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Alessandro Crugnola on March 20, 2007 in flash

Apollo, why so much excitement?

In these 2 days I read only Apollo related news, post and video tutorials! I dont think there is still someone who dont know about the public alpha of Apollo :)
I see much more excitement than for a new Flash player release Smile

I'm sure Apollo will be a great product, I'm just testing it right now (even if I sill have  no idea about what to create with it... but it's another story), but to be honest I can see anything so revolutionary there.
Unfortunately I dont have so much experience with desktop flash suff (just a couple of little projects using mdm and some experiments with XUL)
What's the difference and innovation compared with MDM Zinc, Screenweaver, Xul Runner, and all the other flash desktop integration kits?
I just hope I can find the time to use it much more in the future to give me an answer...


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Tags: air , apollo , haxe , screenweaver , xul runner , zinc 


In Africa, Uganda to be exact, Apollo is definately going to rock over ZINC. For 2 years I've been using ZINC but am restricted because am using trials/cracked versions. Not because I can't pay for them, but because their are no quick means for payment. If am to stick to the slow payment means, then by the time I get a legal copy, a new version has been released. Same thing applies to adobe product. Credit cards are not yet a thing here in Uganda. So since Apollo seems free, am definately switching to it. Also I think it's got more powerful features bringing RIAs on to our desktops. Thanks adobe. Hey I insist on using cracked versions of your latest products until you provide a quick means of payment. Also consider your prices, we are a third world country with an average income of $1 per day.
How I Spent My Apollo Camp Vacation So, 'this one-time at band-camp' I arrived skeptical but intrigued and left feeling a real shift in the playing field at hand. Adobe buying Macromedia means tendrils reach into almost every home and office desktop in the world. Flash is like a magnificent worm now snaking it's way through the vast majority of the world's connected computers and Adobe is going to swallow the internet browser from the inside out. Brilliant stratagem. I salute Adobe. Really. To me developing for Apollo means to switch platforms like swapping sun-glasses w/o a dropped tag or font substituted & miss-aligned layout. With Apollo and the current momentum of Flex+Flash I can imagine a true author-once cross-platform web/RIA development system with an intrinsic graphical finesse that brings to mind high-touch glossy magazine aesthetics. Design & produce just once to deploy your services across the world from laptop to mobile phone without browser support hassles and platform agnostic in creation or playback. Heady stuff. I'm not getting locked in any more than Director locked me in. I can take my logic & systemic understanding, graphic resources, the business models in motion, and head full of product ideas and deploy them under other environments if Apollo should be burdensome instead of liberating. If your worried about lock-out/lock-in gatekeepers, consider MicroSoft {shudder} to understand biz doesn't care if you make a Rube-Goldberg ad-hoc Walled Garden as long as it actually works. This has been true of any manner of business arrangements throughout the rise of modern financial markets and commerce for several hundred years. We don't have to like it, it just is. Just as Apple "Black-Boxed" the Macintosh toolbox, Adobe is abstracting both browser and OS in a bid to win the web today and ever greater media landscapes of tomorrow. I usually don't get in the habit of cheering for the big-guy on the playground or the marketplace, but I do now. Making my html/css compatible with the variety of browsers is a huge time-suck and frustration-peaking process - most especially with standards-based mutants like IExplorer. I demand relief. To author just once is a real ray of hopeful light on a bloody battlefield at the bottom of Sisyphus Hill. Also, I'm not so sure the guiding hands at Adobe will allow more half-baked measures like Central that all-too often littered the MacroMedia landscape. And very importantly they appear to be enforcing a level of quality control discipline that has been long overdue. MacroMind/Media was always too ready to ship before Prime Time. My daily struggles with DreamWeaver are the latest case in point. Compare the {so-called} WYSIWYG efforts of the last DW -vs- MicroSoft's FrontPage: I listen to co-workers bitch vehemently over these differences daily. If Adobe can just keep focused on the designer and not the geek, then Adobe scores a quick landslide victory before the other players can respond. They've got this year to hone the front end authoring, but their creative professional audience is huge and eager for a solution. So, I'm holding my breath and jumping off the cliff into these waters. The risk is justified and upside enormous for breaking down technical barriers as they are doing and I have more confidence in Adobe staying power than anything else on the horizon. I do feel naked booting without QuickTime, but I know it'll be a heckuva ride all the way down whatever temperature the water ends up. And it looks like I'll have some company. Viva, la revolucion!
