December 10, 2019 when fiction join reality, that’s it Flash is dead
On that day, Barry Allen answered the call and made the ultimate sacrifice and was killed while saving the Multiverse from the Anti-Monitor …
Sorry got carried way, that’s “the” Flash story (check out Crisis on Infinite Earths)
or check out the DC comic
Now in our world of digital tech, “the Monitor” is Google and the “Multiverse” is the many different tech you can use to build apps
Flash, the browser plugin, is not completely dead yet, but soon to be erased from all browsers.
A recent post on Hacker News can be interesting to look at to put things in perspective
Founder came back after 8 years to rewrite Flash photo editor in Canvas/WebGL
The service was grown to over 60 million users back in ~2012 and got aquired by Autodesk. After some years most, if not all people working with the product was reassigned and or left. Still with millions of weekly users but no one that cared.
Autodesk sold it for near to nothing and the new owners contacted me (org founder) and asked me if I wanted to get involved somehow. So we build a new product from scratch since the original app was 100% Flash and we are just month away from a completely browser block
But to make Flash works inside Google Chrome, you get faced with this
and you have to click the on/off button to obtain this
to then finally go back to the page and finally click “Allow”
and all that is only during your current browser session, if you kill Chrome and restart it again you will have to go through all that shit again, for every sites where you want to enable Flash
yeah that is disgusting, thanks to those Google mofos
but when it comes to have video advertising, oh those ones autoplay into your face, scroll down with the page, and as long as they did not play till the end you can not stop/remove them … bastards grrrr
that is the modern web experience today
- GDPR / Cookies popup
- Please don’t use Adblock popup
- Desktop notifications popup
- Download the App popup
- Finally, the content
- “Subscribe to our newsletter!” popup after 1 minute
So even if your users love you or love your apps, it is very unlikely they gonna click to all that just to enable Flash, at best they see some annoying popup, they hate it, and want to get ride of it, but going through the settings with the specific wording used by Google, there is no way users will enable Flash.
That make Flash dead into the water.
But that’s not the only that changed … the way people build web apps is also very different
are exactly the reason why I say you can not escape the command-line anymore
The same way the “barrier to entry” is too high to just view Flash content,
building web content nowadays followed the same route, the complexity is too high.
It is very unlikely that some user will right-click “view source” on web app built with some Angular JS, Vue JS, etc. and be able to learn and understand “what’s going on”.
Its 99% Typescript and we don’t use any premade js frameworks, everything was written from scratch (except for some font loader and zip), ui, rendering, webgl filters etc etc.
All the knowledge of how Photo Editing works came out of building the original products back in the day, there is more information about the field today to be found written online but much is still secrets kept at a few companies.
The browsers is really a shitty environment to be writing this kind of apps in, performances is a struggle in every step
I’m not saying that Flash was perfect, there too you could struggle about performance, and for certain type of apps Flash was definitively not the right tool
still… the death of Flash also mark the end of an Era
a certain way of having a low barrier to entry to build interactive apps for the web
I will say it: there is a crisis in web development
and Flash missing in the dev toolbox only show even more that crisis