9 Reasons Flash Must Die, And Soon - InformationWeek

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Software // Enterprise Applications
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7/19/2015
12:06 PM

9 Reasons Flash Must Die, And Soon

Whether you're a user or a developer, the reasons to leave Flash in the past keep multiplying.
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Flash Is Hungry

Let's run this down: The world is going mobile. There's no doubt that more and more of our computing lives happen on handheld devices. Those handheld devices are getting smaller. It won't be long before you can use the edge of a smart phone to take care of unwanted body hair. And with the thinner devices comes a smaller set of batteries.
Because Flash is an interpreted language, it's heavy -- so heavy that, in conjunction with the way Flash renders video, it's an absolute battery killer.
And it's not just a battery killer on mobile devices. Want to see how quickly the battery on your laptop can run to zero? Load your browser with a bunch of Flash-heavy pages in tabs and let them all run. You can hear the giant electronic sucking sound as the battery winds toward zero.

(Image: TaniaVdb via Pixabay)

Flash Is Hungry

Let's run this down: The world is going mobile. There's no doubt that more and more of our computing lives happen on handheld devices. Those handheld devices are getting smaller. It won't be long before you can use the edge of a smart phone to take care of unwanted body hair. And with the thinner devices comes a smaller set of batteries.

Because Flash is an interpreted language, it's heavy -- so heavy that, in conjunction with the way Flash renders video, it's an absolute battery killer.

And it's not just a battery killer on mobile devices. Want to see how quickly the battery on your laptop can run to zero? Load your browser with a bunch of Flash-heavy pages in tabs and let them all run. You can hear the giant electronic sucking sound as the battery winds toward zero.

(Image: TaniaVdb via Pixabay)

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Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
7/23/2015 | 10:16:00 PM
Re: HTML5 not a Flash replacement!
@moarsauce123, I come at this from the POV of someone who has both used a lot of Flash-based web sites and programmed quite a few Flash projects. I could overlook a lot (and did for a long time), but Flash has become a very heavy weight for a browser and mobile client to drag around.

And that heavy weight is dragged around, more often than not, for a purpose that could be programmed in another way with less system overhead.

My real problem, though, is that in order to do a lot of its magic Flash has to reach down into operating system territory for file and resource access. And it does that reaching with far fewer precautions than it should have taken, with the inevitable result that it's a popular attack vector. Put it all together and Flash should either be significantly overhauled or put out to pasture -- and Adobe has shown in every way possible that it's unlikely to give it a major overhaul.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
7/21/2015 | 2:49:26 PM
Re: Flash was a big part of my development life 15 years ago
@jastroff, I've got all of those still sitting on my hard disk, though the tools have moved on in most cases. Adobe is pushing Muse to replace Dreamweaver (though Dreamweaver is still a better system for building large, complex sites), and I'm watching younger developers do things in After Effects that I would have chosen Fireworrks to complete.

If people want to stay in the Adobe world, Illustrator and Photoshop can each create animations using timeline tools very much taken from Flash. The fact that the resulting files don't have to be in a proprietary file format (or require a run-time interpreter) makes things so much better.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
7/21/2015 | 2:44:02 PM
Re: vitriol off target
@RandyT255, I think you're on to something. While Flash is certainly one of the most visible plug-ins for most browsers, the sheer number of plug-ins required to see and use the modern web site can make browsers incrediblly slow and unstable. (Firefox, I'm looking at you, here.)

As to why so many people are Flash Haters, I think it's the combination of architecture and vulnerability. Now that alternatives are becoming available, it's just too compelling to leave it behind.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
7/21/2015 | 2:41:26 PM
Re: Flash was a big part of my development life 15 years ago
@Wolf29, you make some solid additional arguments for moving away from Flash. I think your reason number 3, with the impact on performance and site size, is the most important since we know that performance is critical to the user experience for a web site.

The maintenace aspect can't be ignored, either -- especially if you don't live in Flash. Every time I have to maintain a Flash-based site I've built I have to take a little time to get back into the Flash mindset. Too often, it's time I'd much rather spend doing something else!
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
7/21/2015 | 2:30:19 PM
Re: I block it ...
@CY148, I think there are a number of tools that are replacing Flash -- as a matter of fact, I'd say that without alternatives we wouldn't be able to think about getting rid of Flash. The set of functions it provides are necessary for the modern web, I just think there are now much better ways of putting those functions in front of the users.

As for blocking, you're probably right, though some site owners are getting much more creative in finding ways to "block your blockers."
Curt Franklin
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50%
Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
7/20/2015 | 2:35:05 PM
Re: Still stuck with it
@Gary-EL, I'm very aware of the irony of calling for the end of Flash on a web site that still uses Flash. I will say that this site should see the end of Flash within the next few months, but until then the irony will be thick!
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
7/20/2015 | 2:33:33 PM
Re: Keep evolving or be thing of past
@nomii, have you taken a serious look at the animation features of HTML5? Depending on precisely what you want to do, you might have to add some Java code, but I think that much of what folks are doing in Flash has an alternative in HTML5.
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