“Can’t Flash just die?”

Although it’s something that’s been said since Steve Jobs wrote his Thoughts on Flash, this sentiment has gained a little bit of resurgence in light of the new new, old Flash vulnerability.

“Can’t Flash just die?”

Let me make something clear. Flash isn’t bad. Flash as a tool for animation is great: that’s what it was designed for. The problem isn’t Flash. The problem is the use of Flash as a content delivery format. (I know I’m being pedantic: most people — when talking about Flash — are referring solely to the Flash Player, but still…)

Back in the day, Flash was actually the best solution for delivering this some of content (and in some cases, arguably, still is) — the alternative we had for video on the Web was RealPlayer and DivX. Which were both awful. And Flash is still the easiest way of delivering those stupid little games. (I didn’t say the content was worthwhile, and those games have mostly been supplanted by mobile games.)

While HTML5 and it’s associated Javascript APIs, and CSS3 has made a lot of the more egregious uses of Flash redundant, as a tool for creating content, Flash is still without peer.

To me, the situation is very similar to another Adobe product — Photoshop.

It’s trendy in design circles to bash on Photoshop for not being as good as things like Sketch for UI design. But the thing is, Photoshop isn’t a design tool: it was designed (as the name suggests) for photo editing and image manipulation. People use it for the wrong thing (design interfaces), then complain about it, despite it still being good for the thing it was made to do.

People use Flash for the wrong thing (delivering content), and complain about it. When the thing that it was made for (create content), it still does well.

(Technically, I don’t want use of Flash as a delivery format to go away, per se. I do think that HTML5 content should be loaded as the default, and that Flash should be used as a fallback for older browsers, rather than using HTML5 is a fallback for mobile devices as is currently the case. When creating content in Flash, export it as an MP4.)

About Lewis Dorigo

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