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What is Flash?
Flash, previously called "Macromedia Flash", became Adobe Flash in 2005. For a while, it was a really popular tool to integrate fast-loading animation and video into websites.
Unfortunately, there's a lot of downsides to Flash animation - including being difficult to edit and finicky, there are a number of security concerns, so it's not automatically supported by all browsers.
Two Flash Site Examples
We're including videos here because Flash is already difficult to view on some computers and internet browsers and isn't going to be supported for much longer.
Poke the Penguin: Online Flash Game
Poke the Penguin is a free-to-play Flash game hosted by Gamesville that came out in the 1990s. To play, click your mouse on the penguin until it gets mad and reacts. It has multiple kinds of reactions. Play it here.
We Choose the Moon: Flash Website
WeChooseTheMoon.org was designed in 2009 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Lunar landing by developing an interactive recreation of the event. The site uses Flash to mesh archival video, audio, & photos into an experience that will make you feel as if you too had walked on the moon that day.
Flash Sunset Date: December 2020
The use of Flash on websites severely declined starting in 2010, when Steve Jobs announced that the Adobe Flash Player would not work on the iPhone - primarily because Flash couldn't accommodate the touchscreen. In order to have Flash work on your computer right now, you may have to:
- manually download Adobe Flash Player,
- make sure your browser is set to allow it, and
- sometimes you even have to approve playing Flash on each website.
So, today Adobe announced that they will stop updating & distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020, encouraging those who use it to migrate any existing Flash content to newer formats.
What does this mean?
If your website uses Flash, it will stop working at the end of 2020. This gives you 2 1/2 years to budget for and launch a new website. And those of who love to bring back that nostalgic feeling by occasionally poking a penguin until it gets mad... We just have to hope that the folks maintaining those websites will do the same.