Saturday, March 24, 2007

Apollo : Too Simple

Sydney Airport, Waiting

I've just gotten back from webDu and there are too many things to write about. But there is one thing that has been on my mind since day one : Apollo. Oddly enough I feel a bit let down by Apollo. I suppose I imagined myself going to Apollo presentations and having a moment of revelation; as I had with Flex at MXDU, 2005. But I didn't have a moment of revelation at the conference.

Don't get me wrong. Apollo is very exciting. It will have a major impact on how the desktop relates to the web. We will probably need to coin a new buzz word to describe all the Apollo applications that will soon appear. But Apollo doesn't represent a new development paradigm the way Flex did. Apollo changes the world because developing desktop applications just became a whole lot easier, especially when you consider that you will be able to build it once and deploy to Mac, PC and (eventually) Linux.

I guess I feel let down because Apollo is too simple (if you understand Flex). All the interactive potential of Apollo is the interactive potential of Flex. All the web services you can access from Apollo are the web services you can access from Flex. Sure the html component is new (and very exciting). But it is just a new Flex style component as straight forward to use as many of the simpler Flex components. The File class is new. But it is just another Flex style class with a familiar workflow. Of course, Apollo will evolve to include many new features. But they won't be new because we will be familiar with them from existing desktop applications and because using them will be similar to using existing Flex components. Really the hardest part about learning Apollo will be learning Flex. So I feel a bit let down. I was steeling myself for the learning Apollo journey only to find myself in the arrivals lounge collecting my luggage.


Sherif Mansour said...

I think the thing that bugged me the most about Apollo, was that its soo early stages, and for me its like, well do I really want to get into something thats still in Alpha/Beta stages?! Knowing that things will change and get easier over the next 12 months...

geekglue said...

Thanks for the comment Sherif. I got into Flex during the alpha release and although there were a few things that needed to be changed with each progressive release it was never a real problem. But I am so glad I did as many of our current projects use Flex in some way and having had over a year with the product means we are able to build some very solid apps really quickly. As I said in my post I don't think Apollo will need a huge investment of time. It's Flex that requires some committment. You might find my Flex bookmarks a good place to find out more. I'll be interested to watch your future comments in this area.