Adobe Launches Apollo Public Beta

I was reading this entry on Wired about Adobe launching the Apollo public beta (see Adobe Lab's product page here, press release here) and I thought I'd check it out. Basically Apollo is a cross-platform runtime environment for application development. Superficially it's a similar idea to Java, but instead of developing Apollo apps in a "traditional" computer language like Java you develop them with web technologies (HTML, Flash, etc.). But the distinction between Apollo apps and Flash apps is that Apollo is a standalone runtime environment (like a JRE) that allows you to package your creations as standalone applications that appear to run natively under the users' operating system.

They currently have runtime environments to support Windows and OS X in the alpha, but I would imagine they will have to support Linux as well when the release is further along. It will be interesting to see what, if any, response SUN has to this. It seems to be a direct challenge to Java, and while I haven't looked much at the SDK I would imagine Apollo is better suited to Rapid Application Development and prototyping than Java, as well as appealing to a broader and different market of developers and designers. On the other hand, Java is a more sophisticated language and runtime with a large mindshare and certainly Apollo doesn't compete with Java in the server and servlet spaces. Still, it will be interesting to see what the Java community's response will be, typically in the space of RAD tools.

There's a good video on Apollo from the Demo conference - check it out.

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