Here's my latest piece for El Reg, looking at Adobe's Apollo by actually installing and working with the development tools. A quick summary: it's definitely early beta, with lots of pieces missing, but rather promising.
There was a bit of a buzz in the air on Monday when Adobe rolled out the first public alpha release of its Apollo desktop internet application client – along with a whole truckload of developer tools and documentation.
Apollo is an interesting proposition, a platform that mixes Flash (though you do need to use code that's written to use ActionScript 3.0 and the new AVM 2.0 virtual machine), PDF, and HTML. The Apollo runtime is a host for .air applications and is built on code that mixes Adobe's Acrobat Reader, the Flash 9 Player, and a standards-compliant HTML rendering engine based on Apple's WebKit.
The main difference between the Apollo runtime and all these components running in, say, WebKit browsers like Safari or Swift, is that there's no browser window and that the application gets direct access to your hard disk. It can read and write files, as well as using persistent storage. It even gets access to some of your hardware – so you can use Apollo to work with images from a web cam. In fact, there's already a demonstration application that mimics Apple's Photo Booth webcam tool.
So what's the developer experience like?
The good news is that Adobe has learnt the lesson of Macromedia's Central, and has given developers several different routes to building applications – without locking you into someone else's business model.