Most people will agree Adobe Flash was once an integral, yet resource-intensive part of the internet.
The protocol helped bring the web to life with impressive graphics, games, animations and apps. Anyone who spent hours in their school’s computer lab playing games on eBaum’s World in the mid to late 1990s will likely fondly remember the experiences Flash allowed content creators to make.
But rather than abandon its web protocol, Adobe has chosen to rebrand Flash Professional CC as Animate CC, making its new software “Adobe’s premier Web animation tool for developing HTML5 content.” There was once a point in the internet’s history where Flash was the only tool that could make interesting online animated content, but that era is long gone.
The web is a very different beast from what it was two decades ago when Flash first rose to dominance. HTML5 and WebGL are now more commonly used and supported by Adobe’s Flash Pro software. Websites also aren’t often built with Flash anymore like they were just a few years ago, although some still utilize the technology today.
Flash has been slowly dying over the last few years and Adobe’s shift to rebrand the technology’s software is another sign Apple made the right move by not supporting Adobe’s once widely adopted protocol in its mobile devices.
However, Adobe says it plans to continue supporting Flash and that it’s working on Flash Player 12, which is set to be released in early 2016.
Apple has famously never added Flash support to iOS, and at one point Steve Jobs even wrote a piece outlining his thoughts on the platform. While there is inherent irony in Jobs’ views given Apple’s own walled garden software trajectory, at the time Jobs felt Flash was too “closed” and was a piece of software from a computing era that had already passed.
Partially due to the iPhone not adopting Flash, Adobe killed its dedicated mobile Flash player in 2011. Popular streaming platforms YouTube and Twitch also switched over to HTML5 from Flash, and both Facebook and Mozilla have adopted the stance that the service’s life needs to come to an end. Even Google Chrome has started pausing what it calls “less important” Flash content.
— Adobe Flash (@AdobeFlashCC) December 1, 2015
So while Adobe still hasn’t completely killed Flash, launching Adobe Animate CC is a symbolic shift for the company and likely means Flash’s inevitable death will happen swiftly.