Occupy Flash, an unnecessary step in internet evolution?

Posted on 22. Nov, 2011 by in Digital Marketing, Thoughts

Denouncing Flash and beginning a campaign to swat its usage, Occupy Flash have received strong coverage in mainstream media. This all begs the question, is it really necessary?

Shockwave Player launched in 1995, with Flash being made available to download the following year. Launching in a very different internet landscape from the one seen today, under the guide of Macromedia Flash Player, Flash was brought into the limelight with the intention of providing multimedia functionality through web browsers.

1996 was not just the year of Flash, it was also the year of Intel Pentium Processor, where Apple was in the process of going down the pan and that the 16MHz Palm Pilot launched to provide computing power on the move. Seeming like the technology equivalent of the iron age, Flash really has lasted the test of time whether people like it or not. I would be inclined to say that Flash was the very beginning of a shift away from traditional software,  putting us full steam ahead towards web based deployments mirroring traditional software functionality (think Office 365 – just minus the cloud bit!).

Today Flash is one of the most widely deployed playback technologies ever distributed online. Flash is found on the vast majority of internet enabled PC’s, with adoption rates in mature markets reported to be higher than that of Java itself (According to a Millward Brown survey, July 2011).  Saturation would of been aided in the

Adobe PC Adoption Rates

Adobe PC Adoption Rates (Source Adobe)

early days by Microsoft bundling Flash with Internet Explorer, and more recently with its integration in Google Chrome.

Flash has provided a massive amount of diverse functionality to a range of different websites. It was always a firm favourite for branded micro sites, providing rich multimedia experiences for visitors. A sole reliance on Flash for web design is in decline, aided due to a well publicised spat when Steve Jobs locked horns with Adobe’s pride and joy, in turn seeing a rejuvenated campaign of anti-flash sentiment making itself known.

This brings us to today, a time where desire to adopt HTML5 and CSS3 is wide spread, heralded as a saviour from buggy browsing on the internet. With Adobe’s recent announcement of the discontinuation of Flash Lite, the new Occupy Flash campaign and Microsoft’s exclusion of it from the Windows 8 Metro UI Internet Explorer, the future does indeed look bleak.

With all this said, people seem to be putting a focus on Adobe in general, not just Flash. It appears the industry has forgot what Adobe actually provides. As mentioned by Carlous Naxareno within an article on the Thenextweb, Adobe is very much in the business of creating and selling design based tools. With a reaffirmed commitment to develop software that aids the design of HTML5 and CSS3 websites, Adobe are on track in a tough time.

Website traffic from mobile devices is constantly on the rise and with a ongoing debate around the absence of Flash on the new Google Phone, it becomes hard to for see continued strong development in this area. However, actively encouraging its downfall seems unnecessary, with a successful outcome only limiting the reach of web based multimedia.

Markers need to be savvy and pick and choose their technologies. This is no different. A campaign against technology is never one I would be a part of.

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  • http://blog.greener.ca/ greener

    On the site “Note: This is not a campaign against Adobe, or even their Flash platform. We’re sure there are plenty of good uses for it, such as building great Air applications, for example. In fact, Adobe has stated they believe HTML5 is the future of web browsing. We’re simply trying to help them get there a little faster.”

  • http://twitter.com/calumshepherd Calum Shepherd

    Hi Greener. My comment was a take on some peoples opinion, not commentary on Occupy Flash directly.

    However, Occupy Flash should have focused on aiding the development and standardisation of HTML5. This would of been a more positive, although less controversial approach than the one they decided to take.