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Adobe kills mobile Flash
November 9, 2011 12:36 AM   Subscribe

18 months after Steve Jobs wrote Thoughts on Flash, and despite their protests that "Flash Player performs as well as, if not better than, comparable multimedia technologies", Adobe today announced they are stopping development on Flash for mobile.

The news comes as they announce another 750 layoffs, following similar cuts in 2008 and 2009.
posted by fightorflight (175 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Jobs was right, all the way from the start.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:01 AM on November 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


Flash was a direct response to the 'browser wars' driven by Microsoft. Every time there was an evolution in web browsing, each browser enacted rules slightly differently. My web ninjas that remember coding javascript with definitions for IE, Safari, and W3C-compliance will have a non-fond remembrance of this time and the unnecessary complexity it introduced.

For a long time, there was simply no way to easily create sites that worked on all browsers, not to mention incorporate rich media. Flash evolved as a sandbox that could be loaded on any browser that supported the plug-in, thus web developers could produce one site that functioned similarly on a variety of browsers.

Unfortunately, the costs of Flash were not only ridiculous over-use of animation for non-sensical reasons but also a grossly inefficient use of system resources -- everything from bandwidth to processor activities. That was fine when systems were either desktops or laptops, however, with the advent of mobile devices, the constraints really started to show.

Further, with the proliferation of FireFox and WebKit on both traditional OS's as well as mobile devices, browsers in general have become more standards-based out of necessity.

The latter is a wonderful example of how competition in the marketplace produces a better result for consumers.

Steve Jobs probably never hated Flash inherently for what it was, rather for what it wasn't -- elegant and efficient. But then again, it wasn't designed to be elegant or efficient. It was designed as a reaction to proprietary browser operations.

And whilst Flash will inevitably decline for quite a few reasons, it served a key purpose in the information ecosystem and for that, it can be appreciated.

Always saddening to hear of job losses however. Hopefully those people can be absorbed by other companies that are growing as the Adobe teams have often been composed of very nice people.
posted by nickrussell at 1:03 AM on November 9, 2011 [66 favorites]


nickrussell wrote: Unfortunately, the costs of Flash were not only ridiculous over-use of animation for non-sensical reasons but also a grossly inefficient use of system resources -- everything from bandwidth to processor activities. That was fine when systems were either desktops or laptops, however, with the advent of mobile devices, the constraints really started to show.

Funny that I used to play YouTube videos on a phone with 32MB of memory and a 233MHz ARM7 CPU, eh?
posted by wierdo at 1:09 AM on November 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Jobs was right, all the way from the start.
That's kind of ridiculous conclusion to draw. Flash is obsolete because javascript and canvas work pretty much everywhere now. The latest versions of the flash authoring program actually can output Javascript in HTML files.

I'm a huge fan of flash by any means. I had to code something in flash, back when it was using ActionScript 2.0 and it totally sucked. Furthermore, if Jobs only problem was efficiency, he shouldn't have had any problem with flash outputting to ObjectiveC. Clearly he had a problem with Adobe as a company for whatever reason.
posted by delmoi at 1:11 AM on November 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


This is second best thing they could have possibly done for the web. Now guys, please follow through and cancel Flash for desktops.
posted by vanar sena at 1:13 AM on November 9, 2011 [13 favorites]


delmoi: "Clearly he had a problem with Adobe as a company for whatever reason."

I don't doubt that, but there are two points that Jobs made that were on the money: 1) The Flash UI model doesn't work for touchscreens and 2) it really is the crappiest piece of software I have on my mac, and is so far the only reason it ever crashes.
posted by vanar sena at 1:15 AM on November 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


Hate Flash. Loath Flash. From the very start. I remember arguing on MeCha with people who thought Flash was a great way to embed fonts in webpages. Grrr...

Jobs certainly got this ball rolling, but the final blow came from MS when they announced that in the Metro interface no browser plugins would be allowed. Goodbye Flash. Goodbye even Silverlight. Adobe might have been able to work around the Apple block for a long time, but they've finally seen the writing on the wall with Microsoft.

IIRC, I read a review when Flash first came out on Android. Funny thing was that the Android browser, with flash disabled, was a bit faster than Mobile Safari. But turn Flash on and it was the clear loser. Why? Not because of nifty games or cool effects, but because it had to load a dozen Flash ads on every page.

I have no doubt that if Adobe had taken Flash platforms other than Windows seriously this wouldn't have happened. But their constant poor performance on OS X showed Jobs they could not/would not optimize their own software. Adobe is as responsible for this as anyone is.
posted by sbutler at 1:21 AM on November 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


Funny that I used to play YouTube videos on a phone with 32MB of memory and a 233MHz ARM7 CPU, eh?

Playing YouTube videos does not equal using Flash, for what it's worth. The iPhone can play YouTube videos too, but it's not using Flash to do so.
posted by disillusioned at 1:21 AM on November 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


Not saying that Apple and Steve Jobs didn't have anything to do with it, but better not blow it out of proportion. To quote John Gruber:

"Apple didn’t win. Everybody won. Flash hasn’t been superseded in mobile by any sort of Apple technology. It’s been superseded by truly open web technologies. Dumping Flash will make Android better, it will make BlackBerrys better, it will make the entire web better."
posted by jklaiho at 1:25 AM on November 9, 2011 [23 favorites]


There is nothing wrong with the idea of Flash itself, but the control over it by Adobe has caused real problems for it. (On preview, what jklaiho said.) I agree that Jobs had a problem with Adobe as a company, but also it's possible that Flash was a bit too portable appy for their tastes, especially after the App Store started up.

What will probably eventually happen with Flash is it'll transition over to being more solidly a video-oriented creative tool. Already a lot of TV cartoons use it, including My Little Pony, which it's generally agreed transcends the limitations of the platform.
posted by JHarris at 1:29 AM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


So how can I block annoying HTML5 adverts?
posted by alasdair at 1:29 AM on November 9, 2011 [17 favorites]


Clearly he had a problem with Adobe as a company for whatever reason.

Job's problems with Adobe stem from when he was working on the iMac in the late 90's, and wanted Adobe to make Premiere for it. They flatly denied him, saying the Macintosh had too few users. This pissed him off and reinforced a desire to control both the software and hardware whenever possible.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:29 AM on November 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Of course, desktop Flash still lives and breathes, but hopefully its days are numbered as well. Its only real saving grace for quite a while has IMHO been the indie gaming scene. Two of my all-time favorite hard platformers were Flash games, for example (N and Meat Boy, though technically I fell in love with Super Meat Boy, not a flash game but based on the Flash original).

Hopefully, with the emergence of Unity etc. the bar for entry has been lowered enough for the (I guess) inevitable death of Flash to not make indie game development too much harder to get into than it has been.
posted by jklaiho at 1:34 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hopefully, with the emergence of Unity etc. the bar for entry has been lowered enough for the (I guess) inevitable death of Flash to not make indie game development too much harder to get into than it has been.
Why not just use Javascript? I guess unity is supposed to do 3D but there's webGL for that, although it's kind of a mess at the moment.
posted by delmoi at 1:40 AM on November 9, 2011


delmoi: "Why not just use Javascript? I guess unity is supposed to do 3D but there's webGL for that"

As much as I love Python, I'd be overjoyed to see something like Panda3D based on web standards. Does anything like this exist yet?
posted by vanar sena at 1:53 AM on November 9, 2011


disillusioned wrote: Playing YouTube videos does not equal using Flash, for what it's worth. The iPhone can play YouTube videos too, but it's not using Flash to do so

From the website. In Flash. Not all of us appreciate being locked into some crappy app that can only play a fraction of the full whack. In 2005, playing YouTube videos did in fact equal using Flash. Hell, until the iPhone, playing YouTube videos did in fact equal using Flash. IIRC, YT didn't start doing standard MPEG-4 encodes until 2007.

Sometimes I think people just can't believe that Flash existed on smartphones (or that smartphones even existed) prior to Android or that phones were capable of playing music and video before the iPhone.

The problem, of course, was that the Flash player was built-in to the OS and was never upgraded, so towards the end of a given phone's lifecycle, YouTube would quit working as they required ever-newer versions of Flash.
posted by wierdo at 2:00 AM on November 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


Indeed. Up until very recently scripting in Flash has been faster and more efficient than JS scripting in browsers. Asset file sizes can also be much smaller than in HTML (compressed vectors vs bitmaps, and with bitmaps you can have lossy compression with transparency).

Unfortunately because it offered the capability of easily doing a ton of pointless shit too, clients and designers nearly always demanded a ton of pointless shit!

The problem people have with Flash isn't a problem with technology, it's a problem with people - and those people will still be around doing the same shit with Adobe's forthcoming easy tools for HTML5.
posted by dickasso at 2:27 AM on November 9, 2011 [23 favorites]


I've always assumed quicktime for windows was to give us a taste of what it was like to run flash on a mac. If so, the mac folks have my sympathy. Though I would be shocked to learn that vast majority of flash developers are on windows; certainly most web-site flash is produced on macs.
posted by maxwelton at 2:28 AM on November 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


The Flash UI model doesn't work for touchscreens

I always thought this was kind of an odd complaint to level at Flash. Isn't that just the mouse UI model?
posted by lucidium at 2:43 AM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


What does this mean for Kongregate?
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:45 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Saint Jobs - right on everything! Always! Forever! Amen!
posted by homodigitalis at 2:56 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


lucidium: "I always thought this was kind of an odd complaint to level at Flash. Isn't that just the mouse UI model?"

