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Adobe commits to support Flash up to 10 more years

Flash technology has been through some tough times. It was sidelined by Steve Jobs and excluded from the huge installed base of iPhones. It is continuing to face heat from HTML5. Regardless, to borrow from Mark Twain’s famous saying, rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated. The truth is Flash is not going anywhere-at least for the next 10 years. At least, that’s what Adobe Systems says. While Adobe has been directing more of its efforts to supporting HTML5 and have constricted Flash’s development scope, Adobe remains firm in investing in the standard for the next 5 to 10 years.

Last year, Adobe cut back on its Flash Player’s feature scope by canceling the browser add on for mobile devices. However, it isn’t abandoning Flash programmers just yet. Adobe published a road map that commit to rolling out improvements this year with upcoming Flash versions. The versions, going by the code names Cyril and Dolores will be released this year. Also, the company is modernizing the code base for the Flash Player to accommodate developer needs for up to 10 years in the future. Now, that is quite a bit of support. Reconfiguring the runtimes of Flash Player is quite a commitment of resources on Adobe’s part and should act as a clear signal to Flash developers.

The runtime reconfiguration is specially important because runtimes are the software base that run programs written in the Flash standard’s Action Script. The Flash Player browser plugin enables users to run these programs on the web pages they browse. Similarly, this foundation is incorporated into standalone programs using Adobe’s AIR application.

The existing Flash runtime has had a long development history and was the prefered standard because it made web developers’ lives easier. Flash facilitated cross-platform development, cross-browser functionality, and other related benefits. It also popularized common media features like webcam support, vector graphics, and stream video. It was an indispensable bridge at a time when these features were not fully developed yet or weren’t supported by browsers. Now, as browsers have matured and the market has matured, Flash’s applicability to the Web has narrowed. That is why Adobe is pushing the standard at only two core areas – premium video and gaming. This narrowing of development focus allowed Adobe to redistribute its resources to HTML5, CSS, and Javascript.