9 Reasons Flash Must Die, And Soon - InformationWeek

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7/19/2015
12:06 PM
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9 Reasons Flash Must Die, And Soon

Whether you're a user or a developer, the reasons to leave Flash in the past keep multiplying.
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(Image: elianemey via Pixabay)

(Image: elianemey via Pixabay)

Alas, poor Flash. The trajectory from cool innovation to Web must-have, to reviled technology was dramatic, but there's no doubt that the time has come: Flash has to go.

Flash entered our lives around the same time as the World Wide Web, though it began its existence as a drawing program for PenPoint OS. It wasn't until 1996, after Macromedia bought the original developer, that Flash received a new name and a new mission -- enabling animation on websites. Macromedia continued to develop Flash until the company was acquired by Adobe in 2005. Under Adobe, Flash became a Web animation juggernaut.

It didn't take long for the backlash to build. Flash had some notable issues and at least one famous detractor -- Steve Jobs's 2010 open letter listing the reasons Flash wasn't part of the iOS universe was for some a watershed moment. The hate for Flash wasn't universal, though: Air, the system that allows Flash to be used as the basis for standalone applications, was named the best mobile development environment at CES for both 2014 and 2015.

Air isn't enough reason to save Flash, though. It's no longer required, and the alternatives have become better with each passing year. This week, another nail in the coffin arrived when Mozilla prevented Flash from running on its Firefox browser. It's time, therefore, for Flash to ride into the sunset (probably in an animated clip featuring kittens riding cartoon unicorns).

Whether you're a user or a developer, the reasons to leave Flash in the past keep multiplying. Still looking for your reason to delete Flash from your online life? We've put together a list of nine reasons we find compelling. If we've missed the reason that finally made you switch, let us know. And if you're one of the poor, deluded souls who thinks that Flash is still the best web-thing since animated sliced bread, please let us know that, too. We promise we'll be kind.

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

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CY148
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CY148,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/20/2015 | 11:33:24 PM
Re: vitriol off target
I see your point. I disagree. As for using the word tribalism - I can see where you're coming from, but for me, you're using a word with legitimate connotations. e.g., Afghan tribalism is real and has a basis in reason and logic with real life & death consequences for those belonging to this valley or that valley ...for that matter reason and logic are also being mis-used.

Logic - the study of valid reasoning. My reasons may not be yours, but that does not invalidate them.

Reason - consciously making sense of things. I'm pretty sure I consciously came to the conclusion that blocking Flash is better than not blocking it because I took the time modify Chrome & Firefox while leaving IE alone.


I've provided logic and reason why I dislike Flash. In essence: It is (mostly) annoying. I want it to stop. I block it. And all that had nothing to do with Steve Jobs.


As for 'poor design' being a red herring. How so? Poor design is not a fallacy - when I used to see an advert(before I blocked flash) with some flashing lights in multiple colors several times a second in order to get me to click on it, I'm pretty confident with my labeling it poor design (I did notice that some designers took a different tack a few years ago and wanted me to click because President Obama could help me pay off my mortgage, my car, my debt, etc.)

If you want to say 'poor design' is a an over-used word when it comes to web design and is a concept based on an individual's own values (and therefore hard to nail down), I'll happily agree. Good design is often overlooked because ...well, it is good design. The design doesn't take away from the experience, it enhances it.

Don't get me wrong - I don't shun Flash at all costs (or at the expense of reason). I've played some incredible game based on Flash - it is not all bad. But I block it 100% on Chrome and Firefox and my web-browsing/internet surfing is more enjoyable because of it.

I appreciate your arguments (and I've enjoyed your responses) and I see your points - I think you could make them better by using different words.
RandyT255
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RandyT255,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/20/2015 | 7:37:12 PM
Re: vitriol off target
The word "tribalism" connotes taking sides based on identification with a group at the expense of logic or reason.  We've witnessed that phase of Flash bashing, just after the infamous Jobs pronouncement.  

I agree that Flash has to go.  I just prefer solid reasons other than red herrings like "bad design."  If bad design were a flaw worthy of extermination, we should blow up the ICANN right now and let all domain requests chase New Horizons into the Kuiper Belt.

