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InfoQ Homepage News Adobe to Replace Flash Professional

Adobe to Replace Flash Professional

Adobe have announced the end of Flash Professional. Animate CC, a "premier web animation tool for developing HTML5 content," replaces it.

In the post Flash, HTML5 and Open Web Standards, Adobe's corporate communications team wrote that while the new tool will continue to support creating Flash content, their customers had "clearly communicated" a desire for its creative applications to support open standards including HTML5.

The Flash player browser plug-in was launched in the 1990s for displaying animations, and rapidly gained popularity with developers. Acknowledging that HTML5 now provides many of the capabilities that were once the sole domain of Flash, Adobe's senior product marketing manager, Rich Lee, acknowledges that the changes behind Animate CC have been several years in the making.

In the blog post Welcome Adobe Animate CC, a new era for Flash Professional Lee says, "Because of the emergence of HTML5 and demand for animations that leverage web standards, we completely rewrote the tool over the past few years to incorporate native HTML5 Canvas and WebGL support" and the new name is intended to reflect this.

Far from giving up on Flash, Lee says Adobe's Animate CC will "will continue supporting Flash (SWF) and AIR formats as first-class citizens."

Among the capabilities of the new Adobe Animate CC are:

  • Multiplatform support: HTML5 Canvas, WebGL, Flash (SWF), AIR, video, and custom platforms (such as SVG) via extensions
  • 4K+ video export – Export videos with custom resolutions for the latest Ultra HD and Hi-DPI displays
  • Custom resolution export – Revitalize older content by resizing and optimizing them for any resolution, such as Ultra HD and Hi-DPI displays

Adobe's roadmap for Flash runtimes says the company "believes that Flash is particularly well suited for addressing the gaming and premium video markets" and that while standards-based technologies, such as HTML5 and CSS3, are becoming the norm for deploying general motion graphics, Adobe intends to "continue to work to ensure that Flash content can be viewed across a wide range of operating systems."

The future of Flash was in doubt earlier this year when Mark Schmidt, Firefox's head of support, announced that "all versions of Flash" were "blocked by default" following the announcement from Adobe of two critical vulnerabilities in the browser plug-in. In the same week, Alex Stamos -- Facebook's chief security officer -- tweeted it was time "for Adobe to announce the end-of-life date for Flash."

In InfoQ's recent research article Flash Under Fire: Are you using HTML5/JavaScript Exclusively?, HTML5 received a relevance score of 89% next to a score of less than 50% for Adobe's Flash.

Adobe's announcement was met with enthusiasm from the developer community, with many acknowledging that Flash remains a good tool for animating. On Reddit, in the post Flash Professional will be renamed Adobe Animate CC, starting with the next release in early 2016 user smplejohn commented

"I've been teaching Flash at a community college for 8 years now and for the last 5 have been only teaching it as an animation tool. So, so glad they're going this route. For animating it's definitely an amazing tool and they've done some really great things with it over the years."

The sentiment was echoed on Hacker News in the corresponding discussion Adobe Animate CC, a New Era for Flash Professional, with user rogeryu commenting "I truly loved Flash for it's amazing animation possibilities. And I still love it for that."

Adobe are also soon releasing an HTML5 video player for desktop browsers, to complement its support for HTML5 on mobile, and InfoQ has recently upgraded its own video player from Flash to HTML5.

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