What Is Macromedia Flash?
Macromedia Flash is a tool that allows powerful animations, interactive features and other complex elements to be embedded in Web pages.
It got its start in the mid-'90s as an animation tool called FutureSplash, built by a company called FutureWave. FutureWave distributed a tool called FutureSplash Animator that content creators could use to build cartoons. It also provided a second product called FutureSplash Player, which was an early Web browser plugin that could make the animations appear on websites that featured them.
ActionScript and the Interactive Web
ActionScript enabled developers to build complex interactive content into Flash files, which would be automatically shown when users visited websites with them loaded. Macromedia soon also released enhanced video support for the language at a time when internet video mostly required one browser plugin or another to work with any reliability. Sophisticated games and applications were built with Flash, as well as early versions of products like YouTube.
In 2005, Adobe acquired Macromedia, and the product has recently been known as Adobe Flash.
The Decline of Flash
Although Flash was widely used on desktop and laptop computers, it's never been supported by the iPhone. The platform was, among other things, too slow for early versions of the iPhone, and at the time the device came out, the Web languages built into browsers were getting more powerful.
The decision not to support Flash also encouraged many businesses to rebuild their Flash applications as smart phone apps.
By 2016, browser-makers including Google and Microsoft began to block Flash content by default amid concerns about performance and security. And, as of 2017, Adobe says it will stop distributing its Flash Player by 2020, encouraging content-makers to migrate their videos, animations and interactive features to newer technologies.
- The History of the Web: Flash and Its History on the Web
- Adobe: Adobe Flash Player
- Adobe: ActionScript3
- Chetu: HTML5 vs Flash: The Technical Perspective
- CNET: YouTube's Video Pick Spells Doom for Adobe Flash
- The Verge: Adobe Will Finally Kill Flash in 2020
- The Verge: Google is Replacing Flash in Chrome Once and for All
- Adobe: Flash and the Future of Interactive Content