Greek God Vs Sumerian Spirit

Posted by Tejus Parikh on January 30, 2007

Yesterday, Tech Crunch ran a PR fluff piece on Adobe’s new framework Apollo. I felt somewhat compelled to comment on it, because of my well documented views on Flex. The gist of the article is that Apollo, Adobe’s pre-alpha but soon to be released web container, will change the space of Rich Internet Applications and make every early adopter extremely rich.

This claim is simply absurd. There isn’t going to be a “bonanza” and a “gold-rush like mentality” around this technology. The reason is mentioned in the article. When people think Rich Internet Applications, they think AJAX and occasionally Flash. Despite Adobe’s best PR efforts, I don’t see this changing. Flash has never been able to supplant HTML as the interactive medium of the web. With a little thought, it’s extremely easy to see why. It doesn’t $500 per developer seat and $20,000 per server cpu to build an application. The LAMP stack is completely free and it can run on commodity hardware. The java stack has an equally low cost of entry. There are numerous open source javascript frameworks that make AJAX easier and cleaner. Unless Adobe changes the pricing of their server components, at $20k a pop, there will be little left in the budget for somebody to create the RIA at most places. The only people that will ever get rich of this are Adobe’s astro-turfing squad and the sites that accept the paid ads.

None of this is to say that the idea behind RIA’s is flawed or that there isn’t a need for an internet application to interact with the desktop in a more thick client fashion. If this is something you really need, well there’s already a cross-platform, open-source, free and almost production ready way to do it: XUL (named after the Sumerian deity ghost from Ghostbusters). For a good example of what XUL can do, you need to look no further than Firefox and Thunderbird. The choice seems pretty easy to me, millions of users and results over a bunch of made up hype.

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Tejus Parikh

Tejus is an software developer, now working at large companies. Find out when I write new posts on twitter, via RSS or subscribe to the newsletter: