Adobe Promises Flash Will Be Dead by 2020

Adobe Flash
Adobe Flash

Flash, the plugin so many browsers block and security experts warn you not to use, is officially being killed. It’ll still be around through 2020, but Adobe says it will no longer support it thereafter.

In joint statements, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla all supported Adobe’s own proclamation that 2020 is the right time to kill Flash once and for all, admitting the platform is no longer necessary:

As open standards like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly have matured over the past several years, most now provide many of the capabilities and functionalities that plugins pioneered and have become a viable alternative for content on the web. 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.

Adobe will begin to encourage content creators to utilize those standards in lieu of Flash.

It’s probably a good time to kill Flash, too. Google says only about 17 percent of Chrome users visit Flash-enabled sites daily. Facebook is already reliant on HTML5 for games. Last year, Mozilla and Google both started to disable Flash by default. Apple’s co-founder, Steve Jobs, was famously against Flash.

Flash is also a security nightmare. Much of Jobs’s issues with Flash were security-related, and Facebook is also on record saying the Web would be better without Flash. Adobe was slow to patch issues.

It seems like a long time until 2020, but keep in mind that many still rely on Flash. Many online ads utilize Flash technology, so cutting it down this year would have sent many scrambling to find a replacement.

We won’t miss Flash. Between the security implications and constant nudges to upgrade, nobody will be sad when it’s actually dead. Developers using Flash may want to check out Facebook’s migration seminars happening in August and October. Those with legacy apps or services using Flash may want to revisit their code, as well.

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