Flash was the future.
Craig Swann

I hope the time between now and 2020 will be time well spent by the stakeholders, product owners, and decision makers of “Flash replacement” tech, particularly in web browsers. Many facets of Flash Player technology have been ported over to the world of HTML5 as we know it today, but for real-time audio/video/data, WebRTC and its variants have a long way to go to reach the beauty of RTMP, consistent codecs, and low-latency communication between multiple connections.</rant> In the spirit of Craig’s post, I’ll add that I wouldn’t be the video doctor I am today without the ease of a gradual learning curve that Flash provided. I started writing the Flash Bible series with version 4 of the authoring tool and player, and video was at best a series of still images placed on the timeline and animated with background audio. Two versions later, Flash Player 6 (2002), introduced live and VOD streaming + advanced interactivity to the masses without huge player installs like QuickTime, RealPlayer, and Windows Media before it. And ironically, many of my clients still rely on Flash Player for _cost effective_ desktop browser consistency across operating systems for low-latency audio/video/data 15 years later. Flash enabled a level of rapid prototyping never before possible, and I dare say it hasn’t been matched by any other authoring tool since. The community around Flash, both creatives and coders (or “hair flippers” and “Richards” as my old pal Sandro Corsaro, an amazing animator who used Flash in wondrous ways, would say), was fantastic — in every definition of the word. The Flash community embraced the freaks and the geeks, and I never felt as welcome in any other tech community (and believe me, I went to many “web developer” conferences where Flash was a four letter word). I remember joking at a PHP conference that I was surprised more developers didn’t explore Flash, because Flash developers made more money than PHP developers. No one laughed. I don’t think anyone believed me. They thought Flash was a joke. Maybe the joke is on me, as I still counsel clients on how to best migrate away from Flash and utilize new video technology that satisfies their budget constraints and the features they need to satisfy business requirements. I don’t really know how to end this response to Craig’s post — there’s too much history in the 17 years I’ve embraced the capabilities of the technology. I’ll give up Flash when you pry it from my cold, dead hands — or when browser vendors agree to make their technology work ubiquitiously, just like Flash did. :) Or when this browser and this HTML code actually allow me to see and press the publish button? :(

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