April 13, 2007

Apollo , WPF/E and Dekoh a comparison

Adobe has come up with a innovative cross-OS desktop platform called Apollo and definitely evey innovation is copied,cloned or imitated. That how I see Mircosoft's WPF/E and a new product called Dekoh. Now lets look how all these products are defined by their creators.

Apollo: "Apollo is the code name for a cross-operating system runtime being developed by Adobe that allows developers to leverage their existing web development skills (Flash, Flex, HTML, JavaScript, Ajax) to build and deploy rich Internet applications (RIAs) to the desktop.
Apollo enables developers to create applications that combine the benefits of web applications – network and user connectivity, rich media content, ease of development, and broad reach – with the strengths of desktop applications – application interactions, local resource access, personal settings, powerful functionality, and rich interactive experiences.

WPF/E: "“WPF/E” is the Microsoft solution for delivering rich, cross-platform, interactive experiences including animation, graphics, audio, and video for the Web and beyond. Utilizing a subset of XAML (eXtensible Application Markup Language)-based Windows Presentation Foundation technology, “WPF/E” will enable the creation of content and applications that run within multiple browsers and operating systems (Windows and Macintosh) using Web standards for programmability. Consistent with Web architecture, the XAML markup is programmable using JavaScript and works well with ASP.NET AJAX. Broadly available for customers in the first half of 2007, “WPF/E” experiences will require a lightweight browser plug-in made freely available by Microsoft."

Dekoh: "
Dekoh Desktop is a cross-OS desktop platform that brings several key J2EE, database and web services modules together, in a compact footprint package ready for end consumer use. Dekoh as a platform enables building a new breed of applications that combine advantages of the web and the PC. Dekoh applications bring rich interface, interaction and functionality using personal media and local devices on the PC. These applications can work even when offline and provide a web 2.0 style sharing and community networking features. "

Here we have three products aiming to bring "web to desktop" or the other way around! Either way, the aim is to increase collaboration, user experience, easy of use which are all properties of Web 2.0. So Web 2.0 is moving to a better way unlike some authors who say "Web 2.0 is over and out!". Looking deeper into these products, its really worth comparing as these are definitely here to stay and change the way we interact with web.

On comparing these products you will see that both Apollo and WPF/E are from software giants, and Dekoh is a new product being born from
Pramati. Looking how these software giants perform, we know Microsoft runs the largest share of PC, but at the same time Abode has 97% of penetration for its flash player which its cross-OS platform is based on. So looking at market, these two giants, already have their base built for launching their platform and there are enough developers and customers they can get hold on. In this part Dekoh fails!

We are over with one comparison and that's not enough, lets look and the developer community now. Microsoft has a vast developer community, with its Visual Studio .Net the community's size have definitely increased. Abode on the other hand have been attracting developers to its product by releasing SDKs for its different products like Acrobat to Photoshop. They also devloped ColdFusion which has also caught market share. Pramati Technologies is an end-to-end Enterprise Java platform vendor with a product suite that includes application servers, component development tools, and an extensible web based management framework. But I doesn't have it's own technology. So as such no developer community (other than their employees and closely related developers ).

But but but,.. their is a major point that changes view among these three technologies. We all know both Microsoft and Adobe are money makers! They have their SDKs free for (poor) developers and charge for the commercial versions of all their product. Here is where Dekoh shine! Dekoh is going to be open sourced and open to community( I am presently not sure under which license its going to be released ).

Now lets get technical.. All three have a different approach to the same aim. Microsoft is going to use their .Net XAML along with ASP.NET and Ajax (for sure) as their development path. In case of Apollo, Adobe has its extension of Flex and ActionScript as the main development path, but the developer can make use of HTML,flash and interact with javascript and Ajax. An important point here is both these products have their dedicated development path i.e, XAML of Flex, but Dekoh is going to make use of the existing technologies like DHTML,Ajax,Java,PHP and has support for Flash and Flex. So making use of the exisiting technology like Java and PHP which have a very large development community is one major plus for Dekoh.

Another point of difference is the runtime environments that runs these technology! Definitly Microsoft has released its WPF/E runtime environment for download, it is supported only on Windows and Mac (No Linux in sight and still they call cross-platform?) . Adobe makes use of its flash player technology and has a Apollo runtime (Alpha) ready for download. But Apollo too is only for Windows and Mac, but I am sure Linux Apollo runtime is on its way. Now looking at our new product, Dekoh makes use of Java 1.5 and higher as its runtime environment!!! We all know JRE is having a very strong hold in all sectors of the computer industry and this is going to be a major plus in case of Dekoh.

Coming back to developer community, Java has a very strong community compared to Adobe and even Microsoft (you may disagree). Developers tend to be lazy to study new language as it take time to be an expert. Taking this scenario, Dekoh has another plus to its pocket. But, just using the Java technology is not going to make is successful. Adobe as already been seen hunting java and other web developers to use Flex to overcome the complexity of using vast number of Ajax libraries.

So, with these new technology at you door steps, what are developers going to choose? Which one will rule the Web ? We are yet to find out ;) Have a good weekend!


Peter Chen said...

Hi Abdel,

Thank you for commenting in my post Label cloud hack for New Blogger (formerly Blogger Beta). I have responded to your comment.

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Anonymous said...

very detailed explaination but too long. see how you can bring your point across without scrolling .i had to scroll 3 pages....