Will Adobe’s Flash Have a Future on the Web?

Microsoft recently announced at the BUILD conference that Internet Explorer 10 in the Metro interface will not support plugins. This means that Internet Explorer won’t support Flash.

Gasp!But does this come as a big surprise to you? I mean, Flash has never been supported on any iOS devices, it isn’t shipped on Macs anymore, and it doesn’t work that well with Android, so it’s never been a big player in the mobile market.

Yes, Flash will still be supported in the classic desktop mode of Windows 8, just not in Metro. Is this a sign that Adobe’s future on the web is limited?

Adobe continues to roll out new releases of Flash. Adobe has said that they will ship Flash Player 11 starting in early October, which has a lot of new graphics enhancements such as hardware-accelerated rendering for both 2D and 3D graphics.

But will these changes matter at all? Once HTML5 becomes more mainstream and is supported by more browsers, it will become a LOT more reliable. I don’t know how it is for you, but Flash crashes a lot.

Can Flash be saved? Well let’s look at what features will be introduced in Flash 11 and decide for ourselves. Adobe is introducing a new feature called Stage 3D. Stage 3D is a new hardware-accelerated graphics architecture for 2D and 3D rendering performance.

This will speed up the video performance of even old computers.

Stage 3D is aimed at every kind of device, phones, tablets, internet TVs, etc. That means that Adobe is still aiming to become part of the mobile market. That’s great, but this will basically be Android exclusive  right?

Well that’s what Adobe Air is for. Adobe Air is a tool for developers that allows them to turn their Flash based programs into native apps for different platforms. Adobe says that the new version of Air will allow developers to make Flash based apps for the Windows 8 Metro user interface.

Although the apps will be able to run on these platforms, it doesn’t mean that the apps will run fast. Often these apps run slowly and drain the device’s battery life.

More than two thirds of all web games are still Flash based, so Flash is not dead yet. Not until HTML5 or a similar language like JavaScript or WebGL becomes widespread.

Flash does also have an appeal to developers that none of the other languages have, Flash is a lot more widespread than any of the other languages. It can be used on all PCs if you have a web browser.

Personally, I don’t see Flash making a big comeback anytime soon. Most people now access the web from a smartphone or tablet. Most of those devices don’t support Flash.

I don’t see Flash completely dying either. I see Flash finding a niche market with games and people who need to have very high video performance.

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What do you think? Will Flash have a future on the web?

I’d be interested in what you have to say below.