What is Flash Player?

For a long time, the Flash Player was indispensable for playing videos, animations and other multimedia content. In the meantime, its importance has decreased significantly. We explain what it does, what its future looks like and how you can find out whether and which version of Flash is installed on your computer.

  • The Flash Player has made interactive content possible on the Internet
  • Flash has become much less important in recent years
  • You can find out if you have Flash installed on your computer on the Adobe website

Flash – a dinosaur of the multimedia age

For a long time, Adobe Flash Player was everywhere. Practically every large website that offered multimedia content such as animations or videos required the installation of the Flash Player. Flash is part of the history of the Internet. History is because you will find it on fewer and fewer pages. And for good reasons.

What does Adobe Flash Player do?

Flash consists of two components: the Flash Player and the Flash software platform. Developers can use the software to create a wide variety of multimedia content. In order for this content to be displayed and played, you need the Flash Player. This is a plug-in for your web browser .

Adobe Flash has played a major role in making the Internet today interactive and colorful. Among other things, the software enables the following content on websites:

  • Videos
  • Animations
  • Vector graphics (scalable images)
  • Games

What is the strength of Flash Player?

The great strength of Flash is that it can handle a wide variety of user input. In this way, for example, interactive advertising banners can be programmed that react to the movements of your mouse. For a long time, this was also decisive for online games and a feature that made interactive websites possible in the first place. Videos and animated graphics were also not available without Flash. This explains its importance: In 2010 the proportion of websites that used Flash content was over 50 percent – and at that time the software was already on the decline. According to abbreviationfinder, Flash Player is abbreviated as FSP.

Why is the Flash Player becoming less important?

Only a small number of websites now use Flash. There are several reasons for this. Basically, the industry assumes that Flash will completely disappear from the Internet in the next few years. How long the decline of technology has been going on is shown by a statement by Steve Jobs, who explained in 2010 why neither iPad nor iPhone support Flash.

Security gaps and high resource consumption

One of the most important reasons are security gaps that have occurred several times in recent years, sometimes to a considerable extent. This often led to some browsers recommending their users to completely uninstall Flash Player. This is the only way to be sure not to catch any viruses.

In addition to security gaps, the Flash Player’s resource consumption is a problem. Content animated with Flash uses significantly more resources than content created with HTML5 or JavaScript. These two standards are gradually replacing Flash as the technology for interactive content. For example, YouTube now uses HTML5 to serve you videos.

Developers and users are dependent on Adobe

Another reason is that Flash is proprietary software. It is developed and maintained by Adobe. Ultimately, this means that developers and internet users rely on the benevolence of a single company. Should Adobe decide not to support certain functions (any more), then these would not be possible in an Internet dominated by Flash. This is the reason why web developers today rely on HTML5 and JavaScript. They are open standards: The code does not belong to anyone, but can be used freely.

How to find out whether and which version of Flash you have installed

For all its drawbacks, there are still a number of websites that use Flash. You need the Flash Player to display the content correctly. Adobe itself offers a test on its site.

Do you still need the Flash Player?

However, it is questionable whether you still need the Flash Player at all. The number of websites that display their interactive content with Flash is now so low that the program is only necessary in the rarest of cases. The development of multimedia content on the web is clearly moving towards the open standards HTML5 and JavaScript. The advantage: All current browser versions support the formats. You do not need an additional plug-in and can consume videos and interactive graphics much more economically. This is a great advantage, especially on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.