Adobe has announced that it will stop updating and distributing the Flash player by 2020. The move was made after discussing with partners so that the once popular software can be easily phased out without inconveniencing users. Flash provided a platform to deliver rich interactive multimedia experiences, but open standards such as WebGL and HTML5 now provide the same functionality that Flash once did.
Microsoft has declared that it will phase out Flash support in Internet Explorer and Edge before the 2020 deadline. In mid 2018, Edge will ask permission from users for running Flash content, but Internet Explorer will continue to support Flash. By 2019, Flash will be disabled by default on both Internet Explorer and Edge. Before the end of 2020, Flash will be disabled on Internet Explorer as well as Edge, and users will be unable to run Flash content. This is a consistent timeline across browsers by Google and Mozilla as well.
Google Chrome has already started prioritising HTML5 content over Flash content where available. Chrome has now announced that it will continue to phase out Flash over the next few years. If a user encounters Flash content, they will have to manually run it, and eventually Flash will be disabled by default. According to Chrome, the move to open standards will allow for a more secure browsing experience.
Firefox responded by announcing a roadmap for the ending support of Flash on the browser. Starting next month, users will have to manually chose the sites that they want to run Flash content on. Flash will be disabled by default by 2019, and only users of the Firefox Extended Support Release will be able to run Flash content till the end of 2020. Once Adobe stops delivering security updates, Flash will be disabled for all users.
Facebook has indicated that it will continue to support Flash content on Facebook till the end of 2020, but these timelines may be affected by the browsers own timelines for phasing out Flash content. The primary concern for Facebook are the Flash based games. Facebook suggests the developers migrate their content to the HTML5 standard, or start using Facebook's Gameroom. Facebook is also hosting a training webinar to allow content creators to easily migrate to Flash, on 30 August. Interested creators can register for the webinar.
Adobe has made the announcement to help content creators migrate to the new open standards. Adobe will continue to deliver security updates for Flash till 2020, as well as maintaining compatibility with browsers and operating systems, and even adding new features if they are needed. The announcement signals the end of a product that was once the primary method for delivering education, gaming and video content.