Flash Down But Not Out (Yet)

With news today that Adobe is discontinuing Flash development for mobile platforms, as well as for consumer devices, we see another step towards the likely demise of Flash overall. I, for one, will be happy to see it go. I am tired of watching it cause my browsers to hang, chewing up CPU and memory for no apparent reason, forcing me to close the browser, stop Flash, and restart it all. I truly dislike web sites that rely on it exclusively, forcing me to use whatever tortured metaphor they have designed for using their sites, and taking options away from me in terms of how to navigate and view links to their site.

But, while dropping mobile and consumer device support has slowed Flash a little, it hasn’t stopped it. Not by a long-shot. There are still many thousands of sites that rely on it for everything from simple video playback to the complete display and interaction with the user. Look at most automotive web sites: many (if not most) continue to use Flash-based interfaces for the vehicle configurators. Plenty of trading and investment web sites rely on Flash for their user interactions. Flash still represents a significant part of the average person’s web experience.

Will Flash go away eventually? I expect it will. I fully expect Adobe’s next step will be to slow and eventually discontinue development of Flash for desktops. That is still a ways off, given how integral it is to many web sites. But a combination of future changes within Adobe, along with increased use of mobile devices for web access, will cause Flash to eventually disappear from the landscape. It won’t be tomorrow, or even next year. But that day is coming.

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