Adobe "Welcome to the Browser Market"

I sat in last week on the Aussie National User Group (@WebDU) meeting and I asked (well attempted to but screwed the question up)

"How Adobe will handle the PR messaging around Apollo being regarded as a browser, given that their official wording on it is the opposite"

I'm not sure if Mike Chambers didn't understand the question or ignored it, but his response was a well scripted PR version "It's not a browser, we see it as being a..." ( I get where they want it to be, but the developers aren't using it in that way - sorry but its fair call?).

I bring your attention to articles like this (there are more if you search for them)

Now, here is the thing that appeals to the developers the most. It's been X number of years since we went through the browser wars and they sucked, they now have an opportunity to build their own browser but with multimedia capabilities via languages like FLEX.

Yes, Microsoft are going to showcase our own version (more to come..) of this concept and you'll see some interesting Runtime "wars" so to speak arise.

The difference overall is which of us will force constraints on the developers and which won't. In the end, it needs to be agile and we need to be relevant to the developers and designers out there that want to break the mould, and make concepts like "Apollo talk to a .NET DLL" buried deep within the operating system.

If you can't make that happen, then make it happen!

It's time to listen to the Developers themselves and less about what the intent is, as you only have to look at the way in which Web 2.0 is being used people want "variety" and with lots of agility (failure will result in consequences)

It's back to the browser argument, I'd wager we are about to see VM wars per say not browser wars and my money is on Microsoft for now and the only reason being is they not only do they pay me (that plays a significant role hehe) but I can see they are focusing on the developers workflow first (Plus: I get to put my grubby hands into the mixing pot on direction every now and then!).

I couldn't care less at this stage what the output is, it's the input that has me curious.

Comments (8)

  1. sigh…

    Actually, you said that Adobe PR had been saying that Apollo is a browser.

    When asked where you had seen that, you then mumbled something that maybe it wasnt Adobe that had said it, but you had read it somewhere.

    [SB: I do mumble, and I did also say whether he misunderstood the question or ignored it, so it would be the misunderstanding part. To be fair… I didn’t say that either, I said what are Adobe doing to contain the PR around the fact its being interpreted as a browser in the wild]

    Also, Im not sure why you characterize my response “as well scripted PR version”. I addressed your question directly. How is that PR?

    [SB: It was the party line, it’s the FAQ standard response. I was after your thoughts on it not so much Adobe’s]

    So, maybe you don’t fundamentally understand the concept of a runtime, which is odd since Microsoft is essentially a runtime company. Just because something can leverage HTML does not mean it is a browser (WPF isn’t a browser, XUL Runner isnt a browser). You could build a browser on top of the runtime. But the technology does not define the implimentation.

    [SB: You could do a lot of things with Runtimes, that negates the point though. What is the point is the context of use. If Grant Skinners WebOS version built in FLASH got momentum and had more power for example, I’d argue “Welcome tot he OS market” as its about context and perception of use. SAP are currently using the Apollo hybrid approach to make accessing their web-based infrastructure in a more digestable format, so effectively its somewhat of a run-time browser. Simple response to this is that you could quite easily spinup your own browser ontop of the runtime that is context driven to an application. Semantics aside, it’s a freakin browser]

    It has been confusing to me why a Microsoft evangilist spends so much time talking about Apollo (and recently me directly), but I finally realize that you were not hired to be a pro-microsoft evangilist, but rather an anti-Adobe evangilist. This explains your frequent attacks and FUD around Apollo and other technoligies, your attempts to disrupt Adobe focused communities and mailing lists, and your attempts to repeatedless discredit me personally as some PR wonk (btw, I don’t work for Marketting, but am a product manager on the Apollo team).

    [SB: I guess you’d call me more of a “RIA” Evangelist overall, and I’ve got more to go with our stuff going forward but I will also focuson Adobe’s space aswell. I think you guys are doing great things, but at times I’ll call a spade a spade where I see it. Apollo is at times being framed as a browser, now Adobe may not like this one bit (which is fair call) but overall developers are not only using this in such context but flagship companies like SAP have illustrated the power of using Apollo as a browser wrapping technology. The pitch is “beyond the browser” – I get it, but developers are a funny thing and you of all people know they can take concepts like this and flip it on its head (cast your mind back to early CENTRAL days).

    As for discrediting you, I think you need to let some .AIR out of your ego a bit more and settle on the notion that if you want to be the Community guy for Apollo, then your name will come  up every now and then in posts from all walks of life (positive/negative). If you find that as being “an attack”, then walk away? You’ve had your fair share at attacks my way, so like dude, suck it up and walk the line otherwise go whine in another forum.

    This post wasn’t even about you anyway, it was about the notion that while Apollo is intended not to be a browser, intent be damned it can be considered one by sheer context of use alone – others share this

    Sorry, I’m not a “LEGO BOY” πŸ˜€ ].

    This isn’t a personal attack, but rather an observation.

    [SB: That’s a backhanded comment if i’ve ever see one.. its like saying “You’re fat and ugly, but I mean that in a nice way]

    And yes, before you say it, I know that is “how you roll”.

    [SB: damn skippy i do πŸ˜‰ I think you’re ok Mike, I often think you could do more with your talent but overall, I don’t have a problem with you as person, I just dislike the way Adobe are screwing some perfectly good products up with this whole notion of LiveCycle is th way forward. I also think Apollo needs more work and i’m hoping Beta 1 will present that… truly I am… if it doesn’t, I’ll call it on its faults and strengths. I’ll be doing the same with WPF/e and I’m awaiting certain timelines before I can do that. I’m aso learning WPF and WPF/e as I go each day I turn up to work, and I’m not ready to comment on it as I think its premature. Since I’ve used FLEX for example for quite a long time, I can comment on that as that fits within my positions radar]

    mike chambers

  2. Phillip Kerman says:

    Anyone who really believes this is Adobe’s attempt to make "yet another browser" is mistaken.

