticised for being a closed system) and said it is rebranding its Flash Professional CC to Animate CC, which will be “Adobe’s premier web animation tool for developing HTML5 content while continuing to support the creation of Flash content.”

It should be noted that Flash Professional CC already supports the creation of HTML5 content, as well as Flash content.

Adobe said that Adobe Animate CC will be available in early 2016, but in addition it will also release an HTML5 video player for desktop browsers, which will complement Adobe’s support for HTML5 on mobile.

But it seems clear from the posting that Adobe is encouraging web developers and content creators to consider HTML5 going forward.

“While standards like HTML5 will be the web platform of the future across all devices, Flash continues to be used in key categories like web gaming and premium video, where new standards have yet to fully mature,” it said. “Moving forward, Adobe is committed to working with industry partners, as we have with Microsoft and Google, to help ensure the ongoing compatibility and security of Flash content.”

“Looking ahead, we encourage content creators to build with new web standards and will continue to focus on providing the best tools and services for designers and developers to create amazing content for the web,” it said.

Long Slow Death?

Adobe has been struggling with Flash for a number of years now. Initially Flash achieved widespread support as it allowed for multimedia content, animations and games to be integrated into Web pages.

But it has also had its problems, not least of which is the fact that it faces ongoing security issues, and many experts feel it presents an unnecessary security risk when web browsing.

In July, Mozilla blocked Adobe Flash by default in its Firefox browser following the discovery of more zero-day vulnerabilities in the browser plug-in. That block remained in place until Adobe rushed out a patch for the flaw.

Flash enabled pages and players can also be slow to load and often place unwelcome drain on battery life, making it unsuitable for smartphones for example. Indeed, in November 2011, Adobe announced it would stop updating its mobile Flash plug-in and will instead focus its attention on developing HTML5 technologies.

jobsflashApple Bad Blood

Adobe’s Flash was also hated by the late Steve Jobs as well, after the former Apple CEO famously called it a doomed technology.

Indeed, such was Jobs opposition to Flash that he publicly attacked it again in April 2010, which prompted a public spat with Adobe’s CEO, Shantanu Narayen.

The bad blood between Apple and Adobe continued for some time, not helped by an Adobe ad campaign that blasted Apple for its closed approach regarding developer licensing.

In the end however, Adobe does have an issue with Flash, as there continues to be huge amount of Flash content out there, and therefore it has to keep its Flash Player as stable and secure as possible.

For the meantime at least.

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