Adobe’s venerable Flash extension is, slowly but surely, going the way of the dodo. HTML5 is quickly replacing it in every corner of the Web with faster, quicker-loading and more lightweight tools that are responsive across desktop and mobile devices. But there’s an argument for preserving Flash on the ‘net.
This Quartz article by Keith Collins lays out the chief reason for saving Flash clearly: we need it to archive a particular point in the history of the Internet. Web pages exist that are coded entirely in Flash — hell, I can remember making a few myself — and the death of Flash would mean these important historical artefacts would become unreadable, like a Rosetta Stone with no starting point.
Don’t get me wrong, Flash is bad. It’s bulky and overweight and long past its prime — that’s why Chrome will block Flash by February, that’s why YouTube and Netflix have switched to HTML5 video by default on the platforms that support it, and that’s why even Facebook’s experiments in Instant Games use the newer, more lightweight code.
But in the same way that we like looking back at GeoCities sites and our old LiveJournal blogs to cringe at them, we should save Flash from disappearing entirely. Even if it’s just so we can tell our grandkids how bad it was. [Quartz]