Flash End-of-Life: What does this mean for you?

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March 26, 2019

The time for Flash is almost up

The end of life for Adobe Flash is approaching rapidly. The end-date for Flash is scheduled for the end of 2020. Soon Adobe flash will be a thing of the past and will bring the end of some insecure interactive content on the web.

With this, we no longer have the need to call upon third party software, all work can be done by simply switching to HTML 5 and by the end of 2020, Adobe Flash will not be update-able nor downloadable.

Adobe said in a statement, "Over time, we've seen helper apps evolve to become plugins, and more recently, have seen many of these plugin capabilities get incorporated into open web standards. Today, most browser vendors are integrating capabilities once provided by plugins directly into browsers and deprecating plugins."

In the beginning of YouTube, Flash was the standard format of viewing video. Back then, users who wanted to watch clips as a stream in their web browser were forced to install the Flash plugin, as well as having to install regular updates for this software. This changed in 2010 when the developers of YouTube decided to offer videos in HTML5 format instead. Since 2015, all YouTube content can be streamed via HTML5 without a Flash plugin. Today, their Flash content has been replaced by HTML 5.

Browsers like Chrome, are already blocking Flash Player. Business's that are still using Flash are running out of time. All business that haven’t already yet migrated to HTML5 need to do so.

Why flash is obsolete:

Adobe first released Flash Player in 1996. Considering the age of the software and all the new innovations, it seems pretty fool-hardy to continue with development of the software.

Cyber security is an area that needs to be carefully considered. Apple chose not to allow flash to be downloaded onto its devices way back in 2010. As a spokes person from apple back in 2009 said "We don't want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash". Companies trying to manage a third party while putting out their own products can be challenging.

Up till 2010, the Adobe Flash Player was installed on almost all internet-capable computers and was widely used by most software companies. All this did was make Flash a massive target for malware developers.

The security of Flash has by no means improved over time, rather, Adobe Flash has been left behind while new software standards have improved, like HTML 5.

What does this mean for your business:

Flash end of life is scheduled for the end of 2020, which means Adobe Flash will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player software. Any content that is developed in Flash will not work after the end date. To many in the tech industry, Flash has been considered a resource hog and security threat.

Not only are there issues with using 3rd party software, but it keeps your company out of date with other tech enterprises, which are using HTML 5. People who wish to view your product may be put off by having to download 3rd party software to
view your content.

Google Chrome will be disabling Adobe Flash player by default from mid 2019. While you will still be able to enable Adobe Flash in settings, Adobe Flash content will only be run on a per site, per session basis. It's a pain going through settings to enable Flash, and you don't want your clients having to do that to use your product. Changing settings in your browser is a work around and will only work in the short term.

Companies have been upgrading to HTML5 for a while now, as it is the new standard, along with WebGL and WebAssembly. HTML 5 will give better security to all your web applications.

What can your business do about this:

Website operators/developers should convert all Flash-based material to HTML5, as their customers may not be able to continue to receive or be able to play Flash content from your website.

While your business is transitioning from Flash to HTML 5, there are a couple things to keep in mind. Work out your priorities, which content needs to be updated first. Also if something is due to for an uplift or a complete overhaul, that might be a good place to start. You can use a "pilot" approach, this means converting some of your content to HTML 5 and see how your clients react to it. If your business chooses this approach it will be important to allow extra time due to the fact you are collaborating with your clients.

This is also a great time to look at all your businesses content and work out what needs to be changed or redesigned. Using a structured approach to convert all your projects/products may seem like a formidable task, but it will help make this process more streamlined.

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