It’s mid-2016, and you know what that means: Adobe Flash is still (probably) doomed.
The latest nail in the coffin is Google’s decision to block Flash as the primary platform for rich media in versions of Chrome due later this year, with the browser treating HTML5 as a default.
“While Flash historically has been critical for rich media on the web, today in many cases HTML5 provides a more integrated media experience with faster load times and lower power consumption,” Anthony LaForge, technical program manager for Google Chrome, wrote in a note posted to the Chromium Development Google Group. “This change reflects the maturity of HTML5 and its ability to deliver an excellent user experience.”
Given the number of Websites that continue to rely in some way on Flash, Google will continue to ship a Flash Player with Chrome. But over the course of the next year, subsequent versions of Chrome will search for, and activate, HTML5 experiences by default; a prompt will allow users to use Flash if absolutely necessary, but Google clearly hopes those Flash-dependent sites will transition to HTML5 in the near future.
Tech executives have spent the past few years advocating for the death of Flash. Last year, Facebook’s head of security suggested that the Web would be better off without it. And who in the tech industry could forget Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ famous “Thoughts on Flash,” in which he shredded Flash as “closed and proprietary” with “major technical drawbacks”?
Even Adobe seems to recognize Flash’s precarious state. At the end of last year, the company announced that Flash Professional CC (the main authoring environment for Flash) would be rebranded as Animate CC, with new features such as HTML5 support. “New web standards” such as HTML5 would become “the web platform of the future across all devices,” read a note on Adobe’s corporate blog.
It may take some time, however, before Flash disappears entirely. In the interim, developers who rely on Flash as part of their workflow will need to prepare for Chrome’s changes.