Definition

Adobe Flash Player

What is Adobe Flash Player?

Adobe Flash Player is software used to stream and view video, audio, multimedia and Rich Internet Applications (RIA) on a computer or supported mobile device. Flash Player was created by Macromedia but is now developed and distributed by Adobe Systems Inc.

As of January 2021, Flash Player is no longer supported by Adobe due to multiple security issues. Adobe recommended all users uninstall Flash Player in its end-of-life notice.

What operating systems supported Adobe Flash Player?

Before its discontinuation, Adobe Flash Player was available for major desktop operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, Linux, Solaris and Mac OS X.

The Flash Player plugin was available for download for free on recent versions of web browsers on the platforms mentioned above.

Each version of the plugin for Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome, and Safari was backward compatible.

What types of files did Adobe Flash Player support?

Flash Player ran SWF files, an Adobe Flash file format for displaying "animated" vector graphics on the web, commonly called animations. SWF file formats allowed audio, video and several other possible forms of interaction with the end user.

Once flash content was created, it could be played by the Adobe Flash Player, working either as a browser plugin or as a standalone player.

Most mobile operating systems supported Flash Player usage as a standalone application or within an internet browser.

Apple iOS, Android and BlackBerry were among devices that supported Flash Player as a standalone app, while operating systems on Maemo, PS3, Pocket PCs and Windows Mobile supported usage within a web browser.

After 2012, Adobe stopped developing Flash Player for smartphone browsers in favor of HTML5.

What data formats did Adobe Flash support?

Flash Player supported several data formats, including XML, JSON, AMF and SWF. Multimedia formats supported by the Adobe Flash Player included MP3, FLV, PNG, JPEG, GIF and RTMP, among others

See also understanding HTML5 mobile application development and the pros and cons of using an HTML5 browser as a VDI client.

This was last updated in March 2022

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