It's less to do with Flash itself than the UI assumptions of existing Flash apps, specifically lack of mouseover on touchscreens.
posted by vanar sena at 3:03 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nah, Jobs wasn't perfect, but he was very right about not allowing Flash on iDevices.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:04 AM on November 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


The real juicy rumor was that in the 1990s, Macromedia went to Apple and told them that if they didn't kill off Hypercard 3.0, they would drop Mac support for Shockwave and Flash, which Apple was in no financial position to challenge at the time. Unfortunately, those rumors don't seem to be true. Too bad, I love a good revenge story.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 3:31 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I worked at Apple, Flash accounted for more crashes than all other Mac software combined. Adobe would not, could not, make Flash reliable.
posted by ryanrs at 3:41 AM on November 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


A couple of years ago I installed flash-blocking plugins on all the browsers in my life except mobile, where that doesn't yet seem to be an option.

It was a revelation.

Good riddance Flash.
posted by spitbull at 3:45 AM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


[Jobs] wanted Adobe to make Premiere for it. They flatly denied him, saying the Macintosh had too few users.

I am certain I used Adobe Premiere on a Mac in the mid-90s.
posted by spitbull at 3:46 AM on November 9, 2011


The arguments here are the same arguments that have been rehashed over and over for the past ten years, and it's sad to see that nobody has much more insight than they did all that time ago.

Flash itself wasn't a crime against anybody. It began life as a tool for animation, and over its lifetime has probably done more to introduce creative people to the world of animation than just about anything else.

When browsers were in their Wild West years, there were plugins for everything. Flash just happened to be the one that opened up the most possibilites for doing creative stuff on the web. People did some amazingly things with it. But, as with anything on the web, the race to the bottom was pretty quick, and it ended up being used in wholly inappropriate ways. A lot of people in the Flash community saw this trend and did a lot to educate the design community in appropriate use, but they were pretty much lost in the noise. As a result, we ended up with a lot of unusable websites and Flash was demonised. Fairly, in some respects. Unfairly in others.

Flash filled an important niche. Looking back it's easy to see that where it worked really well was in providing a way to put together games and video for the web. Even today it works pretty well in that context. It's easy to forget that all that 'fun' content took the web from being basically a big bunch of text and images and made it into something that a lot more people wanted to engage with. If it wasn't for Flash, we'd have all been playing games in Java applets, and we'd all be wishing death and dismemberment on whoever invented that technological aberration.

We're only just approaching the point where we can start leaving the crutch of Flash behind. That's not the fault of people who use Flash. It's the fault of people who can't get their collective act together and agree on and implement standards for the web in any kind of sane timeframe. Are we there yet? Nearly.

Of course, there's also the prevailing attitude among many people in IT that it's all been going to hell since they started letting ordinary people use the internet. Which isn't exactly conducive to reasonable debate.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:56 AM on November 9, 2011 [40 favorites]


Of course, there's also the prevailing attitude among many people in IT that it's all been going to hell since they started letting ordinary people use the internet.
this attitude is the worst. thank you
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 4:00 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Flash in the right circumstances is (was?) great software for the web. There have been some great interactive pieces done with it (think some of the really nice NY Times stuff), and for a large number of years, it provided a great video watching tool (remember the alternatives, like Real?).

The problem with Flash is that it also enabled lots of really shitty websites. Some are really inexplicable--why do so many restaurants have awful flash-only websites, for example? (And the less said about flash-based sites for professional photographers, the better.)

I suspect we'll all be grousing about shitty canvas-based sites for your local yarn shop soon enough.
posted by maxwelton at 4:00 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


ryanrs: "When I worked at Apple, Flash accounted for more crashes than all other Mac software combined. Adobe would not, could not, make Flash reliable."

That the flash plugin couldn't crash the system is possibly the only positive thing that could be said for the Linux port. Why was/is it possible for a user-space process to crash a mac? Windows I can understand (graphics stack runs in the kernel), but I figured OS X would be immune to this.
posted by vanar sena at 4:00 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


So I just checked to make sure I wasn't losing my memory entirely. Premiere was *first released* as Mac software originally in the early 1990s. It was available in simultaneous versions for the Mac from the beginning until 2002, when three years went by where there were only Windows releases, before it once again became available on the Mac.
posted by spitbull at 4:02 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am certain I used Adobe Premiere on a Mac in the mid-90s.

I believe you. However, the comment you're replying to refers to the iMac, which came out in 1998.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:03 AM on November 9, 2011


The Verge reports that Microsoft is planning to announce the end of Silverlight development work as well, with the next release slated to be the last. The source is Mary Jo Foley, who is generally reliable when it comes to Microsoft.
posted by jenkinsEar at 4:08 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why was/is it possible for a user-space process to crash a mac?

App crashes, not system crashes. But crashing the browser is pretty terrible.
posted by ryanrs at 4:12 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


that flash can crash a mac says more about the OS than it does about flash.... really...

i don't see any relationship between job's pig-headedness and adobe's decision. flash is just been superseded by open standards. i look forward to the post when adobe decides to kill flash completely: 36 months after jobs wrote Thoughts on Flash..... etc... whatever.
posted by canned polar bear at 4:16 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Comment loading.... 15%..................16%.....................
posted by panboi at 4:18 AM on November 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


Jobs was right, all the way from the start.
That's kind of ridiculous conclusion to draw. Flash is obsolete...


Just highlighting the copious amounts of something here. (what, Steve specified the wrong reasons Flash was obsolete? Sorry, but I'm pretty sure an accurate prediction of "kettle is now white" is, overall, more relevant than whatever after-the-fact explanations there are for such a phenomenon occurring.

Premiere was *first released* as Mac software originally in the early 1990s.

Yep, I had Premiere on my PowerPC 8100 in 1992. It was completely useless, mind you. (viable video cards and storage devices still being nearly a decade away)
posted by ShutterBun at 4:21 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


le morte de bea arthur: "If it wasn't for Flash, we'd have all been playing games in Java applets, and we'd all be wishing death and dismemberment on whoever invented that technological aberration."

I agree completely. Flash was the second time that inaction allowed a vendor of a substandard VM to take over the delivery of a huge chunk of web content. I understand that it's not an easy thing to create, but for something this important to the future of the web I think we are still in for some frustration.

ryanrs: "App crashes, not system crashes. But crashing the browser is pretty terrible"

I still get full on system crashes. I've been able to isolate it to audio device contention, so it's possible it's a driver problem.

(I'll stop hogging this thread now, my apologies)
posted by vanar sena at 4:21 AM on November 9, 2011


[Jobs] wanted Adobe to make Premiere for it. They flatly denied him

Jobs was nowhere near Apple headquarters when Premiere came out, if that helps.
posted by ShutterBun at 4:23 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


.
posted by jeremias at 4:27 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Flash video *did* finally let us get rid of RealPlayer. [BUFFERING]
posted by mrbill at 4:38 AM on November 9, 2011 [22 favorites]


Say what you will about Flash, but I try not to be too glib when hearing that 750 people have lost their jobs.
posted by localhuman at 4:40 AM on November 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


It doesn't take the "genius" of Jobs to know that Flash is terrible. Neckbearded UNIX geeks like me were complaining about it waaaaay before "Thoughts on Flash". The other day, someone sent me an email link to some photos they'd taken of an item they were selling. I couldn't view them because the photo viewer (which just consisted of a single page showing 4 photos--it wasn't some cool interactive thing) needed a special "Flash image loader" thing that came wrapped in an exe (?!) that I couldn't run. That's just broken.

Flash used to be the wrong solution to a real problem. Now it's the wrong solution to a non-problem.
posted by DU at 4:44 AM on November 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


It makes me weep a little bit for Freehand.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:48 AM on November 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Say what you will about Flash, but I try not to be too glib when hearing that 750 people have lost their jobs.

ah true. steve jobs is responsible for putting 750 people out of work. thanks alot Steve, will your evil never end!!???!

posted by canned polar bear at 4:53 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jobs did have a personal vendetta against Adobe over their support for the Mac, but he was also write about Flash being garbage.

Hopefully now they'll figure out how to get streaming flash video to run on my Macbook air without maxing out the CPU.

Or maybe justin.tv will stop using the terrible flash video player.
posted by empath at 4:56 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seems to me 3p app crashing a system is less a 3p problem and more an OS problem. BTW, not for nothing, I've never heard of Flash crashing a windows box. Not to say it hasn't happened, but...also not to say Flash usage doesn't suck balls, but that is less an Adobe issue and more an issue with web designers and marketers.
posted by sfts2 at 5:19 AM on November 9, 2011


Or maybe justin.tv will stop using the terrible flash video player.

I'm just hoping people will stop using justin.tv. What is this? 2007? /uselesssnark

If mobile Flash is dead, then desktop Flash will follow. HTML5...it's your turn.
posted by inturnaround at 5:19 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm just hoping people will stop using justin.tv. What is this? 2007?

All starcraft streams are on justin.tv/twitch.tv :(

Oddly enough, my iphone handles the (native) justin.tv app better than my macbook air does.
posted by empath at 5:20 AM on November 9, 2011


ShutterBun: "[Jobs] wanted Adobe to make Premiere for it. They flatly denied him

Jobs was nowhere near Apple headquarters when Premiere came out, if that helps.
"

It was in 1999. "So Jobs went to his old friends at Adobe, the digital graphics company, and asked them to make a new Mac version of Adobe Premier, which was popular on Windows computers. Adobe's executives stunned Jobs by flatly turning him down. The Macintosh had too few users to make it worthwhile. Jobs was furious and felt betrayed".

