Once used to power the majority of the Internet, Adobe’s Flash is being retired after more than 20 years in action.
Adobe said it is planning to stop updating and distributing Flash Player by the end of 2020, meaning content creators will need to migrate existing Flash content to new open formats.
“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,” Adobe said in a blog post.
“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.”
In its heyday, Flash was a popular software with developers who used it to create games, video players and apps that could run on the most-used Web browsers. At the time Adobe acquired Flash when it snapped up Macromedia 12 years ago, it was used on virtually every PC used to browse the Internet.
The first nail in the software’s coffin was Apple’s decision to not support Flash on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The transition for Mac began in 2010 when Flash was no longer pre-installed.
“Today, if users install Flash, it remains off by default,” Apple said in a post. “Safari requires explicit approval on each website before running the Flash plugin.”
Google, in a blog post, said the use of Flash is becoming less common. In 2014, 80 percent of desktop Chrome users visited a site with Flash on a daily basis. Now, that number has dropped to 17 percent and continues to decrease thanks to the prevalence of open Web technologies, which are faster, more secure and more power-efficient than Flash.
“These open web technologies became the default experience for Chrome late last year when sites started needing to ask your permission to run Flash,” Google said. “Chrome will continue phasing out Flash over the next few years, first by asking for your permission to run Flash in more situations, and eventually disabling it by default. We will remove Flash completely from Chrome toward the end of 2020.”
Microsoft said it will phase out Flash from Edge and Internet Explorer, with complete removal from Windows planned for the end of 2020.
Mozilla said Firefox users, beginning next month, will be able to choose which websites are able to run the Flash plugin. Flash will be disabled by default for most users in 2019. Those running the Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR) will be able to continue using Flash until Adobe disables in completely at the end of 2020.
Despite the sunsetting of its once popular browser, Adobe remains positive about the future.
“Adobe will also remain at the forefront of leading the development of new web standards and actively participate in their advancement,” the company said.
“Adobe will continue to provide the best tools and services for designers and developers to create amazing content for the web.”