Recently Adobe renamed Adobe Flash Professional to Adobe Animate.
I've held myself back from writing a post about this - and probably should have written something technically useful after my it's-been-a-month-are-you-still-alive but I've wanted to get this off my chest for a long time. My new project OMGx2 is getting a lot of (more than I'm used to) attention and with that come Emails and comments, several of which have asked the question:
Okay. Here's a disclaimer before I make the unpopular in-defense-of-Flash argument: I like Flash. More importantly, I know Flash. I'm familiar with Flash, and that's going to give me a pair of rose tinted glasses. I've been using Flash since 2009 and I've had a fairly good experience with it. There, that's my disclaimer.
On to the arguments! I'm going to list the common arguments against Flash and rebutt them.
1. Flash is insecure. This is a valid argument. Over the years, Flash has had a lot of exploits exposed, and Adobe's always been running to fix those. Generally speaking, they do a good job fixing them, too. The main reason Flash is targeted by people wanting to exploit it is because Flash is installed on over two billion devices and Adobe Air powered mobile apps were installed over 500 million times in the second half of 2013. This makes Flash Player a juicy target for hackers but also a very accessible market for anyone making a web or mobile application.
2. Flash doesn't work on mobile. Flash doesn't have to work on mobile. People spend little over a tenth of their time on mobile devices in the browser with 90% of web access on mobile devices being spent in apps. Mobile web is still pretty bad in general, what with the staggering disparity between desktop and mobile versions of sites. There's a reason every major site seems to have its own app, and that's because nobody wants to visit a mobile site, and that's hardly Flash's fault.
3. Flash is buggy/slow/crashes. Generally speaking, anything can slow down your computer and Flash is no exception. Being a mature platform, it's actually quite stable, but poorly implemented code reflects poorly on it. An optimized Flash site or web application can be a wonderful thing, check out any of these sites.
There are a couple other common points made against Flash, but these generally cover the core arguments. That being said, here are a few arguments for Flash.
3. Market share and future. Flash has a huge market share, like I mentioned earlier. It's only getting bigger, and is on over two billion systems, despite the clamor that it's apparently dead. Flash is also used widely in the gaming industry as middleware for games including Grand Theft Auto V, Fallout 4, and Battlefield 4. Flash is definitely here to stay, and Flash Player lets complex stuff be run directly from a user's browser.
In conclusion, if anything is harming Flash's userbase it's hardly HTML5 and JS, it's more the rabid anti-Flash crowd that seem to want to push HTML5 and JS into every corner of the web, even into corners where Flash would do a better job. Don't get me wrong - I'm all for video that isn't behind a .swf and websites I can access on mobile when I choose to, but we don't need HTML5 web applications replacing Flash ones, and we don't need Flash games giving way to inferior HTML5 ones.