You would think that I would write about the shitheads that invaded The Capital for my first post in 2021. Nope. They were all real fucking stupid. I don’t want to write about them. But, I am back and even started picking at the About Me page if you can believe it. I’m going to make an effort to blog often, for reals this time. I’d like to kick off the year talking about something once dear to me that had a slow painful death whose life support machine was finally unplugged. That’s right. You guessed it. Adobe Flash. Adobe has officially nuked Flash.
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By the time I got into Flash 2, then owned by Macromedia, I had made several websites. An animated GIF was close to all the pizzazz you could add to a webpage. I thought it was one of the coolest programs as a frontend designer. You were able to do some very creative things for website layouts. Many sites I worked on ended up being completely Flash. Ended up with many impressive pieces of work that no one is able to see today unless they emulate Flash, as I no long have the original FLA files to export as an executable. Actionscipt consumed much of my design time, and I managed to get quite good at it. I think most of all, I liked working in Flash. It was fun. Even though I haven’t worked in Flash for years now, I’m writing this because Abode has officially killed Flash. It’s big dead. I’d like to take a quick look at my personal experience with Flash and it’s history that influenced me.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room, Newgrounds. Whether originally uploaded there or not, most entertaining Flash memes, videos, and games ended up on Newgrounds. Everyone knows All Your Base are Belong to Us and Combo Number 5. At least, everyone my age. I spent many of hours on Newgrounds watching animations and playing Flash games. Goofy stuff like the stick fighting Xiao Xiao and the Madness series. First time I heard of Egoraptor was on Newgrounds with Metal Gear Awesome. The Behemoth, the people who did Castle Crashes, made games in Flash first. Flash opened up a whole new world for creatives. I never did get into making a game or an animation, but I made some impressive websites and website elements in Flash. Maybe one day I will raise some of my old Flash work from the dead if I manage to find the original files. It would include one of the first sites with Flash video even.
Speaking of Flash video, YouTube started out using Flash. Boy, was that site a shit heap then. Even before Google got their claws on it, YouTube was pretty popular. Most computers at the time had the Flash player installed. Building your whole platform around it didn’t seem like a gamble. Even with voices of discontent in the community, everyone soldiered on and kept using Flash. So many client came in to film videos for their website. I can’t even remember how many. Started doing some really cool stuff with Flash video for websites like an interactive menu with a limo driver getting in and out of a limo with different actions depending on the page you were on and the menu item you selected from there. Filmed the driver on a greenscreen, and I then converted him into a silhouette using vector shapes within Flash for the style and also to make the Flash element lighter and smoother to run. I’m going to swing back to this point of making Flash run as smooth as possible. It’s important. For now, just know that I made over a thousand Flash elements for more websites than I can remember.
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You would think with Adobe buying Flash my skillset would be secure. Wrong. One of the plagues of modern society herald the beginning of the end for Flash, the smartphone. The iPhone specifically was the hammer; cause, Apple said they wouldn’t support Flash for their mobile browser. Now, I’m not sure how much of the decision was actually O’ Stevie-boy’s, but here is an open letter he signed back in the day. I can’t explain to you how angry I was at the time. It was the program I enjoyed the most. I was also in denial. No way could stupid smartphones influence the landscape that much, I believed. Again, WRONG. My personal hatred of smartphones polluted my opinion. Even Android gave up on Flash support. It was a losing battle. More people browse the web on mobile devices for some time. I saw the writing on the wall. I knew I was running out of road, but I wasn’t about to Thelma & Louise strait off a cliff(Haha, spoiler!). Hell no. I just took the L, and turned myself in to Ornery Boomer Jail.
Eventually, I stopped working in Flash altogether. Like I said, my thing with Flash was always to do with website development. Honestly, that open letter was correct. Even if smartphones supported Flash as best as the could, Flash was still going to go the way of the dinosaurs. Flash had a ton of issues. Right off the bat, Flash was a resource hog. I mentioned easier about redrawing a person with vectors inside of Flash so it would run smoother. The simplistic look of a lot of Flash elements had to do with performance. You had to do this so the element would behave like you intended. Too much detail, Flash would start to lag. When and how much it slowed down was based off of the machine that was viewing it. Now you see the performance problem with smartphones. Even when I was viewing Flash elements on an Android, they were complete ass. Not to mention all the security issues with Flash. Fake Flash updates to replace your real Flash installation. Building a completely Flash based website to avoid anti-phishing tools, know as phlashing. Security was never my thing, but the community as a whole knew about Flash’s many issues. In the end, Adobe might should shoulder most of the blame. If they would have worked on all of the problems. I dunno. Maybe the effort was too great to adhere to Web Standards.
Flash too a beating from all fronts, and died from it’s injuries and shit Adobe healthcare. Many hours of my life learning a skill that’s now completely worthless. It’s all good though. Led to knew horizons. HTML5, CSS3, and JS can do some amazing stuff these days. Honestly, it’s way better for web designers all around. Flash felt more like is butted its way into web development without asking because it was easy for creative people to put their work online. People love entertainment so Flash became popular, but it may have never belonged on the web in the first place. However, the client is always right, and everyone is in competition with each other so Flash spread to all corners of the web. Flash had its glory days. Don’t hold that shit on a pedestal though. The web is a much cleaner place now than it ever was with Flash floating around. Flash’s best contribution was pushing Web Standard Model to look as great as possible. Let the past die and move on to greener pastures, but we can pour one out anyway.