You may remember that back in April 2010 Steve Jobs wrote an 'open letter' on the Apple website entitled Thoughts on Flash.
Well, at the beginning of this month Adobe either proved Jobs' prescience or followed his advice.
Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.
The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 250,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games.
New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.
Flash to Focus on PC Browsing and Mobile Apps; Adobe to More Aggressively Contribute to HTML5 by Danny Winokur, Vice President & General Manager, Interactive Development, Adobe, 09-November-2011.
So Flash has taken the first step in becoming a legacy product.
Over the past two years, we’ve delivered Flash Player for mobile browsers and brought the full expressiveness of the web to many mobile devices.
However, HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively. This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms.
Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores. We will no longer continue to develop Flash Player in the browser to work with new mobile device configurations
We will of course continue to provide critical bug fixes and security updates for existing device configurations. We will also allow our source code licensees to continue working on and release their own implementations.
These changes will allow us to increase investment in HTML5 and innovate with Flash where it can have most impact for the industry, including advanced gaming and premium video.
...we will design new features in Flash for a smooth transition to HTML5 as the standards evolve so developers can confidently invest knowing their skills will continue to be leveraged.
While it has not 'gone' from the web for those webdevs coming new to the business or planning to remain this is a huge kick in the directional pants: learn HTML5 and CSS3, learn them well; and stop building Flash sites. Plus, remember that all formats become obsolete eventually...so be ready and able to port prior art to other formats as necessary.
* Adobe discontinues mobile Flash Player by Sylvie Barak, EE Times, 09-November-2011.
* Adobe Ditching Mobile Browser Flash Player Development by Chloe Albanesius, PCMag, 09-November-2011
* Adobe's future is controlling what you watch, not delivering it by Bill Ray, The Register, 11-November-2011.