Adobe Flash marked for death — for real this time

The cockroach of the internet, Adobe Flash has resisted countless attempts to rid its very presence from the World Wide Web.

The first came back in 2008 when the first iPhone arrived without Flash support. Later, in 2010 Steve Jobs even wrote an essay on why it sucked. Given much of the web ran off flash back then, it was an inconvenience to iPhone users.

A decade on though, things are considerably different. Open platforms like HTML5 have matured, allowing Adobe to finally relent and announce it will cease updating and distributing the 21-year-old Flash Player plug-in by the end of 2020.

Now the company is working with partners like Apple, Google, Mozilla and Microsoft on phasing out the tool, which has been used to provide online video, games, animations and advertisements.

“Adobe is planning to end-of-life Flash,” the company wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

“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.”

Those open formats include HTML5 — which Steve Jobs predicted would succeed Flash back in 2010 — WebGL and WebAssembly.

Adobe says those tools “now provide many of the capabilities and functionalities that plugins pioneered and have become a viable alternative for content on the web.”

The company says it will continue to support Flash through the planned EOL, which means you won’t be missing out on security patches and browser compatibility.

While the standard did a lot to enhance the web, it has been criticised for security vulnerabilities, resource consumption, and usability.

Most browsers now have means of limiting Flash. Last year, Microsoft joined Google and Mozilla in auto-blocking Flash content.