It's happening. Finally. Adobe Flash Player is headed out the door, according to Microsoft. After December 2020, the multimedia player that enjoyed ubiquity online — and its fair share of love and hate — will be laid to rest. Well, kind of. There's some good news for the hardcore Flash crowd: your player isn't permanently gone. Just radically demoted.
Tech tycoons hated Flash — Back in 2010, Steve Jobs delivered a scathing takedown of Adobe Flash as he announced its removal from the iPhone at the time. The most glaring flaw of Flash was the wall it put up between software and developer. At the time, Jobs said that "letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform."
Jobs also criticized the technology to be a depletion of resources and the exhausting opposite of user-friendly. At that time, Flash's main proponents and supporters like Adobe itself didn't see eye to eye with Jobs. It took a decade to finally concede that the internet will be smoother, faster, and arguably more secure without Flash embedded in websites. In 2017, the company said that it would look into abandoning updates for the player and pointed at 2020 being the official last year for Flash Player.
Adobe knew this would happen — Repeated complaints against Flash's security issues were so alarming that many security experts would strongly encourage internet users to remove Flash from their systems, noting that it could be easily exploited. Painful as it may be being its loudest fan in the room, Adobe has been aware of its growing obsolescence. Per Wired, consider this Adobe quote reluctantly admitting the presence of other open standards:
As open standards like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly have matured over the past several years, most now provide many of the capabilities and functionalities that plugins pioneered and have become a viable alternative for content on the web.
So, if you're wondering about the future of the internet and just how exactly will the web survive sans Flash, here's what you should know: don't worry. Alternatives like HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly already exist. In fact, many platforms have transitioned to relying on those standards already. But if you really love Flash and can't imagine life without it, Adobe's official partner, HARMAN, can help enterprise users configure support for the player even after 2020.