Apollo is pretty awesome, just from the standpoint of the access it gives you to the desktop. I've never heard of the various technologies you are referring to, but the big draw with apollo is the suite of tools sitting behind it. Really it's just a sort of custom web browser, or more precisely infinite custom browsers with full system access. This is not really revolutionary. It is however really easy to get into, really easy to move existing flash projects into, and the flash vm has a massive install base to target. I think the difference between the various frameworks you listed and Apollo essentially comes down to Adobe. It is nice to see an 800lb gorilla moving in a positive direction. I am more than happy to capitalize on that movement.
Dario, I not agree with you. I used Zinc (with Flex) recently to compile a statistic application and it works fine. But I'm only one "little user" of Zinc, also Yahoo and other big companies used it, so it's probably not so bad :D
Sure there are some missing features (eg dynamic form generation/destruction, that is available for example in Janus and that will be probably implemented also in next Zinc), but I used database and files without problems, and I was also able to solve some problem caused by "static" forms. I also develop an Mp3 Player some time ago using Zinc features, and it was nice :) About "Mac projectors", imho we've to pay attention: often software house say "you can make mac software", but after they're compressed file or similar (Flash is an example of this).
We've to wait to see if Apollo really will be an easier way...actually for example it's absurd to have necessity to install two files (apollo installer + air file) for a distribution! Apollo does not introduce "new things to do", imho (I don't see exciting features not usable in all other projectors software), it's simply another way to do same things. Or maybe, less: in this alpha it has some stupid missing feature /detail, and before the definitive 1.0 will come out also other sw house could implement new features. It's too soon to say if it will be a "revolution" or a flop like Central :)
Surely it's a promising tool, be free should be a big advantage, and Adobe is working a lot on it...but actually from Adobe we've lot of alpha/beta/rumors and nothing sure. I'll be happy if Apollo will be really good as they promise, but actually I don't see nothing new, except the possibility to debug directly from Flex without have to export swf and compile exe...this is a good thing, but few to define it a revolutionary way, imho :)
Broly: MDM product(s) are FAR from being a good solution for developing applications for desktop using flash platform. They simply have too many things which doesn't work. As long as you have to do a simple screensaver or a simple swf wrapper they are just ok. If you need to : use files, use sockets, integrate with os interface and much more they show every weakness... they won't be usable for commercial solutions. Mac projectors are still long way behing windows ones too! Apollo may be the solution. I don't think it's a revolution (marketing claim) but sure it allows us to develop is a different (and easier) way. I'd like to provoke too: if Apollo is not a revolution, why was Java one ? It was just a language similar to C :) Apollo is a "revolution" because it allows you to do things you couldn't do the same way you did before. (imho)
I agree with Sephiroth. Apollo is a promising product, and surely be "free" could give it great advantage on other similar software like Zinc, MProjector, Janus & c...but it's nothing "totally new". Probably the possibility to use the same Flex IDE excite lot of people, but anyway the Apollo commands are a sort of "new" cose, exactly like MDMScript for example...and this one is no so complicated. Surely with Flex+Apollo we should test the app without export swf and then compile the exe like with Zinc and similar, but I don't see Apollo as a "revolution" like someone speak about it. It has good thing, if it will really cross-platform it would be a great thing, but we've not to forget that Apollo actually is an Alpha, the definitive release probably wll be in 2nd half 2007: in the meantime MultiDMedia and other 3d part projector software houses won't only watch without improve their products! Apollo has many missing feature in this alpha, that's true, but no-one can know how many features Zinc, Janus & c will have when Apollo 1.0 will come out. It's always difficultous enter in a market with software that already exists for years; Macromedia/Adobe made a good work with Captivate (vs Camtasia for example), but it's nothing too new and nothing too impossible to do with other softwares. A "strange"/comic note: the HTML parser of Apollo alpha...doesn't support Flash Player! So, we've to wait and see...surely have a competitor like Adobe will bring other Software House to improve their products, it should be good for us :D
Mine was a provocative post, but in any way I dont agree with the general 'excitement'. I just agree that it's a promising new product, nothing more.

