Feeds

Lift-off for Adobe's Apollo

One giant leap for webapplicationkind...

Remote control for virtualized desktops

As Apollo is a new tool, and a new way of working for anyone who's used Flash to build web applications, Adobe has provided plenty of documentation. The HTML-based documentation walks you through several simple applications, adding more and more complex functions with each worked example. There's also plenty of set up information as you can build your first Apollo applications in an HTML editor using JavaScript. HTML code requires hand-built XML files to control how your code is packaged in a .air file.

It's certainly well worth spending plenty of time looking through the sample code provided with the Apollo documentation. This will help you get started and shows you some of the tricks and techniques you'll need when working with Apollo. Once you've finished with the basic tutorials, the weather station sample shows many of the more advanced features, including coloured transparent windows and irregular window shapes.

One key feature that Apollo offers developers is cross-platform window controls. On a Windows machine, an Apollo application can look like a Windows application, or like OS X code on an Apple Macintosh. Alternatively, you can use Apollo's own chrome tools to build irregular windows – and even add transparency and alpha-blending effects. Apollo windows can mix vector and bitmap graphics, so you can experiment with your own UI. This is a similar approach to Microsoft's WPF – though here it gives you a lot more cross platform capabilities than the browser-hosted WPF/e. The alpha does have some limitations – including no support for drag-and-drop, and issues with using Flex components in multiple window applications.

The file system tools are an important feature, but if you've used JavaScript you'll find the basic ActionScript commands familiar. There are also a set of Flex filesystem controls, which will help simplify developing applications that need access to a host systems file system. Adobe has done a good job of abstracting Apollo's file tools so that it can work with both Windows and OS X file systems.

There's still a lot of work to be done. Apollo's PDF support is currently missing, so we'll have to wait for future releases to see just how we'll be able to use PDF in our Apollo applications. While Flex makes an excellent host for the development platform, it's not as designer friendly as the rest of Adobe's creative tools. With a major refresh of its web development suite due next week, there's probably not much scope for Apollo development features to appear there – though there is the possibility of extensions and future updates (and, of course, a version of Flash that - hopefully - will work with ActionScript 3.0 and will also play well with Flex).

A video demo of the Apollo alpha.

This is definitely alpha code (so perhaps you may want to look at the video demonstration of a rich eBay-branded Apollo application here).

Even so, it's going to help you get to grips with what promises to be an interesting – and useful – alternative to the traditional web application. The learning curve will be shorter than you might expect, especially if you already have experience with building CSS/HTML/JavaScript applications – and, of course, if you're using Flex you'll have a head start.

The next few test releases are going to be interesting as Adobe adds features and controls and gets rid of some of the nastier bugs. However, by the time the code ships we should see something akin to the original promise - a new way of bringing internet experiences to the desktop.

Download the Apollo Alpha here (registration needed). ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Microsoft to bake Skype into IE, without plugins
Redmond thinks the Object Real-Time Communications API for WebRTC is ready to roll
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Mozilla: Spidermonkey ATE Apple's JavaScriptCore, THRASHED Google V8
Moz man claims the win on rivals' own benchmarks
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Ubuntu 14.10 tries pulling a Steve Ballmer on cloudy offerings
Oi, Windows, centOS and openSUSE – behave, we're all friends here
Was ist das? Eine neue Suse Linux Enterprise? Ausgezeichnet!
Version 12 first major-number Suse release since 2009
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.