Apple Wins at Least One War
Shunned by Apple's iOS and Windows Phones, and offering a spotty experience on Android, Flash on mobile platforms has had a rough ride. One that may be coming to an end as Adobe puts in a couple of workarounds and quietly sends the web platform to join other retired mobile technologies.
Despite attempts through Flash Builder and Flex to encourage developers to use Flash for all devices, it looks like the end is nigh. The news should be officially announced soon, and follows Adobe's recent announcement of job losses and a restructuring around HTML5.
With a new focus on digital media and marketing, Adobe's plan is to offer technologies that help users and creators make, manage, measure and monetize content and applications across all devices. All of that will done through updates to Adobe's Creative Suite and Creative Cloud. Flash for the desktop will presumably continue to roll on for a good few years but in a write-once-deliver-to-many-devices world, sites will be encouraged to move over to AIR and HTML5 delivery.
Gone With Whimper, Not a Flash
There is no need to rake up the history between Adobe and Apple, or any other vendors who didn't support Flash. Even those who did often put a big asterisk next to the feature with a "* performance may vary" message in the small print. BlackBerry's PlayBook claimed Flash performance but regularly caused crashes.
For developers, being able to explain to bosses and clients that Flash is no longer a viable customer destination for wide-ranging projects should come as a relief. Future projects can work toward just one target, and while nothing in coding is ever that simple, converting Flash apps over should be less painful with recent and likely upcoming Creative Suite tools.
Flash itself will continue, likely as a web game development package, or for those big show sites that aren't meant for mobile consumption. For now though, users will still be disappointed by endless "your browser doesn't support Flash" messages on their iPhones and other gadgets, but in future we can hope for a better experience. Expect more news on this in the coming days.