Technology for the future: Apollo

Introduction:I can’t say for certain, but with concerns about BitTorrent making the rounds (P2P as a concept and technology should be fine long-term) I’m curious about two new technologies with a lot of future-shaping potential — one that I was already aware of and a new one that I just found out about yesterday…

The first is Adobe’s Apollo, and I’ll cover that in this post. The second is a more obtuse technology called MacFUSE, which I’ll cover in a second post.


Apollo LogoThe first is Adobe’s forthcoming platform. In a recent interview with Mike Downey, Apollo’s senior product manager, he made some interesting comments. First, about the relationship between Firefox and XUL and Apollo:

With Apollo you can take advantage of OS-level services like system notifications, drag and drop from the desktop and complex local data storage and manipulation. Browsers are great for browsing content and Apollo doesn’t aim to replace that.

And second, about monetizing Apollo:

Adobe is also looking to build applications on top of Apollo. I can’t give you any specific examples right now, but we have several teams within Adobe that are building software on top of Apollo as we’re developing it. They give us some great feedback and will also give us some great examples to showcase at Apollo’s launch later this year.

So to me what this sounds like is web-enabled versions of flagship Adobe apps — and others that we’ve not heard of yet. Their Bridge product is already something of a browser of sorts, and I think we’re going to see that functionality woven more directly into each app — so instead of opening your color palettes from your local drive, you might import them from an Apollo-backed web service like Kuler.

Additionally, the relationship between Apollo and as a distribution platform is fundamental. As Ted Patrick points out, Flex is being built as a long term development and deployment platform, meaning subsequent generations of tools will be able to code against generations of Flash players beyond the current Version 9. As Ted says, can rest easy investing in Flex today and tomorrow. In choosing Flash Player 9 for the deployment target of Flex 3.0, Adobe is making a larger commitment to supporting a longer application life-cycle.

All this suggests that, from the standpoint of developing Rich Internet Applications (RIA), Apollo and Flex will be a serious platform pairing to watch.

Author: Chris Messina

Head of West Coast Business Development at Republic. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Hashtag inventor. Previously: (YC W18), Uber, Google.

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