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The Death of Flash

Date: 05/01/2021


In 1996, Freuds hired me to set up one of the first digital agencies in London. Traffic Interactive was a joint venture with Abbot Meade Vickers, and House of Blues based out of a funky office (wooden panels painted with Voodoo symbols) located above the 100 Club on Oxford Street.

We worked on projects for Pepsi, Vladivar Vodka and Supergrass and I soon managed to wangle a move to House of Blues New Media Department in Hollywood.

The Sunset Strip office somewhat overshadowed Oxford Street and with joint ventures with Sun Microsystems, Real Audio and daily web chats with music legends felt like I was at the heart of the .com boom.

Whilst forging ahead with media streaming and a fantastic team of web specialists, HTML was still very limited. So, when a startup came to present a new product to us called FutureSplash Animator, we knew it would have a considerable impact on the web.

Within a year Macromedia had purchased FutureSplash and renamed it Flash. The following year sites like Gabocorp showed us how movement, music and animation could transform the web.

At Devstars & ArtScience, we took an arms-length approach to Flash, using it to embellish sites, not core architecture. We could see its benefits, but also its limitations.

Slug and Lettuce game

Flash was also one of those tools that make it simple enough for anyone to get into trouble. Suddenly, everyone wanted to become a web designer without knowing how to write a line of code.

When used well though you could do great things with it.

We used it to create arcade-style games for Slug & Lettuce and Lemony Snickett. With Cunning, we even made a somewhat dark live-action version of the game Hangman.

Flash was already on its way out in 2010 and Radiohead hired us to create a landing page for their site animated using just CSS and Javascript. The page features trees alternately overgrowing the screen in black then white.

Now, like the unfortunate chap in our Hangman game, Flash reached its EOL (End of Life) on December 31, 2020.

For a piece of modern technology 25 years is a good inning, but issues with security and inability to fit in with the Smartphone era meant its time was up.

What replaces Flash? Fast loading, secure websites with a focus on streamlining user journeys regardless of platform. With increased bandwidth video, capturing the attention and use of subtle animation and parallax effects brings pages to life.

If you think we can help you please reach out to us.

Please note: Adobe, who has owned Flash since 2000, recommends that you remove Flash Player from your computers for security reasons.

You should remove Flash from Windows, with this update and for Mac users, there are steps to follow here.

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