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RIP Flash Player: Adobe Ends Support Of Pioneering Web Animation Technology

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

A moment now to remember a pioneering Internet technology. Adobe Flash Player is dead. Long live Adobe Flash Player.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DAVID FIRTH: (As Salad Fingers) Hello. I like rusty spoons. I like to touch them.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

"Salad Fingers" was one of the many Web cartoons, games and animations that Flash made possible, but Flash has been on its way out for years. Adobe announced end-of-life plans in 2017 and officially ended support on January 1.

ANASTASIA SALTER: Adobe Flash was the tool that reimagined the Web.

CORNISH: Anastasia Salter is an associate professor of English at the University of Central Florida. She co-wrote a book on Flash.

SALTER: It took us out of a fairly static, text-based Web to an animated, interactive space and really shaped a whole generation of artists and animators.

CHANG: Flash helped people create games and stories and other playable work and post them online. Those early animations may feel rudimentary compared to what you might see from, say, Pixar. But in the early 2000s, people like Salter found Flash miraculous.

SALTER: No one had really imagined having a tool like that for an individual to make something interactive. And it's where we get kind of all of the cool early experiments like "Homestar Runner."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MATT CHAPMAN: (As Strong Bad, singing) Oh, tap your toes and check your email.

Hey, Strong Bad, what's up? Can you play the guitar?

CORNISH: Salter says people started to migrate away from Flash around 2012. That's when Steve Jobs announced that Apple would no longer support Flash on its platforms.

SALTER: And it was really frustrating because Flash was so good at bringing new people into making things.

CHANG: Salter says the technologies that took its place weren't as easy to learn. But they operated on open standards not a proprietary one, so Web browsers adapted new standards. And the Adobe Flash Player has now been laid to rest. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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