- Steve Jobs, p 380.
posted by octothorpe at 5:28 AM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well, that needs fact checking. Premiere, to reiterate, started as a Mac app and was released in concurrent Mac and windows versions except for one 3 year period in 2002-5.
posted by spitbull at 5:34 AM on November 9, 2011


He wanted an OSX version.
posted by empath at 5:40 AM on November 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


I began hating Flash when I realized I was buying upgrades for no other reason than to make Flash apps run better.
posted by tommasz at 5:44 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Asset file sizes can also be much smaller than in HTML (compressed vectors vs bitmaps, and with bitmaps you can have lossy compression with transparency).

SVG is a vector format that javascript can manipulate, any browser worth its salt can display, and any server properly configured will serve up gzipped. There you go, compressed vectors.
posted by Jpfed at 5:44 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


[Jobs]wanted Adobe to make Premiere for it. They flatly denied him, saying the Macintosh had too few users.

Let me help you out here. Premiere was written on the Mac first, not on Windows. The Windows version was a port until such a time as a more reasonable common code base could be created.

(I worked at Adobe, knew the creators of Premiere and my last stint before leaving was working on Premiere, writing the portability layer.)
posted by plinth at 5:45 AM on November 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


ugh. Thank goodness. My dislike of Flash has grown over many many years. As someone said upthread - it's more of a problem with the developers than the technology per se... It's just a tool... it has [er, had?] it's uses for sure. The main problem was that the evangelists invested in it until it was the only tool left in their kit - *everything* had to be done in Flash. This got to be very frustrating. The discourse over flash not being invited to the iPhone & iPad party was interesting to watch for sure... I read many a seething article on how apple was unfairly locking them out - i realized that this was mostly out of fear. People were seeing the writing on the wall, looking down at their one trick toolkit and realizing how much catch up they were going to have to do. It must have been a bummer to go from *rockstar!* developer status to ZOMG! what now, i have to start over??!!
posted by h0p3y at 5:46 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Flash was a direct response to the 'browser wars' driven by Microsoft. Every time there was an evolution in web browsing, each browser enacted rules slightly differently. My web ninjas that remember coding javascript with definitions for IE, Safari, and W3C-compliance will have a non-fond remembrance of this time and the unnecessary complexity it introduced.

What?

Flash predates the existence of both Netscape and IE. It was Macromedia's second-string rich media format.

Macromedia Director was the 800 lb gorilla in the 90s.

Director hit before Flash existed and established a massive developer base thanks to the CD-ROM based multimedia software industry that flourished and quite a few people rich before any of 'em had heard of the Internet.

Flash took off -- belatedly, in my opinion -- because you could actually generate better-quality images with less bandwidth compared to Director, and vector images were more accommodating of varying viewports than raster images could be.

Their competitors were other browser plugins. Those were spawning by the hundreds for a while, thanks to Netscape 2's plugin API. Without it, you'd never have heard of Flash.

The problems you describe with Javascript have to do with Microsoft's attempt to fork it, the lack of respect it got for over a decade, and the slow progress in improving Javascript runtime engines in the browser (to be really, really handwavy about it). It had little or no effective capacity for complex animation and rich interactivity until recently.

Director and its competitors, having existed before the commercial web boom, already had a lot of experience on getting whizzy things running smoothly on appallingly slow computers. Proposing Javascript as an alternative for anything more complex than sliding shutter or simple particle animation was ludicrous. Like moving house with a skateboard.

In other words, the price of tea in China.
posted by ardgedee at 5:48 AM on November 9, 2011 [17 favorites]


You godless heathens. Flash rocked. I WILL NOT hear a word said against it. You soulless apple acolytes. Newgrounds in its prime and YTMND and a gajillion stick fighter animations and lolz would not have come to be had we not had flash. So take your hatin ass off somewhere and play with your html5 applications somewhere else cause we be rollin here and its all about the SWFS.
posted by vicx at 5:51 AM on November 9, 2011 [13 favorites]


Flash CS 5.5 exports to iOS native bytecode (still doing tests to see how well it performs).
posted by ryoshu at 5:52 AM on November 9, 2011


Not saying that Apple and Steve Jobs didn't have anything to do with it, but better not blow it out of proportion. To quote John Gruber:

"Apple didn’t win. Everybody won. Flash hasn’t been superseded in mobile by any sort of Apple technology. It’s been superseded by truly open web technologies. Dumping Flash will make Android better, it will make BlackBerrys better, it will make the entire web better."
posted by jklaiho


I'm not sure what you're reading into that. Gruber would be the first to say that Apple and Jobs had a hell of a lot to do with it. But everyone wins, not just Apple.
posted by justgary at 5:54 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


i still don't get it. flash runs on hundreds of millions of devices and somehow because jobs didn't want it running on a fraction of that number people seem to think he is responsible for it's demise. somebody please explain.
posted by canned polar bear at 6:06 AM on November 9, 2011


I used to hate flash but have grown to appreciate it. Because it became a very reliable indicator of things I didn't want to see. At first it was as simple as not installing the plug-in, and then once FlashBlock became available I could install it but only enable it for the very small number of web pages where I wanted it.

I don't care as much about what's going to replace Flash, as I care about what's going to replace FlashBlock. I'm guessing that FireFox will eventually come up with per-domain fine-grain permissions for certain HTML5 features, but it will take a few releases to get it.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:09 AM on November 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Flash isn't dead, just the mobile version. How does this impact Android/Playbook and those other mobile devices that "supported" Flash?
posted by furtive at 6:14 AM on November 9, 2011


If Jobs were alive he'd be saying something like "It took 750 people to make that piece of shit?"
posted by furtive at 6:15 AM on November 9, 2011 [12 favorites]


Flash CS 5.5 exports to iOS native bytecode (still doing tests to see how well it performs).


Yeah, I'm just about to start a project at work that would Flash to generate iOS and Android apps, and have a web version to boot. The trick right now is that the iOS version is noticeably slower - usable, but slower. Now with this news I'm wondering if we need to rethink our approach.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 6:21 AM on November 9, 2011


I know art school auteurs use Apple iphones to make serious art for uploading to Vimeo but if I had to choose between all the serious art made on an iphone and all the stuff that kids have made with pirated copies of flash over the years. I'll take the swfs every time.
posted by vicx at 6:28 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Flash isn't dead, just the mobile version.

How can this be anything other than the clock ticking louder to the end of Flash as mobile tablets and phones increase their share of web traffic, it's a more vital space than ever, not less...and yet Adobe has chose to pack up their development in this growing segment of the market.

Zynga recently announced that their newer games will be developed using HTML5 so they can be played on iPhone and iPad. Anyone making new investment in any kind of web development is avoiding Flash altogether so they don't have to create two completely different websites and experiences for the tablet/smartphone user vs. the desktop user.

If Youtube was founded today, it wouldn't be done in Flash.
posted by inturnaround at 6:36 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Before Apple dances on the grave of bad software perhaps they could turn their eye to making iTunes for Windows suck a little less.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:37 AM on November 9, 2011 [32 favorites]


Wow, that is a terrible comment. Thanks for sharing.
posted by yerfatma at 6:37 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oops, was in reference to, "I know art school auteurs use Apple iphones to make serious art . . ." -- fighty and bad logic, all rolled into one.
posted by yerfatma at 6:37 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'll take the swfs every time.

Are people like you called SWFers?

I thought you were mythical.
posted by inturnaround at 6:41 AM on November 9, 2011


flash runs on hundreds of millions of devices and somehow because jobs didn't want it running on a fraction of that number people seem to think he is responsible for it's demise. somebody please explain.

Yeah it was more than Flash is a bloated piece of shit that was getting less useful for everything with every new release.

I wish someone would release a version of flash just for games so i can uninstall the piece of shit and not have to deal with annoying flash ads ever again.
posted by empath at 6:42 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Funny that I used to play YouTube videos on a phone with 32MB of memory and a 233MHz ARM7 CPU, eh?

From the website. In Flash. Not all of us appreciate being locked into some crappy app that can only play a fraction of the full whack.

What?

On iOS, you can watch Youtube videos from youtube's mobile site, embedded youtube videos on regular pages, even youtube videos in the Metafilter player.

You can even beam those videos over Airplay to airplay devices to watch them on your big teevee, which is actually very fun. I Rickroll my girlfriend all the time with it.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:46 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


vanar sena asked: As much as I love Python, I'd be overjoyed to see something like Panda3D based on web standards. Does anything like this exist yet?

Not quite, but getting there: three.js is probably the leading solution right now (easy JavaScript support of WebGL - I'm working on a post about it).

While this is good news - Adobe giving up Flash development in the world's fastest growing web market is a major capitulation - it doesn't mean the death of Flash. The technology is going to be with us for another decade at least... just increasingly pushed into a niche. (In that regard, new media is very much like old media: radio didn't die when television came along, it just lost market share. Flash will be the same). When you have JavaScript running fast enough on most platforms to decode H264 video at 30fps on the fly, you don't need Flash for video any more.

I've said for a few years that Flash would increasingly become a GUI for developing HTML5 content, and (together with Adobe Edge) it looks like that's what's happening. For a while there Adobe was pushing Molehill/Stage3D as Flash's new killer feature - pushing 3D into web pages - but I think it will probably go the way of open standards too, and just become a WebGL front-end.

alasdair asked: how can I block annoying HTML5 adverts?

Block by source via AdBlock? Installed on Chrome with Google Sync on... since then, I'm not aware of any ads, HTML5 or otherwise.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 6:47 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


i still don't get it. flash runs on hundreds of millions of devices and somehow because jobs didn't want it running on a fraction of that number people seem to think he is responsible for it's demise. somebody please explain.

