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Apollo Alpha SDK Released

Adobe has released the first public alpha of Apollo. Apollo is the code name for their cross-operating system runtime supporting HTML, Javascript, Flash and PDF. Apollo lets developers write desktop applications that will run in both online and offline modes. The alpha version of the Apollo runtime and SDK are both available for free. The SDK includes a set of command line tools for compiling and developing Apollo apps. Developers can also use Adobe's FlexBuilder IDE.

Mike Downey, Sr. Product Manager at Adobe, has posted some links for learning resources as well as pointers to demos and examples. Scoble is cautious about Apollo and compares it against Microsoft's WPF.

Alexey Gavrilov has already looked at the performance and Mike Potter takes a look at one of the demo apps. A few weeks ago, Ryan Stewart described some sample applications that Adobe displayed at Adobe Engage.

Early blogsphere commentary on the release has been generally favorable but there have been a few negative impressions as well:

Why would someone want to lock themselves into a proprietary, closed platform - like Apollo? ... One could argue that by enabling developers to easily connect media, web and the desktop together - that they’ll be able to get further faster - but would someone please mention to these poor schmucks who swallow this pitch that if you’re hopelessly locked into a proprietary platform - that the owner of the platform (Google, Microsoft, Adobe, MySpace) can do ANYTHING they want - at any time and discard you as fast as - well as fast as Macromedia ripped of Laszlo.

Comments on the more favorable side:

...It shouldn’t be long until we start seeing some interesting stuff being built on Apollo for consumers, but there are already a few cool things springing up. Check out, for instance, the desktop version of Finetune, the MySpace music player we’ve reviewed in the past. eBay also said in the release that it has been building a piece of desktop software on the platform. Should be the start of some really cool apps, and yet more beta software clogging up my machine...

...The road to cross-operating system, online/offline apps is littered with failed attempts. However, despite my initial skepticism, I think Apollo looks great. Imagine for instance the entire online component of Flickr’s organizational and editing tools wrapped in a desktop app. You can use it offline to organize your photos. Then, when you connect to the internet, the desktop app updates your data. In Flickr’s case, there is already a cottage industry of apps that can do this sort of thing, but functionality and user experience varies widely. Using Apollo, it would be relatively easy for Flickr developers to simply repackage their online tools as an integrated on/offline application...

...Readers have noticed our recent infatuation with the Apollo platform. I honestly believe that entirely new classes of companies can be built on this platform, which takes Flash, HTML and javascript completely outside of the browser and interacts with the file system on a PC. Photos, music, email and many other everyday tasks make a lot of sense in a single environment that is both local and in the cloud simultaneously. There is going to be a lot of creativity coming off of this platform over the near term.

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