Adobe has pulled the plug on Flash Professional, the web animation tool, but the Flash platform will have quite a while to go before it breathes its last breath.
News of the death of Flash comes subtly hidden in Adobe’s announcement of Animate CC, the new tool that will replace Flash Pro come January 2016. It’s a quiet acknowledgment of HTML5, which now accounts for more than a third of all content developed on Flash Pro, and other animation formats that are seen to surpass Flash in the near future, including WebGL and 4K.
In a way, the name change is the symbolic first step away from Flash, but Adobe says it will continue to provide support for the platform – a balanced move, given how much of the Web still uses Flash. In fact, Adobe is already working on the next version of Flash Player, which it says will have several “exciting features.”
“There continues to be a huge amount of Flash content out there, especially video and gaming content, and we plan to do all we can to keep Flash Player stable and secure because it is the responsible thing to do,” Adobe tells Wired.
It’s not just a name change, however. Animate CC will come with a host of sleeker, more powerful features. These include vector art brushes, 360-degree rotating canvas, easier audio syncing and improved pencils and brushes. It will also include CreativeSync integration to allow users access to Adobe Stock and Adobe’s Creative Cloud Libraries.
Adobe makes it clear that Animate CC will still support Flash as a platform, but dropping the Flash from its name is the first sign signifying Adobe’s intent to veer away from the animation standard of old and opening up to newer, faster, more secure platforms.
Although riddled with bugs and bloatware, Flash was useful in its heyday, having opened up the World Wide Web to the colorful, interactive content that bombard its users every day. Its days, however, as numbered, and the countdown began when Steve Jobs himself wrote an op-ed explaining why Apple devices will never support Flash because of its numerous security problems.
“We […] know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash,” Jobs said in 2009. “We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now. We don’t want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash.”
More recently, Facebook and Amazon publicly called for an end to Flash, following numerous reports of targeted cyberattacks exploiting security holes in the platform.