OpenLaszlo, Adobe Apollo and Firefox 3

It makes so much sense. Yes, some Java Swing thing came out years ago and tried to take away the desktop application development mindshare from Microsoft. But it makes more sense to take away the desktop with the standards and technologies that have already taken away so much of the desktop: JavaScript and declarative, XML-based markup with CSS and various media-playing components.

Microsoft itself came out with the “HTML Application” HTA years ago—which is more proof that brilliant individuals work for Microsoft. But Microsoft is ruled by people who turn filet mignon into corn beef hash—you would not have America any other way—so Microsoft abandoned that one and protects the private property it “allows” you to use with XAML (in WPF). And, by the way, the word “allows” is a direct quote from many a Microsoft evangelist trying to push some dead-beat tough love on you—so appreciate it!

Anne Zelenka for in “The Coming Apollo vs. Firefox Battle” writes:

Some consider Microsoft’s WPF/e platform the main competitor to Apollo, because it promises rich cross-platform applications, just like WPF/e. However, I wonder if the real competitor to Apollo is the web browser, specifically Firefox. Richard MacManus of Read/Write Web reported last month that Firefox 3 will include support for offline web applications. He also noted that some of Firefox developer Mozilla’s top workers are employed by Google.

Well, Mike Chambers of Adobe showed me Apollo in “Apollo Alpha Preview” at (this is a free presentation by the way). Two things appear among my thoughts immediately: (i) this looks like Flex bent into the OpenLaszlo space and (ii) it looks like Flex Builder can “expire” in 29 days.

Firefox 3 with an open Eclipse plug-in and OpenLaszlo with a “new, improved flash-javascript bridge” look more attractive to me than what Adobe offers. And Firefox 3 stuff I have never seen! These two alternatives seem to be culturally incapable of distributing software that kills itself after 29 days unless you pay the ransom. Like I have 29 solid days to achieve an interoperable understanding of an Adobe product… Not this month… Not next month… Maybe later… There has to be a better way to make money.

The bottom line in these times is my demonstration of ‘appreciation’ for American tough love. Because, folks, it’s tough love that makes your mobile phone service suck. Since the wealthy elites that run the telecom sector are “morally” superior to us (that’s the only way “we” can explain why they’re elites—right?), the only reason why our service is so terrible is to make us better Americans—right? This reasoning must follow me into the offerings of Microsoft and Adobe. And let me express my sincere appreciation for OpenLaszlo, whatever is coming out in Firefox 3 (XUL) and even ‘divine’ Apollo. My appreciation is sincere because these efforts show that major players still respect HTML (XHTML) and JavaScript enough to include them in their financial futures.

It seems ridiculous to speculate that the private interests of a few elites could make billions of network resources in HTML, CSS and JavaScript vanish from the face of the wired world. But it would not surprise me to find some dusty old article in a railroad gazette talking about how millions of buffalo will never leave The Great Plains. You see apples and oranges? Great! The last five+ years of my miserable life languished in building for HTML (XHTML from XSLT), CSS and JavaScript. It’s wonderful news to hear that other, bigger players are ‘languishing’ as well.


mike chambers, 2007-04-02 23:05:32

fyi The expires in 29 days was for not for Apollo. It was for Flex Builder, which is sold by Adobe (I had just wiped my machine and installed the trial.

The Apollo SDK is free, and provides command line tools so you can use any IDE you want to build Apollo applications (both Flex and HTML based).

mike chambers

david, 2007-04-03 13:01:27


The Flex SDK is free and never expires. You can write code in any editor you want. This is no different than Laszlo. Laszlo is free and open source for the SDK, but it has closed source, for-pay products as well. Flex SDK and OpenLaszlo are both $$0.

Regards, David

rasx(), 2007-04-03 19:09:59

It seems that my problem is one of reading comprehension. This link Download the free Flex 2 SDK, including the Flex framework leads to a gateway page with the title "Adobe Trial Downloads"---it's that word Trial that tricks me.

So the Flex SDK is probably very free but, in order to download it, a trial registration is still required. The attention to detail at Adobe probably calls this "no big deal"---but this assumption is based on cultural traditions far removed from people who are used to working in Eclipse and it cannot help seasoned open source developers to try "free" Adobe products.

raju, 2007-04-05 00:23:06

Thanks for the nice words on OpenLaszlo. The flash-javascript bridge sure is a cool thing. I remember when Max was showing me the first implementation of it some months ago.

We all are excited about the new DHTML/Ajax runtime in OpenLaszlo 4.0. As an open source fan since the early 90's it makes me happy to see that in times of Web 2.0 or Live Web we still have a lot of innovation coming out of true open source projects. We'll try to make sure that you'll find even more interesting stuff around OpenLaszlo in the months to come.

Cheers, Raju

OpenLaszlo Community Manager