Adobe Live in London – quick report

I attended Adobe Live yesterday. This was in two parts, an exhibition with a schedule of presentations/tutorials, and a developer day focused on Rich Internet Applications – Apollo and Flex – as well as ColdFusion 8.

I’m told that around 1800 attended, though most of these were for the main exhibition, whereas I spent almost the whole day in the developer sessions.

It was a worthwhile though low-key event and I picked up some insights into Apollo and Flex 3 as well as getting an update on ColdFusion. I’ll be reporting in more detail shortly. A couple of quick comments though.

First, this struck me as primarily a designer crowd, Flash folk interested in applications, rather than developers new to Adobe. These are just impressions so I could be wrong, but it strikes me as in interesting issue. Equally, when I went along to Microsoft’s Mix07 earlier this year my perception was that many delegates were primarily Visual Studio folk interested in web design, rather than vice versa. If I’m right, Adobe and Microsoft have inverse cultural and marketing problems here. Still, at least Adobe put on a proper developer schedule this year; it didn’t exist at last year’s London event.

Second, I found the Apollo stuff though-provoking in the light of Google’s Gears announcement as well as what Microsoft is offering with WPF. I knew that Apollo was sandboxed, but hadn’t appreciated the extent of the sandboxing. As I understand it, Apollo apps can do file i/o on the local machine, but in other respects it is locked down in a similar way to web apps running in the browser. There is no access to external libraries, OS scripting, or custom native code extensions.

That’s good from a security perspective, but it limits the extent of OS integration. So the key question: if you can’t integrate with the OS, beyond a few trivia like Start menu or Dock shortcuts, then why bother with a desktop app? Especially now that Gears has a solution to the offline problem. Maybe it is worth it just to get out of the browser window, but some at least will not see the point.

Third, I asked what if anything Adobe intends to do with Google’s open-source Gears code, but apparently I may not have the full story yet – more when I get the information.

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