Adobe and Google

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-03-03 Print this article Print

What's the status of the Adobe relationship with Google about Google Gears?

That's a project Google's been working on, and they used SQLite in Gears for local storage and we use the same database in AIR for local storage. So the relationship is we both use the same open-source local database, and we thought it would be a good idea to try to line the APIs up across those two things so a developer could make an app that would work with Gears and work with AIR. and both teams were actually too far along in their first version to actually make that shift. So they're kind of continuing on their own paths now.

And what we're seeing is at the framework level-the different AJAX frameworks-people are starting to provide that continuity across the two different mechanisms. So I think it's just two different approaches to how to enable these applications to work offline. But that is just one aspect of what AIR does. AIR is not just about working offline; it's also about integrating with your local machine and looking like a native application and a whole host of other things.

What's your software as a service story?

We're starting to build hosted services and software delivered as a service. There are a few examples right now. There's a premier Express, which is a rich Internet app that's built with Flex and is running in the browser and on Flash it enables you to remix videos. And it's running on YouTube and MTV and PhotoBucket.

It's a free application on their sites, so users can use it for free. But it's advertising-sponsored and Adobe shares in the ad revenue. So that's an example of how we're delivering software in a new way.

And we're also working on some new services, one of them is code-named Share. It enables you to store documents and share them with other people and control who can see it and things like that. And we're working on some other services as well. So you'll see more and more of that coming from Adobe-other hosted services and rich Internet applications, because we really think that is the future of software; hat is how people are going to be getting software and using software.

So we're in a situation where we're helping to enable that revolution with things like AIR. While at the same time, we've got a large inventory of software built in the traditional way. So as a company we are also making that transition and starting to use all of our expertise and teams and existing code and algorithms into this new world of rich Internet applications.

How big of a portion of the company do you see that becoming?

It's hard to tell. I think ultimately most software will be consumed in this new way over the next five or 10 years. This is a tidal shift in how software is made and used. So Adobe has to make that transition or we won't be as relevant a software company over that long period of time. We know that we're very focused on not only enabling that transition to happen, but participating in it ourselves.

And that's one of the great things about working in some of these technologies is that we can enable things in AIR or in Flash Player to make these applications work better and run faster.

Do you have any plans to do an AIR-based browser?

Well, AIR is really different than the browser. Now it has an HTML engine in it, WebKit, which is open source, by the way. So one could build an application that went to different Web pages, but there's not too much point in doing that because there are already browsers out that do that pretty well.

But building application user interfaces that pull data in and use it in neat ways is where a lot of work is happening. People could build a browsing experience, but I'm not sure people will or not. That's not the main focus of AIR certainly.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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