Flash is finally on its deathbed. Adobe is planning to remove support for the software by the end of 2020. Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Safari have already pulled the plug on the technology. Adobe announced, “We will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open format.”
[Image Source: Tkgd2007/Wikimedia Commons]
There is still a small list of education and video sites that still use flash but the big players will abandon it before 2020. Microsoft will pull the plug by 2019 and Google will phase out Flash over the next few years in an undeclared timeline.
Mozilla claims Firefox users will be able to choose which websites they want to run Flash but will also look to completely abandon the software by roughly 2020. Apple is also on board for the 2020 execution date. Currently, Safari users need to give approval on an individual basis, while for Mac users, Flash is an optional download.
The end of Flash is no surprise
HTML5 standards are well implemented, meaning there is no need for Flash. Flash is also seen as a security risk and battery drain for the devices that support it.
While most are breathing a sigh of relief to be rid of the now somewhat cumbersome technology, there has been no discussion from Adobe about the legacy Flash leaves behind. From 2020 huge amounts of rich content will be inaccessible due to its Flash requirements.
Archiving the web
Archiving the web is an ongoing debate amongst art historian, tech freaks, and consumers. There are a number of visual arts organizations dedicated to preserving ephemeral parts of the web including temporary art websites and internet based art projects.
As there is no ‘ruling body’ on web archive this will be an issue the whole web community will need to rally around.