Jobs didn't want it running on the major mobile platform. Sites that could otherwise just have used their existing Flash set up had to develop new non-Flash software to run on the iPhone and iPad, which is what they did.

Mobile is currently where all the innovating and development and new hotness is being done, across a number of industries. Not having Flash on mobile consigns Flash to desktop computing. That consigns it to The Past. Before long, the mobile replacements for Flash (which will by necessity be more efficient and hence faster) will make their way back to the desktop. At that point, Flash dies.

If Jobs had allowed it on the iPhone, sites wouldn't have hurriedly developed Flash-alternatives of their software. Those alternatives are what have killed Flash.
posted by fightorflight at 6:49 AM on November 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Another area where I think Flash deserves a little credit is the way in which it helped to spawn a whole new section of the gaming market. Thousands of developers got their first taste of game development through Flash. They got their work out there, cheaply and effectively, and nowadays many of those same developers have moved on to other platforms, such as iOS.

It's ironic that a cornerstone of the success of the iPhone - namely an app store full of things like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope, owes so much to the rise of casual gaming, and to Flash.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 6:49 AM on November 9, 2011


There is nothing wrong with the idea of Flash itself

Correct, nothing wrong with the idea. In theory, there's also nothing wrong with the idea of flying cars. But in practice, it kind of sucks.

but the control over it by Adobe has caused real problems for it. (On preview, what jklaiho said.) I agree that Jobs had a problem with Adobe as a company, but also it's possible that Flash was a bit too portable appy for their tastes, especially after the App Store started up.

Plus all the reasons Jobs outlined in his column. I mean, I have no doubt that Jobs had problems with Adobe. But to put his anti-flash stance on that alone is nonsense.

Adobe had every chance to prove Jobs wrong, to show that flash ran reliably on phones and tablets, and they failed. And if they were close, they wouldn't be giving up.

Clearly he had a problem with Adobe as a company for whatever reason.
posted by delmoi


Someone has a problem with a certain company, but you lack the self perception to get the exact players right.

Jobs was right, all the way from the start.
posted by Blazecock Pileon

i don't see any relationship between job's pig-headedness and adobe's decision.
posted by canned polar bear

That's kind of ridiculous conclusion to draw.
posted by delmoi


Wow, the mind boggles.
posted by justgary at 6:50 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


can only play a fraction of the full whack.

This is also not the case anymore. Back in 2007, the Youtube player did only play "most of" the videos on there, but for the last several years, all of youtube videos are encoded for flash-less playback.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:58 AM on November 9, 2011


If Jobs had allowed it on the iPhone, sites wouldn't have hurriedly developed Flash-alternatives of their software. Those alternatives are what have killed Flash.

dear lord. the iphone is not the only phone on the planet. please stop with these silly remarks.
posted by canned polar bear at 7:03 AM on November 9, 2011


"I know art school auteurs use Apple iphones to make serious art for uploading to Vimeo"

Is "art-school auteurs" an end-run around using the word "hipster" the way that comparing an opponent to Stalin or Pol Pot is around Godwin's Law?
posted by acb at 7:12 AM on November 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


Flash's demise was inevitable, but keeping it off of iStuff hastened its demise. As many have stated above, this is probably, on the whole, a good thing, but HTML5/Canvas game development is just not mature enough for your average indie Flash Game developer to pick up and run with. If Flash had been able to die a little bit more gracefully (Adobe? Product Death? Grace? Har!) then the gap might not have been so wide, but as it stands, I think in-browser gaming is going to see a pretty big lull until the non-Flash alternatives in this sphere get going a little better. (And I'm well aware that bigger game devs can and have been moving their stuff to HTML5. It's the one-man shows I worry about.)

Still: It's been a pleasure to be able to use Flash on Android phones when the need arises. It's rare, and I doubt I'll miss it much when it's gone for good, but any decent Android browser gives you the option to block all Flash content by default, and load only what you choose as needed. The ability to use Flash on Android on-demand was (and will remain until its gone) one of the many reasons why Android mobile philosophy is so much more attractive to me: Sure, flash on mobile might totally suck, but you can hide it until you need it, and it's there when you do.

I completely understand that this isn't for to everyone, and I whole-heatedly wish those folks a grand time with their iPhones. But for me, this sort of thing is exactly while I love Android.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:15 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd be overjoyed to see something like Panda3D based on web standards. Does anything like this exist yet?

Well, this is a year-old tech demo might give you an idea what's getting deployed now. Bear in mind when you're watching: that is a web page.
posted by mhoye at 7:15 AM on November 9, 2011


If they have any business and marketing sense, Flash will likely hold steady for the next decade or two as the inexpensive savior of the 2-D animation industry in North America, and if that's all it's left to be used for then it will be ranked as one of the most useful computer applications of my lifetime.

With Macromedia and Adobe having been one and the same for, what- six years now?- I remain amazed that they haven't done with it what they should have done since the beginning- establish Flash not as a great app-building tool but as hand-in-hand with PhotoShop and Illustrator as the premiere (no pun intended) motion graphics application.

Flash has been an awful choice for the internet for years now. Flash-based sites are outdated and abysmal for the precious, precious metadata and SEO needs of the 2010's. Meanwhile, there are countless software packages and coding platforms for both online and mobile games, but Adobe pretty much owns the American/Canadian market on non-3D animation at this point. It's cheaper, easier to use and more inherently known thanks to over a decade of web-savvy users at this point.

In short, you can make mobile apps with anything. You need Flash to make The Venture Bros. and My Little Pony. Carpe Diem, Adobe.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:16 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


dear lord. the iphone is not the only phone on the planet. please stop with these silly remarks.
You forget what 2007 was like. And the iPad is effectively the only tablet game in town. Jobs took a bet that users and sites would want iOS more than they wanted Flash, and was proved right.

Adobe could have fought back by making a decent mobile Flash and giving Apple's competitors a real selling point, but apparently couldn't, and now they have conceded.

Absolutely none of this would have played out had Flash been on iOS, or at least not with anything like this speed.
posted by fightorflight at 7:25 AM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


@mhoye

Well, this is a year-old tech demo might give you an idea what's getting deployed now. Bear in mind when you're watching: that is a web page.

I see a black web page with some text, and some music plays. None of the buttons at the top accept a click.

Firefox 8 / Windows 7 64-bit.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 7:28 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Adobe's executives stunned Jobs by flatly turning him down. The Macintosh had too few users to make it worthwhile. Jobs was furious and felt betrayed".

And yet the killed Logic for Windows because it only represented about 30% of the Logic market. Then there's Shake, killed off for Windows, double the price on Linux, and then killed off entirely. And in regard to Premiere, Apple's own Final Cut Pro X has shifted professionals directly to Premiere.
posted by juiceCake at 7:32 AM on November 9, 2011


Apple's own Final Cut Pro X has shifted professionals directly to Premiere.

Pretty sure most pros that jumped ship went [back to] Avid and not Premiere.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:36 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


GallonOfAlan: I see a black web page with some text, and some music plays. None of the buttons at the top accept a click.

Firefox 8 / Windows 7 64-bit.


Same for me, except not even any music, in the latest version of Chrome. So, this tech demo doesn't work in the two most modern web browsers available.
posted by gilrain at 7:41 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Of course, there's also the prevailing attitude among many people in IT that it's all been going to hell since they started letting ordinary people use the internet.

You mean I'm not the only one?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:41 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


> So, this tech demo doesn't work in the two most modern web browsers available.

Welcome to HTML5.
posted by foggy out there now at 7:42 AM on November 9, 2011 [11 favorites]


Just wanted to say, way up at the top, nickrussell's post explained to me the well-known hatred for Flash that so many designers spew without explanation, or with much poorer explanation.

Thank you.

Done in one, as the kids say these days.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:42 AM on November 9, 2011


Er, two.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:42 AM on November 9, 2011


You forget what 2007 was like. And the iPad is effectively the only tablet game in town.

in 2007 symbian was still the number one mobile OS. i can't find any hard figures but i don't think it's an exaggeration to say that over 400 million nokia devices alone have mobile flash as the adobe mobile flash site claims. i think in 2007 i still had my trusty n95 and that certainly had flash on it. really, the iphone is a drop of water in an ocean of mobile phones. these days samsung/htc/android have easily surpassed it in sales and market share. i wouldn't be suprised if it's the same for tablets. why do you think apple is suing everybody and their grandmother?
posted by canned polar bear at 7:43 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


haha oh wow
posted by entropicamericana at 7:47 AM on November 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


If I were Tim Cook I'd start demanding Flash for the iPhone just to shake things up a bit.
posted by mazola at 7:52 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


in 2007 symbian was still the number one mobile OS.

The numbers of handsets floating around absolutely does not correspond to the amount of mobile web usage. Tons of those phones didn't even have a mobile data plan, and the extent of their browsing was when somebody accidentally hit the "RINGTONE STORE" hardware button on the phone. The iPhone was the first phone where people numbering in the millions started using mobile phones as a "real" web browser.

Web sites put up special pages/style sheets to serve to the mobile phones with all-html5 and widgets because of that. You can even tell by the names of the URLs and such. Like, for instance the mobile Google Reader has /i/ at the end, not /android/.

Doesn't mean that i-devices are the only game in town, just that they were the first out in the wild that caused any real change.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:56 AM on November 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


really, the iphone is a drop of water in an ocean of mobile phones.

