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The time has come for Flash to be retired
Despite mounting criticism from those within tech, many have been reluctant to move away from Adobe’s Flash until a suitable alternative arrives. In light of recent security breaches, it would appear that Flash is soon to become a thing of the past. But is the required tech now in place to allow developers to effectively replace Flash? Or will we all have to play the waiting game whilst the finishing touches are made?

“If you need an explanation as to why Adobe’s Flash Player must go, the best resource remains a five-year-old essay by Steve Jobs. At the time, Jobs was merely explaining why Flash would never show up on iPhones and iPads. But today much of the 1,700-word missive serves as takedown of the technology as a whole, applying just as well to laptops and desktop PCs.

“Security remains a major concern, with new exploits popping up on a regular basis. In one recent example, hackers were even able to break through the sandboxing that’s meant to minimize vulnerabilities in Google Chrome. Flash is also a notorious resource hog, which is a problem as laptops become thinner, lighter, and more reliant on power efficiency for long battery life.

“All of this has brought calls to kill Flash to a fever pitch, not just on mobile devices, but everywhere. Alex Stamos, Facebook’s Chief Security Officer, wrote on Twitter last month that Adobe should set a firm end-of-life date for the plugin. Meanwhile, an ‘Occupy Flash’ website has popped up, urging users to uninstall Flash and asking developers to use alternative technologies such as HTML5.”

To read the full article, visit Engadget.

Designers will need to be mindful of device fragmentation as they retire Flash and look to embrace new tech

“By now, marketers and their agencies have probably heard the news: Flash is on its deathbed. The solution seems simple enough: just start developing animated display ads in HTML5 instead of Flash and push them out the door, right?

“Not so fast. Making the move to HTML5 involves some important updates to your digital production strategy; most significantly, implementing a robust quality assurance plan. The reason? Device fragmentation. In the new model, the same unit may run across a wide variety of devices: desktop, mobile, and tablet. With consumers using more devices, marketers will need to test their creative on more platforms than ever before—otherwise, their ads may not render as designed, or worse, they may not render at all.”

The Drum’s Stewart Warner suggests that both designers and marketers can approach the demise of Flash from a productive angle, whilst effectively transforming their digital platforms

“As daunting as these device challenges may seem, there are plenty of ways you can put yourself in a position to succeed. Here are a few of them:

  1. Keep up with all of the latest releases so that you can test your ads on new devices the moment consumers get their hands on them.
    Presently, Apple device users are using several different operating systems and about nine different screen sizes across the modern iPhones and iPads. Meanwhile, Android users are spread out across thousands of different devices and dozens of different screen resolutions.
  2. Know what your consumer audience is using.
    Your intended audience will dictate which devices you or your QA team need to have in-house to test on. For example, roughly 7.7 per cent of US mobile users are still using 320×480 point screens, which includes the iPhone 4, making it the fourth most popular screen resolution. If you want your creative to reach them, you’ll need to test your creative on those lower-resolution devices.
  3. Hire a qualified QA team or contract with an outside partner.
    QA comes in waves. While things might be quiet on Monday, Tuesday might bring three new campaigns that all need to be running smoothly across a range of devices by the end of the week. When that moment comes, you’ll want to be prepared to handle the overflow.

“For all of the headaches marketers and agencies will experience with these changes, the end result of this journey will be an HTML5 standard that allows us to show consumers awesome rich media ads regardless of which devices they’re on or wherever they happen to be.”

To read the full article, visit The Drum.

The Fast Co. team believe that an expanding market and Adobe’s stilted approach to developing Flash will eventually lead to its permanent downfall

“In the end, websites won’t really need the motivation to get rid of Flash in the form of a hard cutoff date. As web technology allows for alternatives, market forces will ultimately demand that more websites make the switch of their own volition.

“The fact that Adobe has essentially stopped trying to do anything new and innovative with Flash is also prompting developers to move on. Larger websites may have a longer way to go, though. Flash persists on 15.6% of the top 1,000 sites. That’s actually the opposite situation compared to a few years ago, when Flash was used on 22.2% of the largest sites, and 25.6% of sites overall. In other words, the larger the site, the slower it is to move away from Flash – and, perhaps, the more ashamed it is to admit it.”

Amazon places another nail in the coffin for Flash as it opts to remove all Flash-based ads from its stores

“Amazon said this week that starting in September, it will no longer accept Flash ads on Amazon.com or on Amazon Advertising Platform, which lets advertisers target shoppers on Amazon’s sites and across the web.

“Amazon said the move is a reaction to the recent anti-Flash tweaks from browser makers, which have taken aim at the software over the past few months. “This change ensures customers continue to have a positive, consistent experience across Amazon and its affiliates, and that ads displayed across the site function properly for optimal performance,” the company said in a statement on its technical specs page.”

To read the full article, visit Digiday.

Have you already zapped Flash out of your professional life? Or are you waiting for stronger tech to come along before taking the plunge?