The Death Of Flash

If you were hoping to read about the incredible DC superhero, sorry, this blog will be disappointing (thankfully he’s alive and well). But if you want to learn about a major shift in the world of web development and online advertising, then I encourage you to read on.

You’ve probably heard several times in the past few years, “Flash has too many problems,” “Flash is insecure,” or “Flash will be obsolete someday.”  Usually, I’m very skeptical when such profound statements are made, but recently, big industry moves are revealing that the end of Adobe Flash is coming.

How Adobe Flash Player Met Its End

First, Steve Jobs dropped it

The conversation began with Steve Jobs, when he shared his distaste for Adobe’s player back when the iPhone was first released.  The late Apple CEO decided that all of their mobile and tablet technology would be better off without it; his concerns were mostly about security leaks and resource use.

Then browsers stopped supporting it

In early February, 2015, Safari became the first browser to abandon Flash. Then, five months later, Firefox followed. Google announced that as of September 1st, 2015, Chrome no longer supports Flash. With that in effect, roughly 70% of all browsers do not support Flash!

And social media sites are over it

More than a year ago, Vimeo abandoned the Flash video player and recoded their site to utilize HTML5 instead.  Back in January, Youtube announced they will make the same decision.

And to make matters worse, Facebook’s Chief Security Officer, Alex Stamos, recently tweeted: “It is time for Adobe to announce the end-of-life date for Flash and to ask the browsers to set killbits on the same day.”

Does anyone see a pattern here?  Yeah, it’s not looking too good for Adobe!

Adapting to a Flash-Free Internet

Navigating Error Messages and Security Issues

The majority of Flash coding is utilized for video, audio, and multimedia on webpages. As you browse the web, you are likely to encounter error messages on websites that are running Flash, since your browser isn’t likely to support it. Flash is known to have some security vulnerabilities, which can leave you open to hackers. If you’d like to disable it or remove it entirely, here is a great article that outlines how to do that.

Replacing Flash on Your Website

If you’re thinking of creating a brand new website, make sure it is responsive and created in HTML5.  If you currently have a site built with Flash, view it uninstalled or disable it (temporarily) and see what functionality is lost.  This will help you see where your optimizations need to be made.

Fixing Flash Issues in Your Online Ads

Flash is also used to animate online advertising. Examples include clickable call-to-action buttons for ads that show on your website, or ads that you are paying for on other websites to promote your business. These ads may appear above the fold, on the top bar or side rails of your site, or within the text or body of the site.

If you’re using something like Google AdSense, then you won’t have to worry: They are already working to serve the proper creative to keep up with the shift away from Flash.

If you are working directly with advertisers or with site owners for your advertising, you may want to reach out to the team creating or loading the ads. Let them know that you can run a static image (as a temporary solution) that will run on all platforms – mobile, tablet and desktop. Most likely, they are already aware of Safari, Firefox, and Google’s shift away from Flash. Ask them about converting to HTML5, so you can utilize the latest and best performing technology.

Creative Tools & Solutions for HTML5

If you are a digital agency, web designer/developer, content creator, graphic designer, etc., here is a good list of software to use, whether you’re in transition or starting from scratch.

  1. RADI – visual design application
  2. Animatron – online animation editor
  3. Mixeek – free tool for animation
  4. GreenSock – enhanced animation tool
  5. Modernizer – detects HTML5 and CSS3 features in the user’s browser
  6. HTML5Maker – free animated banners and sliders
  7. Adobe Edge CC – create HTML based animations
  8. Adobe Dreamweaver – CC website builder and HTML editor
  9. Google Web Designer – free, professional-grade HTML5 authoring tool
  10. HTML Kickstart – ultra-lean HTML Building Blocks for Website Production
  11. Initializr – generates clean, customizable templates
  12.  Liveweave – HTML5, CSS3 & JavaScript playground for web designers and developers

The end is near. Are you ready?

While the death of Flash has been talked about for some time, it seems the end is near. Many websites and ads have already been moved to other platforms. Now is the time to address any lingering Flash usage. Your web designer or developer is your first point of contact to help update any video, audio or other outdated multimedia.

We at JB Media are always happy to explain the innovations taking place in the world of Internet marketing; staying up to date on the changing landscape is essential to our profession. If you’d like to expand your own learning, we’d be happy to have you join the next session of the JB Media Institute. Or, if you’d like us to test your site to see if Flash is running, perform an assessment on your ads, or just answer general questions, please contact us. We look forward to working with you.