Adobe have today announced plans to finally end the life of the Flash browser plugin, a move made likely in the wake of mobile devices better suited to HTML5, WebAssembly and WebGL formats.
Adobe had this to say on the announcement;
But 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. 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.
Naturally if this happened a few years ago their may have been a bigger impact on the Desktop Operating Systems supported by Adobe Flash, such as Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS and Linux, however near-all those systems and browsers have already begun moving on from Flash, with Google Chrome removing it from what was previously a pre-installed nature. The same emphasis on getting rid of Flash is true in Microsoft Edge, Mozilla’s Firefox and Apple’s Safari on macOS.
One of Adobe Flash’s biggest problems over the past few years naturally have involved Security, the Player has always suffered an almost never ending collection of security vulnerabilities which have affected all Operating Systems supported, causing browser manufacturers and OS vendors such as Microsoft and Apple to continually work on patching such holes.
The drop of Adobe Flash naturally won’t happen over night, we’ve still another 3 more years of Adobe Flash, as Adobe plans to end support in 2020. Adobe have promised they will continue to support Flash on todays supported Operating Systems and browsers with security updates and compatibility “as needed”.
One of the most popular web standards supporting Flash, and used in the most popular online browsers such as Safari and Google Chrome is WebKit, the open source web standard created by Apple. Apple shared in their WebKit blog that it is working with Adobe and partners in the WebKit project to smoothen out the transition from Flash to open standards.
Adobe also claims is will “move more aggressively” on ending Flash distribution and support for outdated versions of Flash Player, still installed on older Operating Systems in use such as Microsoft’s Windows XP and Vista.