Adobe Flash helped bring the Internet to life with slick graphics, games, animation, and apps, but its days are surely numbered: Adobe announced today that it’s rebranding Flash Professional CC as Animate CC. The company says that Animate CC will be “Adobe’s premier web animation tool for developing HTML5 content.”
Certainly, the Web is a different beast from two decades ago when the first vestiges of Flash started to appear. HTML5 and WebGL are now common, and Flash Pro already supports them. Indeed, more than a third of all content created in Flash Pro is HTML5, according to Adobe, so this is more a “repositioning” as it looks to distance itself from Flash and align itself with current and future standards.
This doesn’t mean it’s ceasing support for Flash, far from it.The updated software, which will be out in early 2016, will still support the creation of Flash (SWF) and AIR formats “as first-class citizens,” according to Rich Lee, Adobe’s senior product marketing manager. It also said that it’s already working on Flash Player 12 and “a new round of exciting features.”
Flash’s downfall has been a gradual process. Apple didn’t support Flash on iPhones, and Steve Jobs famously penned a thought-piece on the platform, where he referred to the “closed” nature of a software that was created for a bygone era. “Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers,” he said.
Adobe killed its Flash player for mobiles back in 2011, and the writing has been on the wall for the broader Flash realm ever since. In 2015 alone, Flash vulnerabilities have led to targeted attacks, Twitch revealed that it’s switching to HTML5, Google Chrome started pausing “less important” Flash content, Amazon stopped accepting Flash ads, while both Facebook and Mozilla called for an end to the software.
Adobe said that it’s “committed to working with industry partners to help ensure the ongoing compatibility and security of Flash content,” and revealed that it’s working with Facebook to ensure that Flash games still work. “Facebook will report security information that helps Adobe improve the Flash Player,” said Adobe.
So Flash isn’t dead yet. There are still too many games and videos that use Flash to simply pull the plug on it, but it’s clear where the future lies. Ditching “Flash” from a key product name is a symbolic step.
“Looking ahead, we encourage content creators to build with new Web standards and will continue to focus on providing the best tools and services for designers and developers to create amazing content for the Web,” it continued.