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So the time Adobe cuts the cord on Flash support has finally come. Adobe will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player on December 31th, 2020.

I’ll be honest, I was never a supporter of Flash taking over entire web pages (aka “rich web applications”), or entire sites. I felt it as a coup against the open HTML/CSS web. Having learned most of what I know by looking at other people’s source code, I considered Flash as yet another black box. This said, it was a handy streaming audio and video player, at a time when the browser war was raging, it simplified embedding video in our pages. Beyond that, there was a bunch of cool games and animations.

Nevertheless, I did use this technology in a couple of projects. My good friend Sylvain Hugues was the Flash developer in both of them.

Back in 2004, I directed a project for the Musée d’Ethnographie in Geneva : «Sans objet – cent objets» “Totem N°41”. The museum was undergoing a massing inventory of its collections while moving them to a secure storage in order to have the building refurbished. Some 70’000 objects were being catalogued, described and photographed, and the museum led by Ninian Hubert van Blyenburgh needed a nearline solution to display them to the public while the museum was being refurbished.

I’ll insert a screenshot when I find my archived project.

Around the same time, I chose Flash to build an interactive map of Xstrata’s global operations. The world map was zoomable, and each operation displayed a popover window with its information. The data was managed through the app: new operations could be added or modified.

In both cases, Flash filled a gap and provided a level of interactivity and animations that was either unavailable or unsupported at the time.

Screenshot of Xstrata's operation map
Xstrata’s operation map was a Flash app.

Google Chrome had a built-in Flash player, which became one of the main reasons of installing it at first, and uninstall the system wide Flash extension.

Flash is part of the web’s history, for better of worse, and it served a purpose, even if its development ran parallel to the web’s.

Remember YouTube in 2005 ? 😀

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