It’s Too Early to Kill Off Adobe Flash

Kick OutDeveloper Peter Zotov has started a campaign to kill Adobe Flash off sooner rather than later. Some of the reasons he gives include hundreds of security holes, the drain on battery life and the exclusion of Flash from most mobile platforms.

But his chief complaint is that Adobe can’t protect Flash code. His ability to crack protected or obfuscated Flash on the Flash player lends credibility to the argument. He  challenges anyone to supply protected or obfuscated Flash code that he can’t break.

He also points out that you can’t protect HTML5 code (i.e, JavaScript) either, but that’s always been regarded as a strength and a reason why HTML took off so rapidly.

Of course, Adobe hasn’t killed Flash on mobile. Development on the mobile Flash player has been stopped but the company says, “Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores.” On iOS this means generating an Xcode package that can be built and deployed as a native code app.

HTML5 has made leaps and bounds but we’re in a transition period, and it will be at least a couple of years before it’s technically superior to Flash. For now, the Flash video player is still better than its HTML5 equivalents. When it comes to desktop games, Flash still has the edge with over 10 years of refinement. In its 2012 Flash roadmap, Adobe says that, “(looking) forward, Adobe believes that Flash is particularly suited for addressing the gaming and premium video markets.”

The larger issue though isn’t really about Flash vs HTML5, but about mobile vs. desktop. That renders the Flash vs HTML5 argument moot. If no mobile platforms run Flash (and Android from 4.1 on no longer will) then the mobile future has to be either native apps or HTML5.

Still, by closing down Flash on the desktop now, we’d be throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The world just isn’t ready to drop Flash — HTML5 can’t fully replace it right now.

(The job market for Flash developers is still pretty healthy. A search for Flash Developer jobs in Dice returned nearly 700 jobs.)

Peter Zotov’s campaign isn’t really necessary. The more savvy Flash developers will accept the need to grasp the HTML5 nettle soon enough, and once cross-browser support and WebGL have reached an acceptable common denominator on mobile and the desktop it will be business as usual.

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Image: Bigstock

3 Responses to “It’s Too Early to Kill Off Adobe Flash”

  1. Shantal

    Since HTML5 is also not secure, there is no rational basis for this argument. Flash is more secure than HTML5 so I am really not understanding this initiative at all. Many technologies are not secure but are still utilized in our ‘free market system’. Adobe would not be what they are today if it were not for the very successful acquisition of Macromedia products including Flash.

  2. When the IPhone was first released the download speed was at best about 2K and during peak times about 500 baud. I remember waiting more than a minute for the text of my email to load. Yet, the marketing folks at Apple claimed I could watch a video on my IPhone. They also told me that all Flash sites were disabled because Flash was bad. It seemed pretty obvious to me that rather than just admit their bandwidth at the time of release was HORRIBLE they just took advantage of peoples overall gullibility and ignorance and blamed it all on Flash why you couldnt watch movies on your new cool 500 baud phone.

  3. I guess the campaign hasn’t worked too well. I have just recently gotten calls from numerous clients who still want Flash designs on their websites. Most people I know do their on-line purchasing at night when it’s quiet on a tablet or a standard computer. Personally I do love my Samsung Galaxy smart phone, but I am not one to do a lot of on-line shopping on it. When someone starts a campaign to kill off an application it’s usually because there is something inherently good about the application that they can’t compete with.