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Adobe Announces Plans To Discontinue Flash, Will Stop Supporting Entirely in 2020

Ding, dong, the witch is dead:

But 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.

Given this progress, and in collaboration with several of our technology partners – including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla – Adobe is planning to end-of-life Flash. Specifically, 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 formats.

My own experience with Flash was mostly terrible, and it really did tear your battery life to shreds, but without it we wouldn’t have Homestar Runner, and for that I am thankful.

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Adobe Shadow

A new iOS app from Adobe which helps you test websites you are developing locally on your mobile devices more easily. Currently free in the App Store.

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Adobe Discontinues Flash for Mobile Devices

Buried inside this inane, rambling, corpspeak, document is the fact that Adobe is abandoning Flash for mobile platforms. This is a good thing for everyone, Adobe included.

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Another Brilliant Adobe Interface

This is what comes up when I double-click the Fireworks uninstaller. It’s like these applications were designed by angry, angry, monks.

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For The Uninitiated: Web Video Fracas 2010

Adobe wants people to use Flash to play videos, primarily because they own the technology behind it (which makes them lots of money), and have enjoyed the majority of video on the web being played via Flash for quite some time. Adobe, by virtue of owning Flash, is the only real player in the Flash playing and video encoding game. They want Flash on every device in the world, so they can sell their tools to author Flash. Adobe as a company still makes most of their money on selling people tools to make things with. Adobe has spent a lot of money making Flash and their Flash editing tools.

Apple wants people to use H.264 to play videos, primarily because their mobile devices (which make them a ton of money) can decode the video stream in hardware which is a big win in battery life .vs. decoding in software like Flash. Apple controls the decoding of H.264 on the Mac and iPhone/iPad lines, so they don’t have to wait for anyone else when they want to do something new with it. Apple has spent a lot of money and time making H.264 work great on their devices.

Google just wants people to play videos. They’d prefer it if the technology used to encode and playback those videos didn’t belong to anyone, so they don’t have to deal with the politics of being nice to some other company because they need their support vis-a-vis video. They bought a company called On2 and open sourced a video codec and container format (which may have some severe patent problems) to accomplish this end and try to diffuse the situation. Google is the only company in this tug-o-war who actually makes money selling videos, or more precisely, renting the eyeballs of people who are viewing videos to advertisers.

Due to the above, video on the web is a nightmare right now. There is no video format you can encode to that will play in the big three: Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, unless you want to use Flash to play the video. Which means users will need to have Flash installed on their device, in which case it will not play on the largest mobile device market: the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, or even current releases of the smaller ones, like Android, which also do not support Flash. If you encode to H.264, it won’t play in Firefox or the current version of Internet Explorer (8), but will work in Safari, Chrome (on the Mac), and the upcoming version of Internet Explorer (9). Adobe has pledged to support WebM in it’s Flash products.

There is no way Apple is going to support WebM for their mobile platform unless it can be decoded in hardware. Broadcomm, a major producer of chips for mobile device, has announced a chip which will decode VP8 in hardware, but this is fairly new development. It is not unreasonable to consider that Apple has plenty of so-called “skunkworks” projects to play all kinds of Video content on iPhone and iPad, but it’s pretty unlikely that we’ll see any new video support in the upcoming new iPhone model.

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Flash CS5 will export to HTML5 Canvas

It’s nice to be able to link to something GOOD that Adobe is doing. With Apple putting the kibosh on their Flash -> iPhone bridge, this is an even bigger deal. Apple does not, yet, control HTML.

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W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee Rejects Adobe’s HTML5 Procedural Arguements

In other words, “Sorry Adobe, but we’re going to keep making new things you don’t like.

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Jeffrey Zeldman on Flash, the iPad, and Standards

You can always count on Zeldman to say things like

As the percentage of web users on non-Flash-capable platforms grows, developers who currently create Flash experiences with no fallbacks will have to rethink their strategy and start with the basics before adding a Flash layer. They will need to ensure that content and experience are delivered with or without Flash.

But it’s still good to have him say them.

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Rebuttal.

(photo sources: douglubey.com, chris.pirillo.com, deconcept.com, adobe.com, cutesoft.net, adrianparr.com)

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Browser Debugging Flowchart

This in-depth flow chart could be very helpful for people in IT Departments world-wide.

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Adobe and “Open Government” is Utter Bullshit

Chris Foresman takes on Adobe’s push for government use of it’s Flash, PDF, and other assorted proprietary formats. It’s funny when an article that just presents facts can be so scathing:

After just a cursory browsing, here are some of the usability and data accessibility issues we observed. You can’t select, copy, or paste any text. Your browser’s font override features won’t work, so you can’t adjust the font or its size to be more readable. Your browser’s built-in in-page search won’t work, and you can’t use the keyboard to scroll through the text. …

Sounds pretty open to me.