Flash is a vector-graphic animation technology. Introduced in 1995 as FutureSplash, Flash was designed to be bandwidth-friendly and browser-independent approach to creating animated graphics for use on websites and in apps. Relying upon compliant plug-ins, animations and rich media experiences look the same across multiple web browser platforms.

Through the early 2000s, Flash and Adobe Flash Player grew to become the de facto standard for creating animations and interactive websites. However, with the rise of smartphones that offered web browsing capabilities, its dependence on browser-specific plugins and the introduction of dynamic HTML led to major operating systems including Apple and Android dropping support in both mobile and desktop settings.

While owner Adobe announced the end of support for Android OS in 2011, it wasn’t until July 2017 that the company finally deprecated the technology completely.  Along the way, Adobe made numerous shifts in product messaging and direction to encourage developers to move toward Adobe AIR and the OpenFL standard. Rebranding the authoring environment first to Flash Professional, then to Adobe Animate were meant to further move content creators toward newer, more efficient web standards like HTML 5. 2020 brought the inevitable End-of-Life announcement, with Adobe dropping all support, including further distribution, product updates, or security patches.

At this writing, Adobe Flash is only supported in China, and other global regions in specific enterprise platforms.


This article was updated by Web Webster.


Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.
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