Adobe Abandons Flash

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.

In general Adobe’s position in Animation and Web Responsive Development is in complete  disarray. As we have seen Adobe Director and  Shockwave web animation tools after a more than a decade of use  by loyal clients has been abandoned. Ditto for  one of the most popular animations tools in the Flash collection – Adobe Flash Player, Adobe AIR, Adobe Flash Builder  and Adobe Flash Scout debug tool. are all either discontinued or passed on to 3rd party “care”. Likewise Adobe Edge Animate,  a web development tool that uses HTML5JavaScript, and CSS3  for animations and web apps was terminated in 2015. Adobe Museanother web with animation tool written in  Flash and Flex but emitting HTML runtime code,  saw its last update in March 2018 and will lose all tech support in 2020. Given this history, it should not be a surprise that a major Adobe  consultancy, American Graphics Institute,  has seen the hand writing on the wall and is now recommending use of WordPress over Adobe Dreamweaver. But the question lingers – why Terminate such a popular tool as Flash?

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.

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