The closing session here at Adobe MAX Europe was a series of “sneak peeks” at forthcoming technology, presented with a disclaimer to the effect that they may never appear commercially. I am not going to do a blow-by-blow account of these, since it was mostly the same as was shown a couple of weeks ago in the USA, and you may as well read one of the accounts from there. For example, this one from Anara Media, if you can cope with its breathless enthusiasm.
So what was interesting? Overall, Adobe is doing a good job of challenging assumptions about the limitations of web applications, and I am not just talking about AIR. A few years ago you might single out something like Photoshop as an example of something that would always be a desktop application; yet this evening we saw Photoshop Express, a web-hosted Photoshop aimed at consumers, but with impressive image manipulation capabilities. For example, we saw how the application could turn all shades of one colour into those of another colour, so you can make a red car blue. Another application traditionally considered as local-only is desktop publishing, yet here we saw a server version of InDesign controlled by a Web UI written in Flex.
The truth is, given a fast Internet connection and a just-in-time compiler anything can be a web application. Of course, under the covers huge amounts of code are being downloaded and executed on the client, but the user will not care , provided that it is a seamless and reasonably quick experience. Microsoft should worry.
This was a fun and impressive session, and well received by the somewhat bedazzled crowd of delegates.