Adobe has long played a leadership role in advancing interactivity and creative content – from video, to games and more – on the web. Where we’ve seen a need to push content and interactivity forward, we’ve innovated to meet those needs. Where a format didn’t exist, we invented one – such as with Flash and Shockwave. And over time, as the web evolved, these new formats were adopted by the community, in some cases formed the basis for open standards, and became an essential part of the web.
But as open standards like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly have matured over the past several years, most now provide many of the capabilities and functionalities that plugins pioneered and have become a viable alternative for content on the web. Over time, we’ve seen helper apps evolve to become plugins, and more recently, have seen many of these plugin capabilities get incorporated into open web standards. Today, most browser vendors are integrating capabilities once provided by plugins directly into browsers and deprecating plugins.
Given this progress, and in collaboration with several of our technology partners – including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla – Adobe is planning to end-of-life Flash. Specifically, we will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats.
This has been a long time coming, with most of the modern web moving away from plugins like Flash and Silverlight to standardised web technologies. That said, there’s a large swath of culturally-significant content that’s been authored in Flash over the years, from games and animations on Newgrounds, to early websites that used Flash to get around limitations of the web platform. While a lot of those basic animations could be recorded as videos, there’s a lot of interactive Flash content that can’t be so easily preserved. I hope there’s someone at the Internet Archive thinking about how best to make all those creations available well beyond 2020.