RIP Flash: Will you be missed?

“Flash Player is dead. Its time has passed. It's buggy. It crashes a lot. It requires constant security updates. It doesn't work on most mobile devices. It's a fossil, left over from the era of closed standards and unilateral corporate control of Web technology.” The prolific words of the Occupy Flash—yes, that is a real thing—movement have come true. The moment Steve Jobs called for five years ago—ironically calling Flash 100 percent proprietary—has finally come.

After 20 years, Adobe announced on Tuesday that it’s putting Flash to sleep with its January Creative Cloud update.

OK, to paraphrase Monty Python, it’s not dead yet. It’s doing more of a pivot or maybe a reincarnation, with an extensive rewrite to serve the more than a third of Flash users producing HTML5 content on more than a billion devices. It’s rebranding and relaunching Flash Professional Creative Cloud to Adobe Animate Creative Cloud, embracing HTML5 and the open Web standards it’s based on, ostensibly to add native support to its own HTML5 Canvas and WebGL (graphics library,) but should finally be able to support all HTML5. The multimedia-platform-formerly-known-as-Flash will also support custom platforms like Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) and 4K+ video formats, and it will continue to support AIR file extensions and Shockwave Flash file formats “as first-class citizens.”

As part of the rebrand, Adobe Animate will, not surprisingly, come with more features for animators, for which Adobe is trickling demos out over the course of this week. These include:

  • Integration with Adobe Stock
  • Integration with the entire Creative Cloud Libraries, including colors, brushes and vector shapes
  • Animate working directly with all Adobe mobile app suite, encouraging you to capture assets anywhere on the go to integrate with your animated designs
  • Vector brushes that allow you to modify and animate the path of a stroke after it’s been drawn
  • Custom brush creation and use
  • 360-degree rotatable canvas
  • Custom resolution export to resize and reoptimize older content, preparing it for displays like Ultra HD and Hi-DPI 

The relaunch focuses on the animators and on the mobile devices. The announcement didn’t directly talk about Flash’s reputation for running a little slow and a little less secure, although Adobe did say that it would continue to work with Microsoft and Google to support Flash security inside Web browsers. The Adobe Animate CC reboot should happen sometime in January, with previous versions of Flash remaining available and fully supported.

You’ll find the update under the name “Adobe Animate CC 2015” within the Creative Cloud, with no further mention of Flash.

Beyond this, other big Adobe Creative Cloud updates coming are:

  • New Free Mobile Apps: Photoshop Fix which lets you touch up photos on mobile devices and Adobe Capture CC brings together Adobe Brush, Adobe Shape, Adobe Color and Adobe Hue in one app, along with updates to Photoshop Mix, Photoshop Sketch, Illustrator Draw, Comp CC and Premiere Clip
  • CC Desktop Tools Update: Touch Workspaces for Windows have been added to Photoshop, InDesign and several video tools
  • New Graphic Design Tools: Including better 3D modeling and a new shaper tool
  • Project Comet: A new Creative Cloud app still under development that should allow for designing and prototyping Web site and mobile user experience
  • Adobe Stock integration: Users can now search Stock within the CC apps
  • CreativeSync: Integrates apps data and settings across the Adobe Creative Cloud.

What do you think of the fading of Flash? Comment below or tweet to @ProgrammableWeb.

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