When I was in secondary school I didn’t own a computer. I used to read the occasional magazine and would hang for a while on the articles about the internet or HTML, fascinated by this new technology that I had hardlyl even used. I don’t know why, but for some reason I’ve always been drawn toward computers, but more specifically, computers connected to other computers. Whether it was playing a video game online or browsing through the millions of websites, I could always spend hours every day in front of a computer soaking up information and experiences, interacting with people on the other side of the world.
Soon after I got my first computer I learned how to build simple websites. I had all of the best animated gifs you could find, along with those awesome water ripple java applets and whatever other bells and whistles I could find. It was awesome. I wanted to push the boundaries of this new thing. To make something superB that nobody had seen before. This led me to Macromedia Flash 4.
But now, years later, the browsers are catching up. Mobile devices are becoming more important than desktop computers (a trend I expect to continue for years to come). As more people use the internet in their day to day lives, businesses have realized that having a useful website is more powerful than just a flashy animated advertisement.
A few months ago I noticed that SWFObject usage on the top 10,000 websites was declining for the first time ever (I believe usage peaked in the summer of 2010). Last week, Adobe announced that they would halt development of Flash player for mobile devices, and refocus their efforts on HTML. Since this news was announced, I’ve seen many sad and nostalgic tweets from friends and colleagues. Some seem to be taking the news better than others, and it’s understandable that some people are sad to see Flash go. But it’s important to remember that no single technology is responsible for this awesome thing we call the internet.
This brings us back to my younger self sitting at home in the eastend playing with Flash, learning new things. I’ve always loved making things, and I suspect many web developers feel the same. The pleasure of making something great is what drives us, not a specific technology. So don’t be too sad about Flash evolving, or even dying. Just keep making awesome things with whatever tools you have at your disposal.