Whether that statement is true or not is irrelevant, as iOS makes up over 60% of mobile web browsing.
posted by esoterica at 7:56 AM on November 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


Whether that statement is true or not is irrelevant, as iOS makes up over 60% of mobile web browsing.

i can believe that. after buying an iphone people can't afford to buy anything else to browse on ;)
posted by canned polar bear at 8:01 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Pretty sure most pros that jumped ship went [back to] Avid and not Premiere.

I'm pretty sure that's not the case, though for sure it's not Premiere, but rather Premiere Pro. However, I have not seen stats on either moving to Premiere Pro or Avid so being sure of that is like talking out of our asses.

Many pros already have it as part of the Creative Suite. Transitioning is covered well here. Will also be covering moving to Avid and even perhaps Smoke but basically Premiere Pro has had a lot of positive response.
posted by juiceCake at 8:05 AM on November 9, 2011


> If it wasn't for Flash, we'd have all been playing games in Java applets, and we'd all be wishing death and dismemberment on whoever invented that technological aberration.

What do you think Flash is if not an "applet"?

Of course, now we're running the applets directly in the browser, written in a language that has its biggest promoters explicitly telling people to ignore or hack around its many flaws, and the killer new feature is the ability to draw your UI directly to a bitmap.

The marvels never cease.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 8:06 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


i can believe that. after buying an iphone people can't afford to buy anything else to browse on ;)

Yes, people regularly purchase several different types mobile phones for use at the same time.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:13 AM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Is "art-school auteurs" an end-run around using the word "hipster"

It would have been but I reserved hipster for this.

A hipster would actually use animated GIFs instead of SWF, because having a limited palette and making 10MB file for a 5 second looping animation is just like riding a fixie cross town.
posted by vicx at 8:14 AM on November 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


> Of course, now we're running the applets directly in the browser, written in a language that has its biggest promoters explicitly telling people to ignore or hack around its many flaws...


...we're talking about HTML5 here, right?
posted by kaseijin at 8:16 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


In terms of things to hate, Flash is an odd one. Sure people did hard to navigate web sites with it but we also got millions of games and .flv .

If they were to cancel flash altogether today we really have nothing to replace it. We have various bits and peices, canvas, SVG, javascript, but we have no tooling to make it approachable to anyone besides hardcore javascript ninjas. As it stands, without robust ui and graphics primative libraries canvas it is kind of a wash. At any rate, drawing everything to canvas isn't any better than flash.

I don't think this is the death of flash. It is just that for the most part video is moving away from .flv and nobody wants to play flash games on the iphone. For now, flash still has a place on the desktop. Going forward, I expect Adobe will figure out a way to emit javascript and can move flash off the plugin into canvas.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:17 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


SHIT GUYS, THE CIGARETTES MISSILES!
posted by Mister Fabulous at 8:19 AM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


kaseijin: "...we're talking about HTML5 here, right?"

He's referring to the web's new Assembly Language, fondly known as Javascript. There's a C++ compiler for it and everything.
posted by vanar sena at 8:20 AM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Say what you will about Flash, but I try not to be too glib when hearing that 750 people have lost their jobs.

Go ahead and be glib. Based on the experience of my friends, for IT professionals in Silicon Valley, theres barely any recession. With Apple on their resumes, probably 90% of those people will have new jobs within two months.

Anyway, this whole thing seems less like it has anything to do with Flash as a program, and more to do with Apple's war on any non-Apple application provider. I expect to see similar announcements regarding Acrobat and other Adobe products until Adobe is weakened enough to be snapped up by Google or Microsoft.

Were at only the beginning of the great consolidation. At the end of it there will only be three major conglomerates dealing with all aspects of the internet, and by extension, computers.
posted by happyroach at 8:22 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I dream of a day when restaurant websites will be usable...
posted by unsupervised at 8:24 AM on November 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


"Flash predates the existence of both Netscape and IE. It was Macromedia's second-string rich media format."
FutureSplash Animator came out in May 1996. In December 1996 FutureWave was acquired by Macromedia.

IE1, IE2 were both in 1995. IE3 came out in August 1995, it had support for ActiveX, which is how the FutureSplash plugin worked.

Netscape Navigator 1 - 1994, Netscape 2 - March 1996, Netscape 3 - August 1996.

Flash most certainly does not predate Netscape and IE.

Listen Flash is not dead. Flash has been struggling for relevance in a post-PC world because it is so dependent on the OS for its interaction model. Touch is different. Multitouch is even more different. I remember seeing a multitouch table at Art Center College a few years ago - it was really cool but it could not do true multitouch at the time, because why would Flash need to account for more than one cursor? The thing was continually scanning the image of the view field to get touch events - processor intensive but it worked well. I believe it's changed now, Flash can do multitouch, but Flash is built, version on version on the assumption that you're at a desktop PC or laptop PC with LOTS of memory and LOTS of processing power, working right along with Moore's Law. Mobile fucks all that up, and now performance matters a WHOLE DAMN LOT. Burn up my battery, fun little app? Well, I guess I won't be using you anymore. That experience is key. And Adobe has struggled to downsize that very rich platform to a mobile or tablet-sized experience. I don't gloat over this. In fact, I actually worry, because I work for a company for whom <audio> tag support is strategic, and it's not quite there. <video> is even worse (see brightcove white paper). Flash can make life easier for developers by smoothing out browser support issues. Of course, unix support was always a bit of a fly in the ointment, and eventually Win 3.1 was an issue -- Flash was never a "universal" solution, but it's a reasonable experience to get a flashy (forgive me) experience for a pretty wide audience.

Flash is fucking awesome and it has been a big part of my career. I started working with FutureSplash when it was new. It was really exciting at the time. The interactive effects that MSN and DOL were doing with FutureSplash and soon enough "Shockwave Flash" were really exciting. The technologies were coming hot and heavy. But I've been doing this long enough to know not to tie my star to any particular platform or technology.

I like this post of mine (another self link!comp.infosystems.www.authoring.site-design, this from 1999. Some joker was arguing that Microsoft's solution to vector graphics was best. I talk about SVG in there. It's a shame it's taken so long and SVG is still kind of a pain in the ass.

Now, Flash and iOS. Man, is it possible we can be civil about any of this? Take a walk around the block before commenting on that. Pro/Con/whatever -- it's fucking exhausting when this site turns so rancorous. Can we try for a dispassionate analysis on how iOS may have had a hand in this? Apple made the decision to not have other runtimes on their iOS platform for performance reasons. So, no Java applets on Apple. No Flash applets. No Silverlight applets. I think it's really that simple. Performance and security - Flash struggles with these - sometimes they do great, sometimes less. Flash got left out of iOS. iOS has gotten very popular. Android even more popular, but the financial rewards of mobile are going more to Apple than anyone else. It's possible they make good choices. Adobe haven't gotten Flash working on Mobile right, anecdotal device experience notwithstanding. It's simply not as reliable on mobile as it is on desktop.

I don't know what the impact of this decision is on me and my work, but I don't gloat about it. Flash going away on mobile makes my job probably harder, but I suspect it's been coming for a while. I personally wonder what jdowdell (longtime developer evangelist for Macromedia then Adobe). Adobe is having some kind of meeting today, I suspect we'll be hearing more on this. If there's enough of a certain kind of pushback, we may yet see interesting things happen to Flash for Mobile - maybe it will get open sourced for example?

As always in web technology, it's a mess.
posted by artlung at 8:27 AM on November 9, 2011 [17 favorites]


In terms of things to hate, Flash is an odd one.

People don't really hate Flash (though some do) so much as they hate the Flash runtime -- which has always honked on every platform apart from Windows.

This is down to Adobe's blinkered management, who effectively said "we don't need to care about anything other than Windows, ever. It's the biggest! What could go wrong?".

Well, for one thing it led to them to turn down Jobs when he asked for Premiere for OS X, which made an enemy of him, and led to iMovie and Final Cut, both apps they'd rather didn't exist. They then added insult to injury by dragging their feet on CS for OS X, too.

And because they'd done the bare minimum work on the shitty Mac port of Flash runtime, when they found themselves locked out of iOS (which is a Mac OS relative under the skin) they couldn't even demo an iPhone running Flash well.

And because they'd done even less work on the Linux port of Flash runtime, when they clutched at the Android straw (which is a Linux relative under the skin) ... well, Flash continued to honk.

Betting on Windows to the exclusion of everything else was a massive, massive mistake for Adobe. And surprising, given that they were the firm who flew to success symbiotically with the Mac.
posted by fightorflight at 8:29 AM on November 9, 2011 [17 favorites]


I believe it's changed now, Flash can do multitouch

Flash does multi-touch natively now, but it has been able to handle multi-touch since at least 2006 when I wrote an ActionScript 3 SDK for a multi-touch hardware vendor.
posted by ryoshu at 8:39 AM on November 9, 2011


i can believe that. after buying an iphone people can't afford to buy anything else to browse on ;)

The winky face indicates to me that you're trying to be funny. But wouldn't your statement have to be based on at least a grain of truth for that to be so?
posted by esoterica at 8:45 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


spitbull wrote: A couple of years ago I installed flash-blocking plugins on all the browsers in my life except mobile, where that doesn't yet seem to be an option.

Get a phone that can do it, or run Firefox Mobile? I use Flashblock on my phone because I'm mainly browsing on EDGE. I don't know what I'd do without the Instant Rimshot and the Sad Trombone on my phone.

Threeway Handshake wrote:

What?

On iOS, you can watch Youtube videos from youtube's mobile site, embedded youtube videos on regular pages, even youtube videos in the Metafilter player.


For what, the ~ 1 year that YouTube has supported HTML5 video? I'm talking about back in the annals of time before Youtube allowed you to get at their content through any interface other than Flash Video on the freakin' website. Why is it so hard for people to remember? Was it so traumatic that people choose to forget? WTF?

