July 20, 2015

Flash is Dead but Not if You are on a Desktop

The Wall Street Journal on Monday gave what they called the obituary of Adobe’s (NewsAlert) Flash. It pointed out that Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos suggested that Adobe scrap Flash.

Now the Wall Street Journal did an adequate job of talking about the companies that lead the way in moving away from Flash. They talk about Jeremy Allaire’s Brightcove and Microsoft’s (News Alert) initial effort to push Silverlight as an alternative.

What WSJ missed was who was going to be coping with the aftermath. Companies like Mattel, Pogo, and Zynga (NewsAlert), plus a lot of other legacy gaming companies are in trouble. There is a lot of retro coding that has to take place. Candidly the lack of adoption of alternatives is a more interesting story.

Streaming Media points out that on the video side Desktops are still Flash oriented. Every major broadcaster and several large media outlets are still relying on Flash. 

Now why is it that the Desktop is slow to migrate?

Three Reasons:

1. Organizational structure

It’s clear that the folks in charge of mobile development are in a different group than the folks in the desktop for most companies. The result is that the battles that have been in the news about mobile, “Are NOT the Droids” they are working for on desktops.

2. Browser Wars

We all say HTML5, but the reality is there is no consistency on implementations. Some are laggards, some are deliberately going it alone. Bottom line, you can drive yourself nuts supporting the variables, so Flash is still the best answer to a bad situation.

3. Sheer Volume of Rewrite

Flash has been used to create a lot of little objects. The bottom line is a “Flash” cut would be very hard to accomplish in a short time, so a major rewrite would take too long.

Ultimately some version of a standard will be adopted, and the death certificate will be complete. However, in the meantime we are dealing with a very lively zombie.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino


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