As announced a few years ago, Adobe has been working on the gradual retirement of the Flash technology from the web in favor of open standards such as HTML5, WebGL etc.
Officially December 31st. 2020 will be the last day for the Flash platform, after which it will be removed from the Adobe website. This means it won’t be available for download any more, nor there will be any form of support or updates from Adobe.
How does this impact SmartFoxServer and its users? Let’s find out.
» Admin Tool
Starting with release 2.14, SmartFoxServer 2X has introduced a new version of the AdminTool based on HTML5. With the launch of SFS2X 2.16.0 we have now finalized the new AdminTool, which officially replaces the previous Flash-based tool.
Make sure to upgrade to the latest SmartFoxServer 2X release if you wish to completely replace the old Flash-based AdminTool.
» Actionscript 3 API support
Even though Adobe will effectively remove all Flash related downloads from their website by the end of 2020, we will keep the SFS2X client API for Flash available for developers who are still using it.
Also, in terms of support, we plan to keep maintaining the Flash API with bug fixes and security updates, although new features won’t be added anymore.
Q: Flash clients rely on the server side cross-domain policy file to function properly. Is there any intention to phase out this feature in future releases?
A: No, the Flash cross-domain policy mechanism will remain supported in future releases. We don’t have plans to remove it from the server.
Q: I still run an older version of SFS2X and I use the Flash-based (or Flash standalone) AdminTool for managing my servers. Will there be issues with future versions of SFS2X?
A: As of version 2.16 the Flash (and Flash standalone) AdminTool is still compatible with the server, and it probably will be for the incoming releases as well. However we can’t guarantee that the compatibility won’t break at some point in the future and we highly recommend to start migrating to a more recent SFS2X version. (Highly recommended is version 2.16, or higher)
» The Flash legacy
Finally we’d like to spend a few words on how this will impact the gaming community at large.
One of the major concerns with the final conclusion of the Flash era is that thousands of games and interactive content will be irremediably lost. Even though a significant amount of Flash-based content was low-effort, there have been innumerable examples of high caliber games.
For example studios such as Ankama, Nitrome, and Metanet all started by making high quality games in Flash, pushing the boundaries of what at the time was thought to be possible with the medium. And so have done many talented developers at the time who eventually moved on to more sophisticated platforms.
Similarly we have seen amazing and experimental web-design projects in the course of the past 20 years, many of which have raised the goal-post for animation techniques and quality standards in the web.
In order to preserve the legacy of the Flash era there have been different initiatives which include: alternative Flash Players, open source Actionscript compilers and more. You can take a look at this article to learn more about what’s available.
Also, if you’re interested in learning more about the end of Flash and the preservation of its legacy, we highly recommend this article by Polygon.
» Further discussion
If you have more questions or doubts on this subject make sure to join the conversation in our support forums and let us know your feedback.