The rise of Flash. The technology that gave interactivity to the web

The Rise of Flash

In the beginning the web was static. With the bandwidth available at the time, the only things that could be transmitted were still texts and images. Two developers who had created a Mac software company they found the solution. A player that was installed locally on the user's computer allowed to see animations created by another program. This reduced the use of resources.

How we count on the previous article, the idea was a success and for the next ten years the product, under new ownership and known as Flash, would dominate interactivity on the web. In the next article we will see that nothing is forever. But, now let's focus on their growth

The Rise of Flash

The use of Flash was not very good for commercial websites. In the first place, the search engines of the time could not index this type of content, which sent the positioning to the waste basket. Second, the content had to be loaded before the page could be viewed. At that time I was looking for many providers on the Internet and as soon as I saw the loading bar I went to the next site on the list. I did not have Internet at home and Internet cafes paid by time.

But, nobody cared. THaving a website at the time was more a matter of fashion than marketing, and most web developers were design students or computer geeks looking to make a little extra money.

Thanks to Flash, online entertainment opportunities grew with games, comic animations and movies.

In March 2002 Macromedia released Flash MX with full video support. Thanks to the possibility of embedding videos in Flash animations, all compatibility problems between browsers were eliminated and it was possible to customize the playback experience.

Three years later, three engineers decided to quit their job at Paypal and start their own company. They were testing different business ideas focused on the use of video on the web, when one of them attended a meal where investor Keith Rabois was invited.The investor asked the engineer if he was planning to use Macromedia technologies.

In response to the affirmative answer, Rabois, who was specifically looking for a company that would take advantage of Flash technology, agreed to invest as long as the team focused on the business of allowing users to upload and stream videos. The new venture was called YouTube.

A year later, Google buys YouTube and the service (along with the technology that made it work) becomes massive. New competitors appear that transmit not only content uploaded by users but also copyrighted material such as movies and music videos. Browsers begin to include the Flash player among their extensionsAnd computers, with the ability to watch videos without having to download them, would become a stronger threat to cinemas and television.

Flash and Linux

I couldn't find which was the first version of the player for Linux. I remember when I started Ubuntu in 2006 it was a bit complicated to install. If you weren't very orthodox in following the free software standards and the Debian project guidelines, you could use a script called Automatix which, as its name implies, would automate the installation of proprietary software in Ubuntu.

A short time later, Ubuntu added the player to its repositories.

In 2008, on Red Hat's bug tracking site, un user reported that his wife could not watch Youtube videos using the Fedora 9 beta. His name was Linus Torvalds.

The success of Flash was so great that the Free Software Foundation could not ignore it and began to develop GNU Gnash, a player to view these types of files. Ncould never keep up with the latest versions of the format so if or if you should use the proprietary player.

The villain and the hero appear in the next article.


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