    Do you really think that?  I mean it’s just so nuts.  It doesn’t do half of what any modern browser does.  

    Perhaps very long term that’s their master plan, but I don’t see that either.

  3. John Dowdell says:

    Uhm, please, Mr. Eager Little Microsoft Rep, don’t go trying to translate "turning standard web technologies into regular desktop apps" as "it’s just another browser".

    It’s not becoming of a firm with the size, power, and responsibility of Microsoft to employ such tactics.


  4. Garry Trinder says:


    I agree that if anyone believes this an Attempt by Adobe themselves. Yet, like with CENTRAL the intent of its use was one thing but then how it was being used in the WILD shaped it. I mean I guess one could argue that the seeding of the idea of Apollo could of been derived from CENTRAL’s success and failures.

    I wasn’t privvy to that line of thinking internally, so it’s only a speculation.

    If you were to consider the notion that runtime is a foundation piece for the installation and that the .AIR is simply a "tab" within the browser concept we see today – what is the difference, semantics aside? Context of use will determine Apollo not "We think it should be used in X way".


    I’m not actually devaluing Apollo by saying "It’s just another browser" in fact, I would dare say that it enhances the web developers nirvana per say, in that empowering them to create their own "browser" concept but done so in a more innovative way. Enterprise companies could use Apollo in a creative way, by removing SOE bastardisation of Internet Explorer and locking the folks on the shopfront floor into an Apollo Runtime equation.

    So, then when employee X begins to type "" an onChange event is fired, database lookup occurs and Apollo application forces an override to prevent the end user from even looking at this site.

    Furthermore, in high-security situations where you are monitored in your browsing (I once did a gig for govt police investigation unit where this occured) the external sites could have "snapshots" taken for moderators to review to ensure they aren’t up to no good and so on..

    So it’s now a mix betwee Browser and Application, and the line is somewhat blurred. Is it a glass half-full argument? yes. I could easily say "Welcome to the desktop market" but at the same time "Welcome to the Browser Market" – either context of use is valid.

    Look at Project Muse for your own thoughts on it πŸ™‚

  5. Jessica says:

    Do you have an answer for your own question if it were asked about Microsofts product? Surely if people (whoever they may be) can look at Apollo as a browser, the same can happen for you?

    The linked article suggests that "Adobe is on a collision course with IE, Firefox…", I can understand if you disagree with this because you see the difference between these product and browsers but I think it’d be fair to say that coming from a browser mindset it’s not a way off assumption to make. In that light, will Microsoft’s version be compared with IE for extra leverage (eg. IE is a browser, this is different in these ways, so it’s not a browser)?

  6. Garry Trinder says:

    Jessica: Yeah I do πŸ™‚ and I have been asked many times to compare Flash Platform to WPF/e and to be openly honest.

    I can’t as WPF/e still needs more work, its early stages and Flash Platform is like version 9. I’d go with Flash Platform at the moment simply due it’s current maturity.

    Ask me the same question in 6 months, and i may have a differen answer or may not.

    So fire away, i’m an open book πŸ˜›

    The moment Apollo had in-built HTML component, it blurred the line between just another runtime piece. As default from the shrinkwrap version, I will be able to load any existing website out there, JavaScript and all into the Apollo runtime application.

    It’s like saying that a .NET application built using Windows Forms 2.0 that is purpose built for "browseing" isn’t a competitor because its a .NET application.

    Semantics aside, its a browser. Call a duck a duck πŸ™‚

  7. Jessica says:

    I’m not so much asking you to compare, but interested in how you as an evangelist will go about presenting WPF/e as more than just a browser, to avoid the PR problem you see Apollo having.

    But like you suggest, I’ll come back and ask that in 6 months time when you know more. Hopefully so will I and wont be the complete newb i am with this stuff right now πŸ˜›

  8. Garry Trinder says:

    Jessica: That’s easy πŸ™‚

    I’d simply say this:

    "We didn’t intend for Apollo to be used like a browser model, its still early days and we need to work on ensuring developers get more depth on its offerings such as – then go into explaining 7 hot points on why it rox."

    I wouldn’t even bother trying to explain where the Runtime sits in the overall stack, as there are basically three models of experiences on the table with both Microsoft and Adobe.

    Ultimate Experience:

    WPF sits here as it has un-tapped power and other technologies like it (I think Apple Cocoa could play a role here aswell)

    Great Experience:

    XBAP, WPF/e, Apollo, Flash they are housed within security context and rely either a framework or runtime to enrich the way it’s reach points are.

    Good Experience

    AJAX/HTML style applications which hint at Great Experiences but have limitations imposed.

    Instead, Mike went on to explain the usual "Where I think Apollo sits" in the stack, which is confusing to the untrained eye. Which I read on his blog ages ago, and felt it was scripted response and not so much a barebones "raw" version of life as we know it.

    Overall a lot of developers and designers are still confused on what the hell is going on between Microsoft and Adobe with all these new technologies. "Where do they sit" is what I get asked the most and "what can i do with them" is usually the followup.

    The million dollar question I always get asked:

    "Which one is better and how do I know which one to use?"

    I’ll spend the next 5-6 months explaining that via my blog post MIX07 and since Apollo and FLEX is the new kid on the block (sorry I missed the WPF/e and WPF buzz, so work with me here) i’ll chip away at the edges of it to explain more about it as I see a need to.

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