Flash Is Dead, Long Live Hype (Ruffle Too!)

Hype Logo (Stylized)What a waste! Flash was awesome software. With music, sound effects, animation, and video, it added life to the Internet. Instead of a dull collection of text and low-res pictures, webpages were filled with action and interactivity. But even though Flash revolutionized the Internet, the software met an ill-fated end. After a decade long decline, Flash is officially dead. What will web designers and developers do now? Is there no replacement for Flash?!

There’s a hole on the Internet. In the space where entertaining Flash files once stood, too often the replacement is sadness. It’s like losing an old friend. I had so much fun with the Flash games of yore. The shocking part of this tale is how Adobe ended it. Starting today, Adobe will block Flash content from running in the Flash Player.

Since Adobe will no longer be supporting Flash Player after December 31, 2020 and Adobe will block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning January 12, 2021, Adobe strongly recommends all users immediately uninstall Flash Player to help protect their systems.

Is that it? Is that how Flash dies? Fortunately, there’s open source software that is fighting to preserve this historical content. It’s called “Ruffle” (https://ruffle.rs/) and it’s off to a good start. I was able to play “Population Tire” at HomestarRunner.com and “Smashing” at MiniClip.com.

The problem is that Ruffle still needs a lot of work to be a true Flash replacement. And even if it gets to a point of perfection, how would one create new Flash content? Should I dust off my old copies of Flash 4 or Macromedia Studio 8?

For new content, the more practical solution is Tumult Hype. While Flash was dying, Hype was growing. Back in 2011, the software didn’t do much. But with Hype 4, it’s quite powerful. I estimate that Hype does about 90% of what I used to do with Flash. (The main features I miss are the bone tool for creating puppets and the powerful vector editing. Wow, Flash was really good at making it easy to edit vector graphics.)

Hype projects are built with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript — no plugins needed. And since core web technologies are used, Hype projects are easy to customize. Do you want better audio effects? Add Howler.js. Do you want to add a map? Use Leaflet.js. Do you want to add Physics? Don’t worry. It already runs Matter.js.

After using Hype, I was inspired to write A Book About Hype. Obviously I like the software. Originally, I started using Hype because I didn’t want to code. But after using Hype, I truly learned JavaScript. The coding adventure continued with Wrapping. By chucking Hype projects into a WKWebView, I’ve sent my Hype projects to Apple’s app stores. Games, Interactive Books, Utilities — it can be built with Hype. Today, I’m at a point where I can picture a project… a new website… an app… and then just build it.

It’s a powerful feeling. It’s something that many people felt when Flash was new. There was a sense of exploration and optimism with the Internet. Today, the day is a bit somber. Yet, the fight is still going on. Hopefully, as Ruffle matures and Hype adds even more features, the web will return to those exciting and fun days of Flash.

If you’re looking for a replacement to Flash, these are two strong contenders. Ruffle is working towards preserving existing Flash content, while Hype is great for creating new web content. Is it a perfect solution, probably no. Despite the performance issues and security issues, I still think Flash was great. It shouldn’t have gone out like this.