Breaking up with Flash: It’s not me, it’s you

v8ito6v8ndvjc2wyqhk4I used to be a big fan of Flash. I actually earned income as a Flash developer. I remember the days shortly after Macromedia bought FutureSplash, and the launch of Flash 4 as a landmark for the web. I’d been involved in interactive development for years at that point and while Shockwave (the Director player) worked on the web, it took special effort to make it a good experience. Flash changed that. It provided for rich animation and quickly became a platform for interactivity. It was never great, but it was better than what was out there.

I’ve not actively used anything Flash related for several years. My last burst of involvement with Flash centered around using Flex to develop rich apps for both the desktop (AIR) and web (Flash Player). At that point, Flash was really the only way to achieve some of the functionality it provided. That’s not the case any more. For the past several weeks I’ve had Flash uninstalled and the embedded Flash plugin in Chrome disabled.

Why am I doing this?

  1. Flash is insecure. There are countless vulnerabilities to the Flash player. Just take a look at this list.
  2. Flash kills performance. Simply disabling Flash the fan on my laptop kicks on considerably less often. I’m noticing the battery lasts longer. My laptop feels snappier without Flash on it. This is completely anecdotal, but given that closing browser tabs to stop the jet engine of the fan is no longer required, my guess is Flash was the culprit.
  3. Flash doesn’t matter any more. Almost everything Flash was good at can be done today in HTML5. In several weeks of completely normal computer usage I’ve not missed Flash once. In a modern web context Flash has become almost completely unnecessary.

I’d encourage you to try the same and enjoy a modern web experience without Flash.