I grant that it's not terribly relevant today, but my point about playing YouTube videos using Flash on a phone with 32MB of memory and a 233MHz ARM CPU still stands. Flash is not inherently crappy. It has used very poorly at times, but the same BS can and will happen with HTML5 and friends, only it won't be so easy to ignore and will have even more compatibility issues. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
posted by wierdo at 8:45 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Flash is a tool. The skill with which it is used lies in the hand of the person(s) wielding it.

Case in point, I've led teams doing large screen touch interfaces in Flash for years. We've even done a 55" kiosk with multi-touch support using flash (and a third-party plug-in).

That being said, I still hate it...
posted by Mick at 8:47 AM on November 9, 2011


And since someone mentioned tablets, Amazon is getting the 1.5GHz (dual core) version of the Archos 80 in soon. This pleases me, for I have been waiting for Archos to get off their butts and get it out the door. The 1GHz version has been available for some time, but that seems weak.

I wonder if it supports Android Flash. Not that it really matters, since Adobe is killing it, sadly enough. So many Flash games I won't be able to play...
posted by wierdo at 8:49 AM on November 9, 2011


>If they have any business and marketing sense, Flash will likely . . .

Hold on XQUZYPHYR, imma let you finish but I just wanted to share this tweet:

"Adobe ceases development of mobile Flash, refocusing their efforts on market-leading installer and updater technology."

@splorp
posted by jeremias at 8:51 AM on November 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


And since someone mentioned tablets, Amazon is getting the 1.5GHz (dual core) version of the Archos 80 in soon. This pleases me, for I have been waiting for Archos to get off their butts and get it out the door. The 1GHz version has been available for some time, but that seems weak.

Since someone mentioned flash, anyone know when the new Canon Speedlite is coming out?
posted by esoterica at 8:52 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think the Speedlite runs Flash. Nikon's Speedlight, on the other hand...
posted by wierdo at 8:54 AM on November 9, 2011


I don't think the Speedlite runs Flash. Nikon's Speedlight, on the other hand...

Hmm, sarcasm foiled by inscrutability. I tip my hat to you.
posted by esoterica at 8:57 AM on November 9, 2011


I thought youtube was offering 3gp compressed videos on youtube mobile sites instead of straight flash compressed videos?
posted by andendau at 8:59 AM on November 9, 2011


For what, the ~ 1 year that YouTube has supported HTML5 video?

I think you might be confused? The entirety of Youtube was reencoded for H.264 in 2007. It started in June, and within a few months, the entire site was up on that format. Youtube also supports a few other formats, like WebM and 3GP. All new videos uploaded to it since then are always encoded for all the supported formats.

Youtube has supported H.264 for about four years now, not ~ 1.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:59 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, maybe not a surprise but Microsoft may bekilling silverlight.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:09 AM on November 9, 2011


Threeway Handshake wrote: Youtube has supported H.264 for about four years now, not ~ 1.

YouTube still doesn't have all the videos available on hardware devices that are available on the website. I should know, since I have about 13 different things, including televisions, that can do YouTube, and I'm constantly finding things that are on the website but aren't available on my STBs or other devices that don't go through the website.

Secondly, when they re-encoded has no bearing whatsoever on when they started to support HTML5 video, which they did not do in 2007.

Not that any of this has to do with my original point.
posted by wierdo at 9:14 AM on November 9, 2011


> The problem people have with Flash isn't a problem with technology, it's a problem with people - and
> those people will still be around doing the same shit with Adobe's forthcoming easy tools for HTML5.
> posted by dickasso at 5:27 AM on November 9

Before anything else the problem is with the technology. From the very start, a Flash site was a broken site. Can't view source. Can't save images. And the technology has continued to accrue brokenness as browsers have improved. Hey, tabbed browsing! Not on Flash sites, though. No "open link in new tab," navigation broken.


> IIRC, I read a review when Flash first came out on Android. Funny thing was that the Android browser,
> with flash disabled, was a bit faster than Mobile Safari. But turn Flash on and it was the clear loser.
> Why? Not because of nifty games or cool effects, but because it had to load a dozen Flash ads on every page.
> posted by sbutler at 4:21 AM on November 9 [7 favorites +] [!]

Ghod bless NoScript. One of my pleasantest moments on the web was accidentally clicking on a Gawker link with NoScript running, right after Gawker's site redesign v.1.0, and finding no content at all on the page. heh, Truth In Media.


> That the flash plugin couldn't crash the system is possibly the only positive thing that could be said
> for the Linux port. Why was/is it possible for a user-space process to crash a mac? Windows I can
> understand (graphics stack runs in the kernel), but I figured OS X would be immune to this.
> posted by vanar sena at 7:00 AM on November 9 [2 favorites +] [!]

Slight tangent, plugin-container.exe (which is Mozilla's sandbox for Flash to crash in) is no improvement. If anything, it makes it worse.
posted by jfuller at 9:30 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


What Adobe should have done is open up Flash entirely, every last bit of it. Open-sourcing saved Java from a potentially similar demise.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:33 AM on November 9, 2011


Hating on Flash is pretty much like preferring Potterville over Bedford Falls. For a long time, the web would have been a terribly poorer place without it, even though (like other web technologies) it has its flaws and it's been abused.

I will also point out for the apparently large number of people who don't know that there are *still* things Flash does that web standards will not let you do, and a larger number of things for which the hoops you have to jump through to do them verge on ridiculous. I'm sure eventually the standards-based solutions will get there, and I'm glad, given that's where I've invested my skillset, but in the meanwhile, show a little respect, and maybe whine a little less about your CPU load.

What's funny to me is that some of the same people who really hate Flash also hate IE for playing catch-up. Web standards are in the same boat in a lot of ways. Not to mention the people who want a browser VM to replace JavaScript but sneer at Flash.
posted by weston at 9:45 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


The worst thing about flash, which nobody seems to have mentioned, is websites that are completely flash-based. Search engines can't index them, and you can't link to an individual "page" in the flash container, just the swf itself. Linkable pages are fundamental to the web.

I love what it did for web video, and I love it for games, but now that there are alternatives for these uses, it's time is past.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 9:59 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


weston: "Not to mention the people who want a browser VM to replace JavaScript but sneer at Flash"

Maybe because the flash VM sucks, and is under the complete control of a company that has displayed serious lapses in user support? I mean, there are/were attempts to reimplement enough of Flash so that 64bit Linux users could watch Youtube videos. I doubt anyone could argue that this ridiculous waste of talent, motivation and time is an acceptable path for the future web.
posted by vanar sena at 10:06 AM on November 9, 2011


I know art school auteurs use Apple iphones to make serious art for uploading to Vimeo but if I had to choose between all the serious art made on an iphone and all the stuff that kids have made with pirated copies of flash over the years. I'll take the swfs every time.

The music isn't in the piano.
posted by Scoo at 10:08 AM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


>Before anything else the problem is with the technology. From the very
>start, a Flash site was a broken site. Can't view source. Can't save
>images. And the technology has continued to accrue brokenness
>as browsers have improved. Hey, tabbed browsing! Not on Flash sites,
>though. No "open link in new tab," navigation broken.
>posted by jfuller at 5:30 PM on November 9

Well... I agree with you that viewing source and saving images on right click would be nice but I don't think, in general, most web users view source or save images. Finding/reading source on a modern (minified) JS-based web app is at least as much of a pain in the ass as decompiling a swf, though. Also, the difficulty (not impossibility) of saving images and viewing source was certainly seen as a benefit by some rights holders.

Have you tried opening links in a new tab on most new-fangled JS based sites? It doesn't work like it should. First example (just because the tab is open): http://colorschemedesigner.com

You're excited about a web beyond Flash, but nothing will really change unless there's somehow a web beyond idiots - and it's really hard to be democratising and elitist at the same time!
posted by dickasso at 10:16 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


@DU

i mentally replace neckbeard with heckbeard

ok carry on
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:20 AM on November 9, 2011


if I had to choose between all the serious art made on an iphone and all the stuff that kids have made with pirated copies of flash

Why do we have to choose one to the exclusion of the other?


Various idiotic x vs. y technology arguments over the years include but are by NO means limited to:

Commodore vs. Atari (computers) (vs. more); Mac vs. PC; vi vs. emacs, Illustrator vs. Freehand, Postgres vs. MySQL, Navigator vs. Internet Explorer, Flash vs. HTML5. Android vs. iOS. I've overheard and participated in vehement and angry debates about all these and it's tedious.

Like Mick said: Flash is a tool.

posted by artlung at 10:24 AM on November 9, 2011


I've always regarded Flash on Android as a bug, not a feature.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:26 AM on November 9, 2011


The numbers of handsets floating around absolutely does not correspond to the amount of mobile web usage. Tons of those phones didn't even have a mobile data plan, and the extent of their browsing was when somebody accidentally hit the "RINGTONE STORE" hardware button on the phone. The iPhone was the first phone where people numbering in the millions started using mobile phones as a "real" web browser.

Totally agree that the iPhone/Mobile Safari caused a sea change here. Apple really changed mobile devices.

But the thing I've been struck by as I've been using circa 2004 symbian phones is how much more we *could* have been browsing the web pre-iphone if content providers had actually cared about accessibility instead of assuming, oh, everybody's using IE and maybe Firefox. The capability was there. I'm still using a Nokia 6820 to use Facebook today. Up until two months ago I could use GMail that way (now there's some weird HTTP gateway issue that has less to do with device capability and more to do with network configuration).

