Rich Internet Applications (RIA)! It’s still a hot topic. Last time, the hype was for Microsoft’s WPF/E platform. This time it’s Adobe’s Apollo platform. Due to be released sometime before mid 2007, Apollo is a neat platform built on Flash, Flex and Webkit. Adobe recently had an invite-only event, Engage, to show off the platform and demo some applications. It created quite a bit of blogbuzz.
I am not really convinced that Apollo will be the next big thing, but I could be wrong. There are some aspects of Apollo, WPF/E (or any runtime wannabe) that cause me to stop and think before falling head-over-heels.
- Platform vendor lock-in: Vendor lock-in is not a black/white issue. Some form of lock-in is always present. It’s more of a sliding scale. Tight lock-in (think MFC/COM apps) to Light lock-in (think cross-browser DHTML).
- Platform openness: Can you fork or hack the system? Can you supply bug fixes?
- Ability to extend with native code: You’ll likely need a feature not supported by the platform. Can you create an extension or plugin? Can you interact with the native OS or 3rd party databases?
- Interaction with desktop: Blending into the native OS is important to user experience.
Of course, the Mozillian that I am, I can’t help but think of XULRunner… Hmmm