Adobe MAX Keynote Session Part 2 – The Big Bet on Apollo

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006 | Adobe, Technology, Web 2.0

I am currently sitting in a session on “Building Dashboards with Flex”. Interesting stuff, but to many details for me. So here are more notes on the keynote session this morning.

Kevin is back to discuss how HTML, Flash and PDF come together on the client side, outside of the browser. Yes you have guessed it, time to talk about Apollo. Ed Rowe comes on stage to demonstrate the current status of Apollo. He describes Apollo as a cross OS runtime which enables developers to deliver Rich Internet Applications for the desktop by leveraging existing skill sets in web technologies.
He takes Sho’s browser based Music Player and runs it outside the browser in Apollo. The application can read and write files from the local disk and pull album art from the internet via web services. The cross platform story is critical to Apollo. Ed switches over to a Mac and uses the same application with exactly the same code. Nice!

The Apollo runtime sits on top of the OS (Mac, Windows, Linux in the future) and runs applications developed in Flex or HTML and can also embed PDF files. Ed shows Google Maps in Apollo. It works smooth, proving that Apollo can handle complex Ajax applications. He then brings up contact panel in Flash mashed up with Google Maps. The seamless integration of Flash and HTML rendering including transparency between the layers is impressive. Developer APIs for Apollo will be available both for Flex/Flash as well as for AJAX/JavaScript.

Here is a list of other key Apollo features:
– Local file access
– Online/offline detection
– Drag-and-drop
– Clipboard access
– Backgound windows
and many more…

Ed explained that there will be SDKs to develop Apollo applications similar to the current Flex SDK. Soon you will be able to sign up for Apollo SDK news on

Kevin comes back and shows some early Apollo applications. I was particular impressed by the Ebay client prototype which allows user to manage auctions. Some nice effects in there to browse auction item pictures and create pictures/videos on the fly with a webcam.
Prototype Ebay client based on Adobe Apollo

Another impressive example was a rich text editor and collaboration tool developed in Flex and deployed on Apollo. Other examples included a finance application for mortgage and loans, including PDF forms and an instant messenger for mySpace.
Wow I think I am just seeing the future of desktop applications.

Finally Kevin showed an Internet TV application developed by Adobe as a showcase for Apollo. It is driven by RSS and downloads videos to your desktop so you can watch them when you are offline. It takes advantage of the fullscreen video mode of the Flash Player 9 upgrade, also available on Adobe Labs.

I want it now!

However the biggest news was Adobe’s announcement to create an investment fund for $100 Mio. to invest in companies creating RIA’s and especially Apollo applications.

In the end a brand new Jaguar XK was hauled out, which Kevin cateorized as the largest mobile Flash device in the world. The console of the car is completely based on Flash technology.
Kevin Lynch in the new Jaguar XK with Flash based panel

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