Arin Adamson
By Arin Adamson | Web Dev | October 29, 2014

Is Flash Ever Going To Die?

Death of Adobe FlashSince Flash’s big debut in 1996, it has been used to provide a multimedia element to web users across the world. However, as we progress further into the evolution of the internet, more development tools have become available as an alternative to Flash. HTML5 and jQuery are two programming languages that are now in use as an alternative to Flash.

“Why would someone not use Flash?”

Flash multimedia applications are created in Adobe Flash software. They are then uploaded to a server and embedded into a webpage for use by that site’s visitors. Each visitor must be using a browser that supports the Adobe Flash Player. A majority of today’s browsers automatically include this support, which has not always been the case. However if your browser did not automatically come with Flash Player support, you can always download the Flash Player from Adobe’s website. Mobile browsers however, do not support flash applications. Adobe made the decision to stop supporting Flash Player for mobile device browsers. This has been a major problem for Adobe Flash fans as an exponentially growing amount of internet users go mobile. With the demand for websites to have mobile accessibility, more developers began to look for alternatives to Flash for mobile device compatibility without losing out on their website’s multimedia functionality.

There are other reason why a developer chooses to use an alternative to Flash. One is the file size of a Flash program: Flash applications typically take a long time to load because of file size. In situations where a simple animation is needed to compliment the design, Flash files simply take too long to load. Other reasons to avoid Flash could a Flash Player plug-in user requirement or the cost of the software. With free and fast-loading alternatives like HTML5 and JQuery, Flash is no longer the king of the web animation sector.

HTML5 is the new standard for hypertext markup and has provided a new tag called canvas (<canvas>). With this new tag, you can use JavaScript to draw animated graphics with-in the canvas area. If you are not a web developer, understand that writing code for complex animations can be a long, difficult process. Writing the code and testing animations is just too time consuming to be feasible for most development companies. That’s where a graphical user interface (GUI) comes in handy. Adobe Flash provides an interface to draw, program and test multi-media – Wait, I thought Flash was dead?! Absolutely not! Adobe Flash’s software now compiles flash-created applications as HTML5 canvas applications. The great thing about the new compilation option is that you can reap the benefits of HTML5 canvas applications, while also reaping the benefits of an advanced GUI.

The other alternative is called jQuery. JQuery was released in 2006 and quickly became one of the leading languages for animating interactive web elements. Today the jQuery library is loaded by the majority of the websites on the internet. JQuery can handle basic animations and interactive content without the long Flash loading times and big file sizes. JQuery is also a free open source programming language (so you won’t have to deal with the cost of Adobe software). Today, there are various frameworks that can be downloaded and configured for your specific dynamic content needs. Also, mobile browsers support jQuery. Combine all of those features and you’ll see why jQuery is the number one reason people believe Flash is dead. Is it really dead though?

Adobe is known for innovative software that’s highly in demand by web designers around the world. Do you really think they would just let one of their major pieces of software die out? If you did, you were mistaken. Adobe recently released their new Flash Professional CC, which comes equipped with an HTML5 canvas compiler and mobile app designer. Not only did they update their software to be useful for modern technologies, but they reduced the price. As long as Adobe keeps adapting their software to the current times, Flash will never die. The Flash Player on the other hand will eventually be phased out of the web.

The Flash Player, a plug-in that allows browsers to play Flash applications, may one day no longer be required. As more and more websites gravitate toward HTML5’s canvas and JQuery for their animation, Flash will disappear from websites. Today, the only reason to use a Flash application is to keep video data encrypted and create in-depth 3D animations. Any other use would cause your website to not be up-to-par with modern website standards. HTML5’s canvas is still in it’s early phase and already has taken over many of the needs for Flash. Eventually, HTML5 will take over the web and the Flash Player will surely be missed.

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