Flash facilitated early application development on the web.  During it's prime time it's great premise was "author once, deliver everywhere."  That utility has come and gone.  
hho927
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hho927,
User Rank: Ninja
7/20/2015 | 7:30:43 PM
99/100 HTML programmers are not graphic designers
If Adobe care to do Flash right, it'll live.

Adobe concerntrate on making money. Nothing major change at their software at all. They live because there is no alternatives.

Graphic designers are poor programmers. Programmers are poor at graphic. In the world, where over 70% websites are done by 1 guy, flash thrive.
Tim2020
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Tim2020,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/20/2015 | 6:36:19 PM
FLASH MUST DIE
I am sorry, but what exactly is the product / standard that is suppose to replace flash right now?

 
CY148
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CY148,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/20/2015 | 5:59:06 PM
Re: vitriol off target
I agree with your antique plug-in comment, but not the rest. Curious as to why you choose the word 'tribalism'?

The logic and reason of my ire has spawned huge 3rd party programs that block flash. I wouldn't say it defies either. Something is annoying. I want it to stop.


Flash used well isn't noticed. Flash used poorly is a huge annoyance - if I want blinking lights, I'll put a Christmas tree. But it seems that poor design (let alone the security vulnerabilities you correctly mention) is the true target of my ire. However, I can do very little (if anything) about poor design ...at least with minimal effort. I can, on the other hand, block Flash easily.

Air used poorly would get the same treatment.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
7/20/2015 | 4:37:31 PM
Re: Flash Wastes My Time and Hogs Memory
I don't have anything against Flash, except when it goes out-of-date at the most inopportune time and the only way I find out is when whatever I'm attempting to look at has been replaced by the message "Flash out of date" somewhere that I don't have admin rights.

I'd be happy to see that go.
JohnW585
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JohnW585,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/20/2015 | 2:56:15 PM
Flash Wastes My Time and Hogs Memory
Your first reason has a corollary, which is why I MYSELF obominate Flash: it hogs memory, and, as a browser extension, creates disastrous load times for otherwise inocuous web pages. Besides, I never ever want to see a graphic or a pictiure or a video, unless totally bvoard and watching downloaded movies or music videos.

 

The only reason Flash exists on my main production system (but NOT on the development system), is that I sometimes play a game, which has an add-in writtenin another obominated language, javascript, which among other things has a quite useful feature enabling a warning sound for certain events getting thrown on hidden tabs. The sound portion of the script calls for swf and flash explicityly. I don't want to learn enough javascript to remove flash from that script.

As to browsers, I use IE foir most things; chrome, palemoon, and forefox for my recreational stuff, all three of thoise are totally locked down against any possibility of modificatyion, and do have acess to locked-down versions of flash.

IE does not have access to flash.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
7/20/2015 | 2:35:05 PM
Re: Still stuck with it
@Gary-EL, I'm very aware of the irony of calling for the end of Flash on a web site that still uses Flash. I will say that this site should see the end of Flash within the next few months, but until then the irony will be thick!
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
7/20/2015 | 2:33:33 PM
Re: Keep evolving or be thing of past
@nomii, have you taken a serious look at the animation features of HTML5? Depending on precisely what you want to do, you might have to add some Java code, but I think that much of what folks are doing in Flash has an alternative in HTML5.
frazo920
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frazo920,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/20/2015 | 12:24:03 PM
What about the wonderful, powerful Flash development tools
What about the wonderful, logical WYSIWYG interface of Flash that has allowed us normal people to develop reasonably powerful, common sense  applications thay is not being replicated by anyone else?  Having coded applications in Java, C. C++, Python, Fortran, Cobol, Assembly and other long-gone scripting languages, I am amazed by how we call for the elimination of this blessed tool, without even thinking of normal, not-necessarily "coding" people who have needs to apply multimedia technologies more reasonably.  IS it better to think of suggest the creation of more REASONABLY FRIENDLY and still secure development alternatives?
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