As a Web developer, I’ve built many a Flash-based websites (or hybrid sites) and I “was” a fairly active contributor to the Flash community at large. I became an avid fan of the application shortly after Macromedia acquired FutureSplash  (circa 1996). I considered ActionScript among my top three programming language proficiencies.

But, alas, can’t say I have much cause to work in Flash lately. Clients that may not know much about technology, know enough to say no Flash.

Just a few short years ago, Flash was a rock star. It was the preferred platform for video. If you wanted your site to be cinematic then Flash was the only way to go (it still is).

The turn of fortune began with the rise of search engine optimization (SEO). Flash sites can be built to have good SEO but it takes more effort and Adobe failed to educate and encourage developers on best practices (at best their attitude was lackadaisical and at worst, arrogant). But, no doubt, the final nail in the coffin was the Apple iPad. It is hard to ignore a market share of nearly 75% (Apple sold 11.1 million iPads in the September quarter alone).

Apparently, Adobe agrees it is time to throw in the towel, opting out of Flash for mobile, stating they will now aggressively contribute to HTML5.

I suppose this is good news. Web Standards are the right way to go and HTML5 works within the DOM architecture of the Web, not outside it.

In the coming year, the next generation of sites will feature impressive performance while rendering effects that are both beautiful and user-friendly. HTML5 may not do the more complex animations that Flash enables but for most applications (outside of movie and video game sites) it is more than adequate.

Still, can’t help but feel a little sad, like saying farewell to an old friend for the last time. Such is the way of the warrior coder.