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Due to the rise of mobile browsers, and the fact that Adobe Flash isn’t licensed for most mobile browsers, I have been advising all webmasters to immediately remove any Flash from their pages, and use a more suitable technology such as HTML5.
A Brief History of Flash
Flash originated in the mid-1990’s as a method of developing desktop computer animation. After a number of acquisitions and mergers the technology began appearing on websites in the 2000’s. In 2005 YouTube, as a startup, used Flash to present videos on the web. That same year Macromedia, then the publisher of Flash, was acquired by Adobe. By 2007 there was already a movement to adopt HTML5, because Adobe did not license Flash to Apple for its new iPhone and iPad products.
Because Flash incorporates a Turing complete programming language called ActionScript, there is no way to automatically verify the security of a Flash download. This lead to numerous security breaches. By 2014 Flash was in rapid decline.
At first many SEO practitioners were concerned that progressive enhancement could be viewed as a black hat technique called cloaking. Google publicly commented that SWFobject was acceptable as long as the content being replaced was equivalent to what was displayed via Flash. Google eventually hosted the SWFobject project.
What to Do About Existing Flash
If you have Flash on your website, now is the time to replaced it with mobile-friendly, secure code. HTML5 has features that support animation and interactivity, and because it is open source (or open specification), there is a large community of developers who watch for security holes and patch them.
About the Author
After graduating from Yale with two degrees in Computer Science, Jonathan Hochman set up his own consulting company in 1990. He has been an Internet marketer since 1994.