Flash – Why can’t we all get along?

Wednesday, 22 July 2015  |  Posted in: Articles  |  2min read

In July, Mozilla banished Adobe Flash from its Firefox browser. Apple refuses to allow Flash on it’s iPhone models and restricts usage on other Apple products to versions newer than and But why is an application touted as being used by 98% of desktop users worldwide being dropped by these major brands?

Adobe Flash is not just a cute app that allows the display of graphic animations and play media – it’s actually a development platform all to its own. That’s where the problem lies. There are a couple of key issues:

1)      Security concerns. Flash is riddled with vulnerabilities making it prone to hacks. A list of the ‘510’ current issues can be found here. In a tight market like SmartPhones as an example, a piece of software that crashes the unit or transmits your personal saved details would be disastrous. iPhone highlighted this from day 1 and banned Flash altogether, spawning the rise of HTML5 as an alternative.

2)      As a development platform, Flash can allow other applications to hide and run/operate within Flash itself. What this poses is a threat to brands like Apple who have an app for everything – at a price. Apps can be embedded in Flash and do things that companies like Apple would charge for. Lost revenue for additional services would be a larger issue than the security risks – which can at least have patches written for them. Never stand in the way of a company’s ability to generate revenue that fuels growth…..and jobs.

Adobe have committed themselves to working with brands like Apple to try and resolve their conflicts and bring balance to the force – but most circles of gossip, rumour and innuendo have suggested that this is as likely to eventuate as Kanye West letting an acceptance speech go uninterrupted.

Here at The Digital Embassy, we typically develop using HTML5 as best practice for the reasons stated above, and for its mobile compatibility and semantic markup. Since iOS and many Android devices don’t support Flash, the app is bound to PCs. According to IDC’s 2015 market report global demand for desktop and portable PCs are continuing to decline as consumers continue to replace their old PC’s with mobile and tablet devices.

Image source Flickr.com, username: Jodel Cuasay
Used under the Creative Commons licence


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