Btw, there are also other similar impressions:
ricardo cabello
Daniel Tome
I think apollo can be GREAT. Why ? Because it's the first time we can really develop multiplatform applications with NO code change between the various releases. Application development is fast, it allows you to easily reuse what you need (html, pdf, swf) adding integration with OS. We use Zinc since when it was called flash studio: great product, but it's a REAL PAIN when you need to develop complex applications. There are just too many things that won't work. When you need to export to mac ? Nightmare. Apollo stands out, it allows us to deploy our applications to the desktop without having to code for months to fix stupid bugs or find workarounds for features not working. It's too early to say it will be the future, let's say it has the chance to become that
I hope Apollo has a nicer workflow than using Zinc. I find it quite arduous working between two separate apps (i.e., Flash authoring environment and Zinc), e.g., you make a change to the mdm code in the fla file and then you have to re-publish the swf, then you have to re-build it in Zinc just to see the effect of the changes I made.
Apollo's access to PDF will indeed be interesting - especially with Adobes 3D plugins for PDF's.
Cross-platform - you can build apps that work on win,mac,linux and compile only one .air file. Apollo is in early stages of development, and i beleve in future it will support much more then today.
Apollo will handle also PDF. I can't discuss so much about its utility. But it definitely has some peculiar features. Let's see if someone comes up with clever applications now.
It's true, flash projectors can almost do everything you can do with apollo BUT : - they do not have the ease of install apollo enables - they have never been considered as a Flash-RDA standard over the web as Apollo will be Adobe is taking the advantages of those projectors and mix them at one place : Apollo. It will be easier to spread it allover the web. (And I did not mention PDF, mobile support, community...)
Nope, pal :) it's not what you're seeing. Think about what you can do with it. Apollo does not leave on browser. Apollo isn't even a exe projector. It's more like java web start stuff, rather than MDM stuff. The same old stuff you develope for the web that lives on the desktop. Installing an application with apollo is a peace of cake. And don't forget that Apollo sdk is free. That's enough for me to be quite excited.
I think Apollo is great thing for real database applications. For example applications for insurance brokers, traders, people not connected all the time. Also when application need collect data from another application. And so on... Shortly - Apollo will be great for real production applications with heavy relation to database. P.S. Don't forgot this just Aplha. Many features is not yet implemented (PDF...)
So, it's because the fact has native HTML rendering? so an html which embeds an swf whic embeds html?
Hello seph. Just try seeing what Apollo can do. Just see HTML (and javascript) coming from a web site running in something like flash , and showing the inner source, dom, and everything else. Just discover the drag and drop support within other desktop applications. It's not like MDM stuff, guy. MDM was instantiating an IE ActiveX on top the player for showing HTML. This stuff instead reads and parses and renders HTML, CSS, XHTML, Javascript and ALL inside a Flash instance. And that object is also available to that geeks that we are. The fact that applications written for Apollo can be installed smoothly from the web page is the final killer feature that can make the difference. It's a big mistake to compare this jewel with others. Cheers jay
My thought is that Apollo is a big thing for Adobe, but maybe not so much of a big thing for the "world." It strikes me to be one of those technologies that is pretty cool and can have a place, but it is not going to revolutionize the computer or anything. I build quite a lot of projector type executables and I will probably continue to use Zinc over Apollo - at least for a year or more. Apollo is going to need a large database of incredibly useful components for me to want to utilize it. And as for webapps that also work offline. Sure, sounds interesting. I wouldn't mind being able to add Basecamp items offline, but it becomes pointless for checking the status of a project. I dunno. Isn't Apollo just Macromedia Central (or whatever it was called?) reborn?

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