Although Apple’s late founder Steve Jobs pointed out six intrinsic flaws of Adobe Flash in 2010, the recent decision by Mozilla to block the player in its Firefox browser has sparked renewed interest from tech enthusiasts. While almost no self-proclaimed “techie” would be caught endorsing Flash, due to its tendency to slow down page speed, increase the frequency of crashes, and pose security problems, soon Adobe’s player will no longer be available even to unsuspecting technology novices.
Beginning in 2017, Firefox users will have to specifically click to activate Flash components on web pages, and the blog Tech2 predicts that by 2018 Flash could be phased out altogether. This is based on the Global Media Format Report for 2016, which pointed out how only 6 percent of mobile and web videos of 2015 were Flash based. The report also states that the majority of content currently supported by Flash is composed of edge cases, such as banner ads and legacy browsers.
As was the case with Netflix and YouTube, Flash will be replaced wherever possible by HTML5. However, because of Flash’s former prominence, companies such as Hulu, Pandora and Spotify initially chose Flash over previous versions of HTML and now face mounting software obstacles as the web continues to grow with HTML5. As if these indications were not strong enough, the final nail the coffin may have been when Adobe itself decided to abandon development on Flash Professional and rebrand the product as Adobe Animate in February of this year.
In the 2015 announcement, Adobe stated that the rebrand was meant to reflect the software’s “position as the premier animation tool for the web and beyond” having been “completely rewritten over the past few years to incorporate native HTML5 Canvas and WebGL support.” As the statement makes clear, it is misleading to assume that Flash and HTML5 are wholly incompatible, in fact “over a third of all content created in Flash Professional today uses HTML5… [and it has] been recognized as an HTML5 ad solution that complies with the latest Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) standards.”
Overall, it would seem that HTML5 is likely going to become ubiquitous, edging out the last strongholds of Flash and encroaching on the domain of the recently unveiled Adobe Animate, at least when it comes to web content and development. Adobe Animate integrates CreativeSync and Typekit, and is still an effective tool for drawing, illustration and authoring.