Monday, July 20, 2020

The Rise and Fall of Adobe Flash

Richard C. Moss:

In recognition of its service to content creators and consumers of all stripes, of its contribution to the proliferation of online video and multimedia, and of that divisiveness that’s followed the platform around, the time has come to revisit the rise and fall of Flash—with a little help from its principal creator, Jonathan Gay; a raft of Web resources; and interviews with others who had a hand in its ultimate success.


In retrospect, joining Macromedia was the best thing that could have happened to the product. Some within the company were initially resistant to Flash and saw it as either a distraction from or competitor to Director, but Flash had support where it counted. Gay and his team could do what they wanted with it. It was just like before, when they were independent, except now Gay and Jackson had the backing of Macromedia’s sales and marketing machine to ensure Flash got the attention it needed in order to gather momentum.


Nowadays, Gay admits that the credit for its interactivity—that critical component of Flash’s massive success—lay at the feet of a single journalist at MacUser magazine.

“We gave these guys a preview before FutureSplash Animator shipped,” said Gay. “And one of the reviewers went like, ‘You really should add a button.’ We’re like, ‘A button!? That’s a good idea.’”


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