Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash and FutureSplash) is a multimedia software platform used for production of animations, rich web applications, desktop applications, mobile apps, mobile games, and embedded web browser video players. Flash displays text, vector graphics, and raster graphics to provide animations, video games, and applications. It allows streaming of audio and video, and can capture mouse, keyboard, microphone, and camera input.
|Target platform(s)||Web browsers, iOS (via third-party software), Android, Windows, macOS, Linux|
|Status||Active only for enterprise users and all users in China, discontinued everywhere else, i.e. outside China|
Artists may produce Flash graphics and animations using Adobe Animate (formerly known as Adobe Flash Professional). Software developers may produce applications and video games using Adobe Flash Builder, FlashDevelop, Flash Catalyst, or any text editor combined with the Apache Flex SDK. End users view Flash content via Flash Player (for web browsers), Adobe AIR (for desktop or mobile apps), or third-party players such as Scaleform (for video games). Adobe Flash Player (which is available on Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux) enables end users to view Flash content using web browsers. Adobe Flash Lite enabled viewing Flash content on older smartphones, but since has been discontinued and superseded by Adobe AIR.
The ActionScript programming language allows the development of interactive animations, video games, web applications, desktop applications, and mobile applications. Programmers can implement Flash software using an IDE such as Adobe Animate, Adobe Flash Builder, Adobe Director, FlashDevelop, and Powerflasher FDT. Adobe AIR enables full-featured desktop and mobile applications to be developed with Flash and published for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Nintendo Switch.
Flash was initially used to create fully-interactive websites, but this approach was phased out with the introduction of HTML5. Instead, Flash found a niche as the dominant platform for online multimedia content, particularly for browser games. Following an open letter written by Steve Jobs in 2010 stating that he would not approve the use of Flash on their iOS devices due to numerous security flaws, use of Flash declined as Adobe transitioned to the Adobe Air platform. The Flash Player was deprecated in 2017 and officially discontinued at the end of 2020 for all users outside China, as well as non-enterprise users, with many web browsers and operating systems scheduled to remove the Flash Player software around the same time. Adobe continues to develop Adobe Animate, which supports web standards such as HTML5 instead of the Flash format.