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Goodbye, Flash.

On the 25th January 2017, Adobe announced the end of Flash Player (and I blogged about it). A few days ago, it all officially ended. Although with everything else going on right now you might not have noticed it, but a crucial piece of the web's history has been shutdown.

For those not in the know, before web browsers were as capable as they are today (before we had the HTML5 Canvas and all the other modern apis), Adobe put together a browser plugin called Flash Player.

This plugin - at the time - revolutionised the way content was displayed in your browser. Far from static pages containing animated GIFs or a little bit of Javascript to add the odd effect, Flash allowed developers to deliver interactive content in a way that wasn't possible before - and all you had to do was install a simple browser plugin.

I'm quite sure that sites like Newgrounds, Orisinal, and Nitrome wouldn't have existed if it weren't for Flash.

It was recognised that an update to the HTML 4.01 standard (and associated standards, such as CSS and Javascript) were clearly needed. Fast forward a few years, and HTML5 was born (it was about this time that my programming journey started, and although I played with the Flex SDK and ActionScript 3 - the language flash player content was written in, I ultimately decided to learn Javascript instead).

With it, came all sorts of Javascript APIs such as WebGL and the HTML5 Canvas - and the beginning of the end for Flash. Suddenly, Flash didn't seem necessary any more - since browsers had become capable enough to do what flash does on their own, and libraries such as three.js and game engines such as Phaser were invented to take advantage of these new capabilities.

Naturally, Flash's demise was sure to follow. I agree that turning Flash off is the best thing to do. At the same time though I can't help but feel that there should have been more fanfare about it, and the legacy that Flash is leaving behind.

Thankfully, due to the amazing efforts of BlueMaxima's Flashpoint, over 70 thousand games have been preserved for all to see and play well into the future.

Goodbye, Flash. I'll miss you - you were the first chapter in a much longer tale.

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