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Flash Player a Declining Asset (bengarney.com)
51 points by jconley on Nov 22, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 19 comments



My company makes 7 figures in revenue selling and hosting Flash-based websites (portfolios for photographers).

Our attrition rate is not that high but when people leave, it's now always to go to an html site (usually WordPress-based). Before it was usually to a Flash-based competitor.

Our HTML5 service is in beta and appears to be promising (for us).


Flash is transitioning from a platform for websites to a platform for high-performance code, such as gaming, graphical simulations, etc... Whatever strides WebGL might be making at the moment it's a long way from the kind of things Flash 11 is capable of. If Adobe can keep the barrier to entry lower on Flash than WebGL then they ought to have a viable product.

Unfortunately for many Flash developers the bread-and-butter site stuff is going away; if you're not skilled enough to transition into gaming and other such computationally intensive work then best to familiarise yourself with the HTML5 suite, and quickly.


Don't forget cryptography. Flash 11 have a secure random number generator.


With the countless and varied security holes that Adobe's Flash implementation has had over the years, I don't think having a "secure" RNG counts for much.


Are you being sarcastic? Flash is the worst possible place to do cryptography. You should never do closed-source crypto, especially not when a company like Adobe is involved. That would be a security disaster.


Except that JavaScript crypto is even worse.


Sounds reasonable. Flash as a player seems on the way out in a lot of ways. Flash as a content creation tool could have a much longer lifespan if Adobe plays it right. The tools are quite powerful and the number of artists that can use it and use it well is large. As mentioned quite a few games use flash to create assets but have their own custom export and playback. Castle Crashers and Shank spring to mind but there are quite a few others.

Unreal Engine 3 announced support for exporting to flash. Given that they also support Scaleform it would be possible to write a mini-game in flash running inside UE3 running in a flash player. And if you throw Unity into the mix...


Adobe has been adapting its tools to HTML5/CSS3[1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Which is great for HTML5, designers/developers who are used to such tools and Adobe.

In the end, if Adobe pulls this off, it can focus on what it does best: productivity tools. No longer needing to maintain Actionscript, language tools, or an entire platform in multiple OS.

[1] http://www.adobe.com/devnet/html5/articles/css3-regions.html

[2] http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/edge/

[3] http://www.zdnet.com/blog/perlow/exclusive-adobe-ceases-deve...

[4] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3214454

[5] http://www.infoq.com/news/2010/10/adobe-html5-animation-ide-...


The big problem with Flash is that we're going to have a billion mobile Internet devices in a few years and none of them will display Flash in a mobile browser. iOS and Android alone should hit a billion devices. The iPad and Kindle are probably going to be two of the hottest gifts during the holiday season.


Flash may be a declining asset, but it seems like nearly every web page I visit still uses flash. It has a ways to decline before developers can just ignore it.


Definitely. The article actually tries to make that exact point - measuring the lifespan in years at minimum.


Or how to remove a subtle "?" to get your point across.


The video is the asset.

Many ways to serve it. Many ways to retrieve it. And many ways to convert and play it.

The skills to do those things are perhaps assets.

But the software is all open source and free.


Flashing is declinning, but there is no vector animation engine for the Web yet.

SVG? A bunch of xml is not exactly what vector graphics animation needed.


I don't really understand your argument here. SVG is supported by every modern browser, has strong tool support (Illustrator, Inkscape and any programming language with an XML package) and has very powerful animation capabilities, eg http://mbostock.github.com/d3/ex/


> has very powerful animation capabilities

OK, please do a simple key frame transformation from a circle to a rectangle.

svg is only suitable for simple animations like move or rotate some nodes.



Not keyframe animation. Not SVG.


Flash was a great first web vector tool. But vector has been going declarative like SVG and even XAML for Silverlight. Flash/Flex libraries were going this way as well with xml markup. I love JSON, YAML and other more micro messaging/data formats but for vector and paths, xml actually works pretty well. I do wish they also supported more micro formats if possible though as XAML ended up huge. But for source control and partial updates at least xml works better than binary.




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