This ZD Net news item caught my attention earlier this week. Adobe—makers
of Flash—have a new project called Apollo.
The goal of Apollo, which will be available as a free
download early next year, is to overcome some of the limitations in today’s Web
applications… Right now, Flash programs run within a Web browser. Apollo is
client-based software that will run Flash applications separately from a
browser, whether online or offline, he said.
Web-native applications, such as Web e-mail, can run on
different operating systems but generally don’t work when the user is
disconnected from the Internet. Apollo will seek to bridge that gap, he said.
Sounds like good news to me. On our desktops we generally
have fat, resource-hungry programs (ie, Microsoft Word and others) that don’t
interact with the internet well. (Why would they? They’re from the typewriter
business paradigm of a couple of decades ago.) Or you have the internet with
tons of information but limited by the page-fetching of browsers.
broadband to download code (Ajax generally)
into memory that acts more like a full-fledged program without the hassles and
cost of installing machine-resident software. This is good because we need the
best of both worlds: powerful application behavior and immediate access to
dynamic web information. The downside of web apps is that they don’t work when
you’re offline, and we’re still a long ways from having connectivity 24/7. We
need light-weight software that bridges the gap between desktop and the net. It shouldn’t be an either/or proposition.
Apollo and other techniques are taking us toward better
integration between traditional devices and the versatility and dynamism of the
net. But what about organization and business practice changes that will take
advantage of what I think rates as a new paradigm? I’m willing to bet that
technological change will precede organizational imagination and transition by
a long ways.