It’s fascinating to me just how much people hate Flash. I’m in that camp as well, for reasons I’ll get to in a second. But with news
of its death – finally… well, in 2020
– yesterday, everyone was all up in arms again about the technology.
I suppose a big part of the hatred is just how unusable Flash made a large swath of the web for a time in the mid-to-late 2000s. This is because while the format may have been created for good, many folks, notably advertisers, started using it for very bad things, like resource-hungry ads. As such, browsers at the time often seemed to slow to a crawl, or often crashed, from simply browsing around the web.
This is undoubtedly a big part of what led to Steve Jobs’ famous “Thoughts on Flash
” in 2010, in which he swiftly ripped apart the technology (and Adobe), while explaining why Apple wasn’t going to allow it in the iPhone. Performance. Security. Battery life. Touch. Tools. His (and Apple’s) strong stance further entrenched the camps. Either Apple was going to be doomed by their arrogance, or Flash would be doomed without Apple.
It would be the latter, of course.
And rightfully so. Look, Flash had its moments, and certainly its reasons for existing (see: Jeffrey Veen’s tweetstorm
on the matter). But thinking back to my days as a front-end web developer in the 2000s, it was already the bane of my existence back then. It was a crutch people used at the time instead of web standards. And again, it was just an awful, awful resource hog.
The world moved on, and so did Adobe, clearly
. And we’re all better – as is the web – for it.