eLearning Design and Development

Is Adobe Flash Going Away?

In Short… Adobe Flash Will Be Discontinued, Is Going Away, & Adobe Flash Will Be Dead

At the end of July last year, Adobe announced the impending death of Adobe Flash in 2020, and letting out a collective sigh of relief, most of the internet and its major browsers agreed to do the same. Google has already begun taking steps to remove Flash from their browser while the rest of the web settles in for the long goodbye.

In case you aren’t quite sure what the deal with Adobe Flash is, here’s the Cliffs Notes version: Adobe Flash is a software platform that was designed to run video, animation, and games on any given webpage.  Flash was born right around the time the internet was really getting its feet wet and quickly became the go-to for anything that needed video support on the web. When YouTube adopted Flash in 2005, it more or less sealed the deal on its popularity. However, as other apps and technologies have developed, Flash’s ability to compete, along with its efficiency and popularity, has been in major decline. It’s no secret that even from the beginning, Flash has been, well, buggy. In 2010, Steve Jobs himself wrote “Thoughts on Flash,” an open proclamation on the Apple website outlining the six major reasons iOS would not support the platform, heavily citing both crippling performance and security concerns.

So, What Will Replace Flash?

With Adobe Flash discontinued, you may be wondering what will take its place. Enter HTML5, the latest version of “Hypertext Markup Language.” Made up of three kinds of coding ingredients (HTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and Javascript), HTML5 will function as an open-source version of Flash. But what does this mean, exactly? Adobe owns Flash, controlling both its vulnerabilities as well as its fixes. But HTML5 is no one’s pet. It allows everyone the ability to take care of issues within HTML5 as well as the visibility to see what’s going on
with the platform, so no one’s stonewalled behind the proprietary red tape. Additionally, HTML5 can not only take on the most high-def videos and graphics…it can be used to write web applications that work even if you’re not connected to the internet.

HTML5 can not only take on the most high-def videos and graphics...it can be used to write web applications that work even if you´re not connected to the internet

Why Does The Death Of Adobe Flash Matter?

The death of Adobe Flash and the transition to HTML5 is opening up a broad spectrum of opportunities for developers: from entire game platforms running on HTML5, complete with progress memory and impressive effects, to enhanced movie streaming abilities. As for the eLearning field, traditionally our courses have been made with Flash-based mediums. Now that we know Flash will be going away for good, digital learning designers are already making the switch to HTML5 for all the reasons cited above: there’s an exciting range of creative opportunity to explore, it’s open-source, and no one company owns the rights to it. However, most LMS’s still require a browser; an LMS is not a self-contained system, so while the web is transitioning, eLearning will still need to account for those in limbo.

Our 3 Crucial Next Steps 

Digital learning designers are already making the switch to HTML5

Following The Adobe Flash Support Ending  

In order to successfully survive the end of Flash Player, we need to take a three-pronged approach. First, we need to spread awareness around the transition and make sure its impact is understood. Secondly, we need to make sure we educate not only our designers and web engineers on HTML5, but we need to make sure we educate our clients as well. And finally, our teams also need comprehensive courses and training on both the capabilities as well as potential roadblocks with the transition, because let’s get real, there’s no such thing as a perfect solution and inevitably HTML5 will come with its own limitations. Currently, our art designers have been focusing on SL2 courses and mixed media, in particular, to figure out future impacts.

How ELM Can Help

While we can’t promise an evergreen technology, we can promise ingenuity. Here at ELM, our design team is already well aware of the growing pains this transition brings with it and have been proactive in our design approach. Our first step has been to routinely publish our courses with an HTML5 First Publish to ensure all our clients are supported no matter where their systems stand internally. This works as a buffer in this intermediate period by automatically looking for HTML5 within a client’s LMS before defaulting to Flash. Meanwhile, our Accounts Team also has a strong handle on this shift and are already fielding client reports on broken courses due to Flash with both grace and knowledge.

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