Blast from the past: how Adobe praised XAML at PDC 2003

I’ve been trawling back through material from Microsoft’s Professional Developer’s Conference in 2003 for a piece that will be posted shortly. I believe that the vision that was presented at PDC 2003, and how it fell apart, sheds a lot of light on why Windows is as it is today.

In doing so I came across this snippet about Adobe’s participation in the PDC keynote. It’s still online in Microsoft’s PDC press release:

Adobe Systems, a leading developer of software for consumers, creative professionals and enterprises, demonstrated the possibilities for ISVs created by integrating the new "Avalon" presentation technology and declarative programming techniques for Windows. Using these technologies, a prototype version of Adobe After Effects showed how developers could unify documents, cutting-edge graphics and media. For example, developers would now be able to build animated charts and graphs that are linked to back-end data sources to produce a smart solution that displays stock prices, sales and other information within a high-end professionally designed format.

"Many developers have not taken the visual design of their applications seriously enough, with the most innovative work restricted to creative professional software and games," said Greg Gilley, vice president of Graphics Applications Development at Adobe. "Longhorns new Avalon technology brings the designer and developer closer, so they can truly collaborate on creating software applications that are as beautiful as they are functional."

The odd thing is, this quote could come from the Adobe MAX 2009 conference from which I have just returned. “Animated charts and graphs … linked to back-end data sources” is what we saw in applications build with Mosaic, Adobe’s new framework for LiveCycle ES2 clients.

The difference: Adobe is doing all this with Flex and MXML, not XAML, and the client platform is the Flash runtime, not Avalon running on Windows.

Gilley of course was speaking before Adobe’s acquisition of Macromedia (and Flash and MXML) in 2005. Furthermore, nobody at PDC in 2003 could have guessed how long it would take Microsoft to deliver XAML.

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