Earlier this week the Youtube Engineering and Development team announced it would not begin to drop it’s use of Adobe Flash in favour of HTML5 video, and personally I couldn’t be happier. Adobe Flash has become increasing irrelevant over the past few years as the deployment of smart phones has proliferated and the adaptation of HTML5 has began to take hold of the internet industry as a whole. The company itself has even stated “HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively,” adding “that makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms.” A bold statement from Adobe Flash considering how they fervently defended the software no so long ago in their final struggles against obsolesce.
Youtube has been working on this transition for a number of years now. Coordinating with web browser vendors and the broader community to use HTML5 video as the default player. The Youtube developers blog stated last week “The benefits of HTML5 extend beyond web browsers, and it’s now also used in smart TVs and other streaming devices.” going on to site many of the technical benefits of this move. They go on to say “These advancements have benefitted not just YouTube’s community, but the entire industry. Other content providers like Netflix and Vimeo, as well as companies like Microsoft and Apple have embraced HTML5 and been key contributors to its success. By providing an open standard platform, HTML5 has also enabled new classes of devices like Chromebooks and Chromecast. You can support HTML5 by using the <iframe> API everywhere you embed YouTube videos on the web.
This could mark the end of Adobe Flash. Few use cases seem reasonable at this point in time and Adobe itself has began distancing itself from the software as its relevance increasingly diminishes. I for one welcome our new HTML5 overlords and will limit my mourning of Adobe Flash to that of only nostalgia from my early years of web animations for my first (really really bad) websites I created. So long Flash, I hope the last update notification I receive from you comes from the digital dustbins of history.