I think you could unify this discussion with the real problem with Flash, which is that many of the people deploying it didn't think about their audience beyond one single common profile.

Maybe because the flash VM sucks, and is under the complete control of a company that has displayed serious lapses in user support?

Enough of the runtime is open-spec'd for the purposes of creating a target that will let you manipulate the DOM and a fair bit more. The big problem with making a full-fledged play-any-swf runtime is still-proprietary media types and communication protocols. But if you're just talking about a browser VM target that can manipulate the DOM and display basic media capabilites, well, a Flash runtime fits the bill pretty well.

But most of the "JavaScript sucks" people aren't even particularly concerned about this; they're mostly complaining about how it doesn't have classes and optional static typing and the scoping rules they'd expect.
posted by weston at 10:26 AM on November 9, 2011


The winky face indicates to me that you're trying to be funny. But wouldn't your statement have to be based on at least a grain of truth for that to be so?

perhaps, but back to my original point, if hundreds of millions of devices running mobile flash didn't make it a success then i seriously doubt the fact that jobs didn't like it made much of a difference.

btw, the target on iOS was mobile apps and not really web browsing so how many people browse the web with iOS is irrelevant.
posted by canned polar bear at 10:30 AM on November 9, 2011


Adobe had every chance to prove Jobs wrong, to show that flash ran reliably on phones and tablets, and they failed. And if they were close, they wouldn't be giving up.

Exactly. Between performance issues and the fundamental assumption break, Flash was completely wrong on the iPad.

Jobs did the same thing to Motorola/IBM with the PowerPC. They needed to come up with CPU that performed well but didn't suck power like the G5/PPC970 -- an incredibly powerful hunk of Silicon for the time, but power hungry and thus useless for notebooks. So, the desktops were rocking G5s, but the notebooks -- Apple's biggest growing segment, were languishing on G4s.

End result -- the CPU change to Intel.*

It was another case of Market Wisdom saying one thing, and Apple saying "no, you're wrong." And the end result is manifest. Apple's death in the market proves....err...I mean, well, Apple can buy Dell from petty cash. Six times over.

Maybe, perhaps, Apple is actually good at this.


* And, of course, my prediction was Not Even Wrong. Mea maxima culpa.
posted by eriko at 10:46 AM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


As a Mac user Flash has been nothing but pain and suffering. I was so excited when I found Flash blocking, and Click to Flash. No, it hasn’t been worth it. The world would be a better place it Flash had never come to be, I’d have given it all up. The only good thing I can think of is Machinarium, and I didn’t know that was Flash until I tried to figure out why I lost all my saved games several times and had to start over. Because it’s Flash.
posted by bongo_x at 10:47 AM on November 9, 2011


it was as if hundreds of millions of devices running mobile flash suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.
posted by jfuller at 10:52 AM on November 9, 2011


Followup from my comment about the <audio> tag: areweplayingyet.org: "This is an open and public initiative to bring more harmony into HTML5 Audio implementations. The specifications are missing some features and sometime leaves room for interpretation. We want to un-mute the Web and make Audio rock! If you feel the same, you can report browsers bugs, write tests, fill issues and join our conversation."

This was just announced today.
posted by artlung at 10:58 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Before anything else the problem is with the technology. From the very start, a Flash site was a broken site. Can't view source. Can't save images. And the technology has continued to accrue brokenness as browsers have improved. Hey, tabbed browsing! Not on Flash sites, though. No "open link in new tab," navigation broken.

Which is the primary reason it's use has been in decline, well before iOS. For us, as developers of sites, we've been encouraging not using it for years because it doesn't play well with Google. I'd say Google (the search site) is the largest reason for the reduction in Flash simple because the foundation for getting good results for Google is using standards compliant semantic mark-up.

Of course it had it's place for some media uses and Canvas isn't even close yet and will have many of the same "issues" Flash has.

I've always regarded Flash on Android as a bug, not a feature.

Works perfectly fine on my Android device. Mileage and impressions and what's important to each of us obviously varies. Flash has never been a problem on the Macs we use either. My nieces play Flash games on the Mac all the time.
posted by juiceCake at 11:11 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


btw, the target on iOS was mobile apps and not really web browsing so how many people browse the web with iOS is irrelevant.

Any Flash content you consume is going to be almost always be through a web browser or other UIWebView-like container that renders web content. So how many people use a web browser does in turn dictate how successful various application layers (such as games or YouTube on Flash) will be.

I know it hurts to hear it, but Steve Jobs' gamble really did end up making a positive outcome for web users of all platforms. People may not remember it, but at the time, Adobe was once one of the gorillas in the room, and one that had to be acquiesced to. He deserves most of the credit for being the first one not to see the writing on the wall, but to write it clearly for everyone else to see, and, more importantly, to act on it.

I'd be curious to know what Google will do, now that Flash is no longer a selling point. Maybe they'll buy Adobe and keep Flash alive, in some reduced form.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:24 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


correct me if i'm wrong but at some point wasn't it possible to get native flash apps from the app store? a quick google turned up this link. even if the apps aren't native and launched through a browser it still makes web browsing statistics irrelevant because all the browser ends up being is a container. you purchase the app which is installed and launched. no web browsing involved. the end user doesn't care how the application is launched.

I know it hurts to hear it, but Steve Jobs' gamble really did end up making a positive outcome for web users of all platforms. People may not remember it, but at the time, Adobe was once one of the gorillas in the room, and one that had to be acquiesced to. He deserves most of the credit for being the first one not to see the writing on the wall, but to write it clearly for everyone else to see, and, more importantly, to act on it.

that's a really vague statement. which writing on the wall? how on earth was adobe ever the gorilla in the room? in which domain? were they forcing people to use flash or something? i must have blacked out in a drunken stupor for the past 15 years to have missed this.

I'd be curious to know what Google will do, now that Flash is no longer a selling point. Maybe they'll buy Adobe and keep Flash alive, in some reduced form.

are you referring to flash on android? i don't think that's a major selling point for any android device. it's just an additional feature which can sometimes be nice to have.
posted by canned polar bear at 12:00 PM on November 9, 2011


so, canned polar bear, what's your explanation for adobe abandoning flash like this? (if only just to keep this thread from from too much sterile polemic.)
posted by progosk at 12:05 PM on November 9, 2011


it's very simple. developers are writing native apps for mobile platforms and adobe wasn't making any money from mobile flash so they ditched it. also, it's being made obsolete by html5. it's just a natural evolution of technologies. nothing mysterious.
posted by canned polar bear at 12:17 PM on November 9, 2011


weston wrote: But the thing I've been struck by as I've been using circa 2004 symbian phones is how much more we *could* have been browsing the web pre-iphone if content providers had actually cared about accessibility instead of assuming, oh, everybody's using IE and maybe Firefox. The capability was there. I'm still using a Nokia 6820 to use Facebook today. Up until two months ago I could use GMail that way (now there's some weird HTTP gateway issue that has less to do with device capability and more to do with network configuration).

Once Symbian got a WebKit browser (2005, I think?), accessibility wasn't really a huge issue since Nokia (or the KDE folks who originally wrote WebKit) did a half decent job of making the page reflow decently on most sites. Of course, that didn't help a whit if everything was Flash and designed for high resolution screens.

There were a few things that came together to catalyze mobile web browsing. First, the large screen. Few phones had decent sized screens at the time the iPhone came out. I was freakin' ecstatic when I got an E61, largely because of the huge-seeming screen. Secondly, carriers didn't really push data plans per se pre-iPhone, other than AT&T Wireless' inscrutable mMode campaign. They were just trying to sell you a more expensive version of an SMS plan. Thirdly, the initial lack of third-party applications. This got early adopters web browsing, and it carried over even after Apple "opened" up the iPhone.

These days, it's not at all an iPhone-only thing, though. Earlier today I saw a guy killing some time using his Blackberry's web browser.

Back on the actual topic of the thread, other than OSX and Linux users, who obviously make up a small minority of all users, most people don't really have a problem with Flash. If they do, it's more of a problem with websites done entirely in Flash and Flash ads, both of which are, always have been, and always will be completely idiotic. I couldn't give two shits if there's some animation playing in the corner of the page, or a nice little slideshow or whatever, as long as the important stuff is in plain HTML.

But as was said earlier, not a few websites out there use stupid Javascript tricks that break navigation and open in new tab functionality. It's not just a Flash problem, it's an ignorant developer problem.
posted by wierdo at 12:23 PM on November 9, 2011


Well, I'm going to take a position contrary to everyone I this thread and say I liked java in the browser. It gave you, essentially the same thing as javascript and canvas today back in 1996 or whatever, someone even had mpeg decoding.

The problem was that it was TOO powerfull at the time and it let bad developers write bad code (it also took too long for the jre to load at first). Flash on the otherhand was much more limited. You just had animations with simple scripting of events.

Eventually, flash got to have the same level of expressiveness as java, but by then computers were much more powerfull. Java applets today are pretty rare, but they're usually really quick (atleast on windows). And now that so popular, bad programmers write bad flash apps, and flash is getting a reputation as an annoying platform (particularly for ads)
posted by delmoi at 12:34 PM on November 9, 2011



> are you referring to flash on android? i don't think that's a major selling point for any android device. it's just an additional feature which can sometimes be nice to have.


You might want to ask Samsung about that. (If you can stand to listen to more than 10 seconds of terrible faux-ska).
posted by jeremias at 12:36 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


oof, you scared me. i thought it was going to be a video all about flash on their tablet.
posted by canned polar bear at 12:42 PM on November 9, 2011


Jobs was right, all the way from the start.

