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Adobe to kill Flash plugin

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Adobe has announced it will be retiring its Flash plugin by the end of 2020.

The software has long been ubiquitous in powering media content, but the emergence of Apple’s iPhone has caused it significant problems. The tech giant made a decision not to support Flash at the start of its entry into the mobile phone market.

The late Apple chief executive Steve Jobs used a public letter in 2010 to criticise the reliability, security and performance of Flash.

Adobe has announced it is killing its Flash plugin by the end of 2020, as a result of the software falling out of favour with developers.

Flash debuted more than 20 years ago and became the top choice of software for developers creating games, video players and other apps. However, it is now facing a great deal of competition from other technologies.

Adobe said in a blog post that Flash had “long played a leadership role in advancing interactivity and creative content” but that the emergence of open standards like “HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly have matured over the past several years,” with most now offering many of the capabilities and functionalities that plugins did. Adobe said that these have now become an alternative for online content, which has resulted in its decision to kill Flash.

The company explained that it has seen “helper apps” become plugins, while many of these plugin capabilities have become incorporated into open web standards. According to Adobe, most browser vendors are now integrating the capabilities that were previously provided by plugins directly into browsers.

Adobe said it would be supporting Flash until 2020, while its customers organise their migration plans. The company also said it will contribute to the development of new web standards and actively participate in their advancement, highlighting HTML5 and participating in the WebAssembly Community Group as examples.

Govind Balakrishnan, vice president of product development for Adobe Creative Cloud, told Reuters: “Few technologies have had such a profound and positive impact in the internet era.”

The software has fallen out of favour, though. In a blog post of its own, Google said that in 2014, 80 per cent of desktop Chrome users visited a site with Flash every day but that usage today had fallen to 17 per cent and “continues to decline”.


Posted by Jon Aspinell on 27th July 2017

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