In recent years there has been much less support for Flash with, most notably by Apple's Steve Jobs and also by Adobe itself. Now, though, there's a final date for the end of Flash: Dec. 31, 2020.
Flash has been notable in a number of areas over the years, for instance, online gaming site Kongregate has more than 100,000 Flash games today. However, it is appropriate to celebrate the end of flash, since the software today is a security risk and major source of browser crashes.
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 such as Flash have pioneered and have become a viable alternative for content on the web.
In three and a half years, Adobe will stop developing and distributing Flash, said Govind Balakrishnan, vice president of product development for Adobe's Creative Cloud Ecosystem. Browser makers have been pushing hard to eject Flash, but Adobe couldn't move any faster because web standards weren't mature enough and Flash developers in education, gaming, streaming video and other industries need time to retool and rewrite their software, Balakrishnan said.
"We feel the standards have arrived, and now is the right time to announce our intention to pull the plug," Balakrishnan said.
What's it mean for the end user?
In the coming months, depending on what browser you use and how it's configured, the Flash phase-out could start affecting your work. Some games/sites/videos will stop working. Some websites, especially old ones that are no longer updated, might stop working. Businesses that still rely on Flash-based instruction modules will have to move into the future.
Today's workarounds all will break on mainstream browsers by the end of 2020. Here's a rundown of what you can expect:
Chrome: Google's browser began asking us for permission to run Flash on some websites last year, and it'll do so more often and later disable Flash by default. "We will remove Flash completely from Chrome toward the end of 2020," Google said.
Firefox: Mozilla's browser will start asking you in August which sites you want to enable Flash on, it'll disable Flash altogether by default in 2019, and there will be lingering support through the end of 2020 only in Firefox's less frequently updated Extended Support Release.
Edge: The newest version of Microsoft's browser uses a click-to-run option that asks if you want to run Flash on a website, a policy that will continue through mid-2018. The company's older Internet Explorer browser won't give you any grief. In mid-2018, Edge will be more aggressive about requiring you to authorize Flash. In 2019, Microsoft will disable Flash by default, and by the end of 2020, Microsoft will disable it completely in both browsers.
Safari: Last year, Apple's Safari started blocking Flash from running. If you really want it, you can re-enable it on websites that offer to download Flash, an action Safari notices and that will give you an offer to run Flash for the site.