Jobs was right about Flash sucking, but then, every developer and computer user was already saying that 10 years before his shocking revelation.

Jobs was wrong to tell me what software I'm allowed to run on a device I own.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:47 PM on November 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


Have you tried opening links in a new tab on most new-fangled JS based sites? It doesn't work like it should. First example (just because the tab is open): http://colorschemedesigner.com

This problem (Ctrl-click or 3rd-button click not opening links in new tabs) is growing exponentially!
posted by mrgrimm at 12:47 PM on November 9, 2011


Keep in mind that with both Flash and the PowerPC, Apple gave the third party provider years of guidance on what they needed to do in order to get their shit together. Both times, the ball was dropped, and Apple moved on. It's not like Apple isn't willing to work with third parties, you just have to be able to do what they want.

And, well, 800lb gorilla and all, you either do what he wants or ...
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:55 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Adobe/Flash Mobile essay by a Flash developer at Google.
posted by artlung at 1:00 PM on November 9, 2011


Choice quote:
What bothers me most is the utter disregard Adobe has for its developer community in the way this is communicated. This is not the company I’ve grown to know and love, this is not how you treat your most loyal customers and passionate evangelists.

Just weeks ago thousands of people came to the annual MAX conference in Los Angeles to hear about Adobe’s plans and roadmap. Not a word was mentioned about abandoning development on Flash Player for mobile, is this how confident Adobe is about its decisions it can’t defend them in front of their user base?
posted by artlung at 1:03 PM on November 9, 2011


What bothers me most is the utter disregard Adobe has for its developer community[…]"

Adobe has utter disregard for all of their customers. Virtually every new feature they have added to any of their software in the past several years has felt grafted on, while the user experience of their software keeps getting worse and worse. Photoshop, just to name one example, is a bloated mess of a program that keeps adding new ways to do the same thing in slightly improved yet incompatible ways, but keeps every single older way still sitting there clogging up the interface (even though they did rewrite the entire interface in — ironically — Flash Panels a few years ago, which brought its own huge set of inconsistencies and other problems). What used to be elegant, attractive, cleverly designed software is now bloated, ugly, glitchy.

And to my mind, the design of software matters when you make design software.

Related: Adobe UI Gripes
posted by esoterica at 1:24 PM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


> Related: Adobe UI Gripes

[Flash 10 is required to watch video]

Oh well, I'm with you in spirit.
posted by jfuller at 1:34 PM on November 9, 2011


it's very simple. developers are writing native apps for mobile platforms and adobe wasn't making any money from mobile flash so they ditched it. also, it's being made obsolete by html5. it's just a natural evolution of technologies.

Nothing natural about it. Developers are writing native apps because Apple made them. You think if Flash was viable they wouldn't be writing lowest-common-denominator apps once and then getting to run the exact same app on iOS, Android and Symbian? They totally would.

Likewise the drive for html5 has come from people who want websites to work on mobile where Flash has failed them.

The promise of Flash -- abstract away the browser, write once -- was huge. This was Adobe's to lose. Which they did.
posted by fightorflight at 1:47 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


oof, you scared me. i thought it was going to be a video all about flash on their tablet.

Keep watching.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:55 PM on November 9, 2011


You think Flash sucks because you don't like banner ads? Just wait until you have every idiot scripter in the world running javascript that doesn't play nice on your browser.

You'll be looking back in nostalgia.
posted by lumpenprole at 1:58 PM on November 9, 2011


are you referring to flash on android? i don't think that's a major selling point for any android device.

You might want to let Toshiba know that too.
posted by esoterica at 2:03 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Photoshop, just to name one example, is a bloated mess of a program that keeps adding new ways to do the same thing in slightly improved yet incompatible ways, but keeps every single older way still sitting there clogging up the interface... the design of software matters when you make design software.

My suspicion is that a good chunk of the problem with Photoshop would go away if people stopped using it for Illustrator and Fireworks are better suited for.
posted by weston at 2:04 PM on November 9, 2011


The promise of Flash -- abstract away the browser, write once -- was huge.

Not just a promise, they had a helluva good run as the dominant platform for multimedia.

This was Adobe's to lose. Which they did.

Well, Flash has called 'Uncle' in mobile, yes, but Flash/Flex etc is not dead.

The multimedia world has gotten even more fragmented lately.
posted by artlung at 2:45 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


>>> are you referring to flash on android? i don't think that's a major selling point for any android device. it's just an additional feature which can sometimes be nice to have.

>>You might want to ask Samsung about that. (If you can stand to listen to more than 10 seconds of terrible faux-ska).
posted by jeremias at 3:36 PM on November 9 [1 favorite +] [!]

>oof, you scared me. i thought it was going to be a video all about flash on their tablet.
posted by canned polar bear at 3:42 PM on November 9 [+] [!]


Well, I'm very literal when I get into my pointless internet scuffles, cause you first said "I don't think [Flash] is a major selling point for any android device". So I posted the official Samsung video in which support for Flash is a major selling point for their Android device.

But apparently I was supposed to link to a video "all about flash on their tablet".

Such as this 5 minute co-sponsored video from HP and Adobe which is all about Flash on the HP Slate tablet. Sorry, make that the HP "iPad Killer" Slate tablet.
posted by jeremias at 2:58 PM on November 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


You might want to let Toshiba know that too.

I'm sure the four people that bought one are thrilled with the flash support.
posted by empath at 2:59 PM on November 9, 2011


Just wait until you have every idiot scripter in the world running javascript that doesn't play nice on your browser.

Fortunately you have control over what javascript may or may not do in your browser. Obviously most of us don't want to get down and dirty with the details of that, but every day there are better browser extensions for limiting what websites may or may not do.

The evil of flash isn't just that it's a pig, it's that it's an opaque pig. It's doing some evil shit and you have no visibility into or control over what that shit is. All you can do is allow it all or block it all.

Not that anyone really wants a transparent pig. Kind of a mixed metaphor there.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:02 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would like a transparent pig. If it glows in the dark, that will be even better.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:10 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


A pig shaped light bulb. My million dollar idea. I'll give you 1% of the net for coming up with the pig.
posted by wierdo at 3:24 PM on November 9, 2011


Oh, hey...
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:28 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would like a transparent pig. If it glows in the dark, that will be even better.

Pedantry: If it actually glows, I don't think it can be transparent. Translucent, maybe?
posted by weston at 4:00 PM on November 9, 2011


My suspicion is that a good chunk of the problem with Photoshop would go away if people stopped using it for Illustrator and Fireworks are better suited for.

My take on it is that have old undocumented code that they can't touch, along with terrible user interface designers, and, worst, no balls to change an antiquated way of doing something if it means changing the interface. So we're stuck with effectively deprecated things like destructive filters, adjustments, and transforms, all found in the same place they were fifteen years ago, even though non-destructive versions of each are available, except with the huge limitation that you have to "convert to smart object" to use non-destructive transforms, and "convert for smart filters" to use non-destructive filters (but "converting" for each carries its own set of limitations which are in no way apparent), and the UIs for non-destructive adjustments (Adjustment Layers) are not only completely different from that of the UIs for the destructive ones, but shoved off in a poorly designed "Adjustments" (not "Adjustment Layers") Flash Panel… oh but you can also add them from yet another pull-down in the Layers Palette… while the destructive adjustments are in a menubar menu, called, also, "Adjustments"… it's an unmitigated UI disaster.
posted by esoterica at 5:02 PM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well, I'm going to take a position contrary to everyone I this thread and say I liked java in the browser.

It could have been good, but the JVM startup time was too long. Java was huge for what it was supposed to do in the browser. Java's technology was great at the time, don't get me wrong, but it was misapplied (and I believe the market agrees with me, now that Java is huge on the server where it belongs).

My dream would've been lua VMs in every browser with some sound and graphics APIs thrown in. The lua VM screams, it's got an open-source implementation that was designed from the beginning to be embedded in other exes, and the lua language has fewer warts than Java, JS, or AS.
posted by Jpfed at 6:21 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


and the lua language has fewer warts than Java, JS, or AS.

..except in the documentation department where it blows goats. But yeah, that would have been cool.
posted by lumpenprole at 8:29 PM on November 9, 2011


Oh, hey...
Cute.
posted by delmoi at 6:26 PM on November 10, 2011


What Adobe could have said:
Adobe’s goal is to help you create engaging content. Flash has served that goal for more than a decade, often inspiring new features of HTML, and has been very popular on mobile devices as well as the desktop.

However, HTML5 is now supported on more devices than Flash, and we’re excited about it. We’re committed to HTML5, so Flash Player 11.1 will be our last version for mobile devices, except for bug fixes and security updates (though source code licensees may still release their own implementations). Instead, we’ll focus on helping Flash developers create Adobe AIR apps for the major app stores.

We’re still actively working on Flash Player for PCs, and the recent new version 11 introduced exciting features like hardware accelerated 3D graphics and HD video. We plan to keep driving innovation online, and we’re devoted to web standards.

We think the future is bright for Flash and HTML5, and we can’t wait to see it.
posted by weston at 8:56 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pedantry: If it actually glows, I don't think it can be transparent. Translucent, maybe?

Technical one-upmanship to your pedantry, weston.

Transparent materials can glow; transparency is caused by a lack of both absorption (which causes opacity) and reflection (which causes shininess). Glowing is caused by re-emission of stored energy, which could either be from radioactivity, or previous exposure to higher-energy light (which, since the medium is presumed to be transparent, would be really inefficient, because that means absorption is so low as to be nearly zero).

So, obviously, the metaphor we're looking for is a radium-impregnated clear glass pig.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:37 PM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


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