After thoughts on Flash

So, the bell has tolled its final chime for Adobe’s Flash.

I have to say I look back on the Flash days with fondness and affinity. For me personally, Flash opened up the internet as a much richer place creatively. It encouraged experimentation and an embracing of rich media, perhaps it was ahead of its time, but if it wasn’t for HTML5, Canvas and the likes of Javascript libraries such as three.js filling its sizeable shoes now, the web would be one hell of a boring place.

Sure, there were some serious usability sins being committed with it as highlighted by Jakob Nielsen, but there were also some major innovations and creative energy ignited by it. Yes, it had its faults and Steve Jobs was right calling it out at the time for its processor hungry mobile consumption along with its security flaws. It was right for the time though, and I’m sad to see it go, but alas, new paths and means will always be found by those creatively aligned types that were drawn to Flash’s capabilities in the first place. Sadly, I saw lots of them depart for bigger things; Full motion broadcast video and animation; games, films and other areas.

If it hadn’t been for Flash, I probably wouldn’t have explored further into web based technology. It opened up easy access to animation, sound design, how to code, mathematics — lots of realms of the technology and art spectrum I may not have otherwise experienced. I remember watching a Senior Designer make a website with it when I worked in London at a large agency and I was transfixed — it was clearly more compelling than flat HTML websites; I used to go home and experiment with it, making animations and interactive play-things, just for the pure fun of it. Little did I know I’d be making commercial websites and games in it much later. It taught me many things, especially about making a captivating experience that ‘stuck’.

So thank-you Macromedia and Adobe for bringing Flash to the web world; it was an awesome thing while it lasted, probably well ahead of its time. Now we have html5 and numerous javascript frameworks which are now replicating what Flash was doing many years ago, but all in the browser with no plugin. It has taken some time getting here, but we’re now at the same sweet-point, possibly even surpassing that of Flash at its pinnacle of mind blowing sites and experiences and that’s a good thing to see; exciting times return.