In the coming months, depending on what browser you use and how it’s configured. The adobe Flash phase-out could be anything between no biggie and a serious problem. Some games will stop working. Schools and businesses that rely on Flash-based instruction modules will have to move into the future.
Some websites, especially old ones that are no longer updated, might stop working. But after a two-decade run, Adobe is killing it off.
Flash has been a website workhorse online gaming site Kongregate has more than 100,000 Flash games. It’s more appropriate to rejoice, since the software today is a security risk and major source of browser crashes.
Indeed, Adobe’s move is momentous enough that the biggest names in web tech — Apple, Google, Facebook, Mozilla and Microsoft — coordinated announcements to tell us what’s going on and to reassure us all that it’s going to be fine.
Countdown to 2020
In three and a half years, Adobe will stop developing and distributing Flash, said Govind Balakrishnan, vice president of product development for Adobe’s Creative Cloud Ecosystem. Browser makers have been pushing hard to eject Flash, but Adobe couldn’t move any faster because web standards weren’t mature enough and Flash developers in education, gaming, streaming video and other industries need time to retool and rewrite their software, Balakrishnan said.
Flash exploded into popularity shortly after Microsoft’s Internet Explorer won the early browser wars of the 1990s. IE the default browser in the world’s most widely used operating system. But Microsoft left the software mostly dormant. Filling the void, Flash creator Macromedia, acquired by Adobe in 2006.
Flash brought animation technology that was good for games, interactivity that let people build features like photo galleries, the ability to use webcams for video chat and multimedia features that wiped out an earlier confusing array of options. People installed Flash in their browsers, programmers didn’t need to worry about differences between IE, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and other browsers, and lots of advanced web features just worked.
But Flash came at a cost. The fact that it could run full-fledged programs exposed browsers to a large number of security vulnerabilities. It was responsible for a sizable percentage of browser crashes, too. It used battery power that became precious as we moved from plugged-in desktop computers to laptops and then phones.