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Photo via mikecogh/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)
So long, annoying plug-in warnings!
Citizens of the internet, we come bearing news of the best kind. Adobe is going to stop supporting its Flash Player plug-in by the end of 2020. Is it too soon to start planning a celebration party?
“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,” says an Adobe blog post shared today.
Flash, if you’re not familiar, is the annoying plug-in used in some websites for animations, rich web interactions, and online games. In its heyday in the early 2000s, Flash was all over the place. Adobe didn’t initially support Flash Player on the iPhone and iPad, though, which led to sites and apps turning to other standards such as HTML5, instead.
In addition to being a nuisance for constantly requiring updates, Flash is also a security risk for browsers. (To run a Flash program, your computer must download a file, which, historically, hackers have been able to take advantage of to gain access to your machine.) On mobile—or an unplugged-in laptop—Flash can also be a battery hog.
“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,” Adobe writes in its blog post. “Today, most browser vendors are integrating capabilities once provided by plugins directly into browsers and deprecating plugins.”
Nowadays, fewer and fewer websites use Flash. In fact, Chrome, Safari, and Microsoft Edge all block Flash Player plug-ins, and can natively handle many of the intensive tasks that plug-ins like Flash used to be needed for. These browsers, along with Mozilla’s Firefox, will continue to phase out Flash support over the next few years. However, the 2020 end-of-life date gives sites that still rely on Flash some time to port their content over to HTML5, WebGL, or WebAssembly.
It’s the end of an era, but it’s the right time. Goodbye, Flash, we’ll remember you fondly (sort of).
H/T the Verge
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.