The downfall of Flash

I’m not talking about the superhero here; I’m talking about the video and animation creator and player that millions of people came to love and use on a daily basis.

In its heyday, flash was pretty much a system requirement for accessing the web. Many of the largest websites around would use Flash to relay asset rich data across to their users websites such as YouTube. This was because of its easy to package format and its prebuilt players.

Why?

As in the last blog I posted, responsive websites have become increasingly more used leading to a much higher requirement. Sadly, mobile devices do not allow for Flash to be played on them. The most notable device to not play Flash is, of course, the iPhone. In  the years since the release of the iPhone, Flash based websites have been falling year on year and within the last year, have already gone down from 21% of all websites to 15% of all websites (see here http://w3techs.com/technologies/details/cp-flash/all/all).

HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript have now taken over the baton for animations with new technologies being built in to allow for transformations within the browser without any 3rd party elements or plugins needing to be included. The new web standards also make sure that every new browser being released today are able to make use and render these functions properly, and that also includes mobile browsers having to render a responsive version of a website.

“Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not touch screens using fingers… Most Flash websites need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices. If developers need to rewrite their Flash websites, why not use modern technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript?”
– Steve Jobs

What can you do?

Adobe, the creators of Flash, have now started helping out with the conversion of Flash files to JavaScript files with the sponsorship of CreateJS (link http://www.adobe.com/devnet/createjs.edu.html) which helps convert old Flash files into brand new JS files which can be run on any up-to-date browser. CreateJS also has a number of other projects such as EaselJS and SoundJS which help towards specific areas of the Flash to JS change.

There are also a number of other Flash alternatives which use an API similar to Flash to create elements for the browser. There are detection systems to be able to swap out Flash elements for less server intensive JS animations and much more out there. A simple google for “Flash to HTML5” or “Flash to JS” shows into the dozens of millions in results for resources, tutorials or just general chat. I’ve listed some of the most commonly used tools below.

There are also many great websites which show off how powerful HTML5 and CSS3 can be together. Just browsing through http://codepen.io/ which is an online IDE for front-end web development shows the true power of the new elements being brought to the web.

Look, I even made a HTML/CSS version of the Linear Blue Logo : http://codepen.io/anon/pen/stKxy

Rhys Stewart

Rhys Stewart

Rhys is our Apprenticeship Web Developer who joined December 2012. He has always been interested in IT and creating websites and has built a small number of websites for friends and family. Rhys is currently enrolled in an advanced level apprenticeship with Linear Blue & Reading College

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