Adobe has announced that it will drop support [both updates and operational/security fixes] for Flash Player sometime in 2020. Already major browser vendors Google, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge have put in place schedules to drop drop support for the Flash player in 2020. Already Google requires users to clear Flash for use everytime an app calls on the Flash player:
What is the implications of this discontinuance of Flash ? It is remarkably broad. Consider some of the current users of Flash player:
- Flash Video Player with FLV format used in 5% to 2% of all video files over the past 5 years, By 2020 Flash Video will not have a Flash player to display such videos. There is also over two dozen full length Flash-based films. There are a number of free and premium video conversion utilities that can transfer FLV to MPG files – see here for a list of 10 free converters like HandBrake and Online UniCoverter.
- Flash Video Games currently number over 4000 games including such popular Flash games as Ricochet Kills 2, Red Remover, Earn to Die, Crush the Castle, Infectonator, Siftheads (All of them) , This is the Only Level. Age of War etc. There is now a group working to allow users to run/play there Flash games after they no longer are usable in all the PC and mobile browsers. Here are some more video games. Also FlashPoint, the Flash Games Preservation Project , has accumulated 2TB of games and is looking to establish a safe running environment for post 2020 running of Flash games.
- Flash as part of AIR Runtime. Air provides a single codebase [created with Flash Builder, Apache Flex, Adobe Scout, ActionScript etc] that can be run cross platform in Windows 10, MacOS, iOS mobile and Android mobile, ]. The codebase support a drag and drop UI with a wide range of components and widgets for graphics, smart text blocks and various components.An effective Cross Platform Programming environ has been the Holy Grail in software development from mainframe to the current Cloud-centric Web Development. Witness tools like Delphi, Eclipse and Qt where a single codebase works in all the major operating environs. But Adobe has elected to abandon AIR in the same 2020 time frame as Flash. And Adobe has also jettisoned Shockwave and Director another popular cross-platform Web tool in March of 2019.If you look at a recent list of Air Apps at Adobe you would think that Air is sill viable. Flash itself and its development tools remain steadfastly popular. And recent reviews at G2 Advisory on Adobe Air are consistently positive. And Adobe continues to provide program and security updates to Campaign, Cold Fusion and Flask like this June 2019 batch. However, a look at HongKiat 2018 review of the 60 “must have”Air apps tells a different story – less than a third of the 60 are available. And as for the 10 most popular Air apps, none could be found. Here is a more realistics review of the situation with AIR:
So Adobe has made an official End of Commitment statement about AIR on May 30th 2019. As of June 2019 Adobe has relinquished ongoing platform support and feature development of AIR to Samsung’s HARMAN division. Adobe puts a positive spin on the takeover of AIR by Harman – “HARMAN, is a key partner for Flash runtime migration and enterprise support as companies transition their existing ActionScript and Flex applications to new technologies. HARMAN has also been supporting customers with bespoke versions of Adobe AIR for the past decade.” However, June 2019 statements from HARMAN are notably less encouraging- currently support is only in place for the Android version of AIR, Linux support is to be decided, but only desktop OS support is planned , and there will be charges for ongoing AIR support to developers. Clearly Adobe has found a flak catcher for its abandonment of AIR.
- Flash as the essential ingredient in Animate CC. Given that Flash Player will be defunct in 2020 and AIR considerably diminished in capabilities at the same time, why does Adobe currently market Animate CC with so much Flash on Board.?Animate CC costs $21/month and is currently still advertising as seen above its Flash 2D connections when 2/3rds of Animate CC output is Flash based. Clearly, Adobe’s Animation position is in a high state of flux as Ecmascript controls Actionscript 3, Apache controls Flash Builder/Flex plus the new Apache Royale incarnation, and HARMAN controls the AIR runtime system. In effect Adobe has surrendered all control of the Flash development engine and runtime works for SWF and AIR based animations. Yet it still claims a major role for Flash in its Animate CC offering. No wonder it is impossible to figure out what you are buying when you invest in Animate CC. Even the Adobe Animate CC home page is unclear at what you are getting. Likewise Animation tutorial shop Bloop reflects the confusion.
Why Terminate Flash ?
The pundits are saying that the Flash player and its security are an ongoing security risk and liability for Adobe. But the actual case was that Flash had an improving security record until Spring 2018 and again in Fall of last year. However, when one considers all programming languages, everyone has had bouts of very high security risk. Take for example PHP, it is the 3rd most vulnerable programming language. The list of PHP vulnerabilities [SQL Injection isa persistent risk, XSS (Cross Site Scripting) Curse the black hearts who thrive on this type of deception, Source Code Revelation, Remote File Inclusion, Session Hijacking, Cross Site Request Forgery, Directory Traversal] is ongoing and daunting. So this reviewer would discount securityrisk as a primary cause.
Second, just above we have seen Adobe’s awful record in developing maturing existing popular tools like Flash and Director but also stubbing its toe on new Web Animation tool like Adobe Edge and Adobe Muse. This is truly cautionary. This reviewer is distinctly from Missouri on any new development software from Adobe that claims new creative capabilities in either web animation or web development.
Third, in all sleuthing the best bet is “to follow the money”. Adobe Chief Executive, Shantanu Narayan, made a lot of that last year:
With Director, Shockwave, Flash, Air, Muse, and Edge all “retired” , the need for development and operational staff at Adobe will be reduced. And that means Adobe’s profit margin at 28% [higher than Apple’s vaunted 18%] should improve notably as well as Mr. Narayen’s total compensation.