Monday, November 27, 2006

Anne 2.0 joins Redmonk: today's significant event

You may think this is a funny title from a guy who is stuck in a city with 40 cm of snow and no drinking water (a temporary streak of bad luck for the otherwise "good luck city" Vancouver, BC). Nevertheless, I will explain why I think it is significant for the industry.

Redmonk is an analyst firm that "gets it". They are not just a group of suits who you can give money to in order to justify a point of view of have them endorse some bad idea like SOA 2.0. In fact, I am not sure I have ever seen any of them in suits. They are one of the few analyst firms I know that actually will tell you your idea is full of "it" if is bad. At a recent Adobe conference, I witnessed a senior Redmonk analyst sitting across the table from one of our executives deliver a very pointed stream of thought about a technology subject he felt passionate about. Some (not all) other analyst firms would have just been the typical "yes men" and caressed a square peg into a round hole. Redmonk is not like that. Redmonk tells you straight up where you are doing good and where you can do better. CAVEAT: Yes - I know James, Steven and Cote just as friends too. I think that despite a personal friendship though, my opinions are objective.

Today I was shown some rather great news that gave me the same sort of "stoke" factor as being at Whistler in 1 meter of fresh powder listening to the newest Pennywise CD (well maybe not quite that much). Anne Zelanka has joined forces with Redmonk. Anne has a great following in the technology space and to my knowledge has the distinction of being the first ever blogger (as opposed to anaylyst/press) invited by Adobe to attend the MAX conference. Nevertheless, a following is moot unless there is some substance to back it up and in Anne's blog, Anne 2.0, there is a lot of good substance.

So what does this mean for the established analyst industry? Could it just be that they have a stronger and more formidable competitor. Perhaps but to me I see Redmonk as opening a new sector, perhaps something like an open knowledge/intelligence transfer sector or community. They are a part of an evolving ecosystem that is responsible for intelligence and knowledge transfer on a mass scale to all companies and individuals (not just large enterprise clients although Redmonk has some of those). They fill a unique and valuable niche in the marketplace to be a little more cutting edge, a lot more candid, a huge amount more open and present the knowledge back in a package that is accessible to more than just large multi-national corporations. They have a lot of what the rappers call "street cred" (credibility on the street with the average IT worker or gang members in the case of rappers). Maybe Redmonk should make a rap CD on

However you package this news up, one thing is for sure - Redmonk will be on every analyst company's radar after today.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Great LiveCycle Resources

I just came across this site As far as I know, this is not published by Adobe yet is by far one of the best resources available for LiveCycle Developers. There is also a Google Group set up for LiveCycle Developers. I would encourage anyone interested in LiveCycle to join and contribute to the conversations. The group may be reached at

I have been asked numerous times about LiveCycle 8 given the excitement about the first truly SOA platform coming from Adobe. I cannot answer this question but would encourage people to check the Adobe Enterprise Developer Site at

Other than that, please post questions on this blog and I'll always try to get you an answer from inside Adobe.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Webinar: Getting to know Apollo

For those who contacted me on the last entry wanting to know more about Apollo, there is a scheduled session to reveal the basics and more. It runs Nov 28 and you can register for it here.

I also got asked why this is truly revolutionary. Part of this is because it frees Flex and Flash developers from the limitations of running in a browser. The security model prevents scripts from executing in a browser that would potentially jeopardize the clients system. This means that every aspect of interaction between a Flash RIA running in a browser and a local resource has to be explicitly permissed. The Apollo Application Window replaces the browser and allows the RIA to interact with local resources as any other application would.

The distribution model is interesting and will likely be discussed during this call. The runtime environment model is similar to Java. In that model, the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) supports the runtime environment and maps the java functionality to the lower level operating system and platform, freeing developers from having to write code to target each platform. The motto of write once, run everywhere is appealing to developers.

More on Apollo later - I am going to test the M2 build today.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Adobe Apollo Groundswell!

I am an evangelist! I evangelize things. How did I become an evangelist? Simple - I declared "I am an evangelist" and went forth and evangelized. So what do I evangelize about? A lot of things but nothing that I am not excited about. Today I want to talk about 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. The possibilities and results are truly amazing. I compiled my first Apollo application while Mike Chambers was doing his talk at MAX. The process is fairly easy, especially if you are familiar with Flex Builder. When you set up your Flex project, all you have to do is import an extra *.swc file for the Application Window and use it in your project. There are some minor tweaks that need to be done now such as manually adding a new namespace but for the most part, the Application Window is the big item. It hosts the flash application but unlike the Flash Player which acts as a sandbox to run flash apps within a browser, the Application Window runs the flash applications as standalone apps with access to system resources. Give the power of Flex is you can rapidly build applications, these two technologies are going to be the cornerstone of new app development in the next decade (me thinks).

So how many people are getting stoked on this stuff? 4-5 months ago I did a search on google for "Adobe Apollo" and got 3,500 hits or thereabouts. Today it is at 196,000 -


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Web 2.0:: FAST re-born?

I am attending the talk on search produced from FAST, the search engine company out to tackle Google. As first I was a bit skeptical but Bjorn Olstad is a smart guy and started making sense. I'm going to give FAST a try and start doing my searches on it.

Interestingly enough, it raises a question brought up in the previous session I attended. How do I transfer my content from Google to Fast? I have a google start page made with quite an impressive array of widgets and information. This is my normal dashboard when I get online. The first things I want to see are Adobe's current stock price, weather reports, news from /., CNET, BBC, the Onion's RSS feed and a bunch of other stuff. How easy is it for me to transfer this information from Google to Fast? Has Google created an unfair market for Search based on adding so many periferal bits? Probably no but it is something I want to be conscious of in the future.

Fast - here I come. Send me some results. The Fast guys are smart, think I'll have some beers with them later. I also want to talk to them about how Adobe might work with them.

FTI ( /. means "Slashdot" for those who didn't get it)

Confused over Mozilla and AVM?

Hey y'all. So here I am at Web 2.0 and I am getting tons of people coming up to me stating some pretty wierd interpretations of our announcement today. For the record, the official announcement is here:

Please read this carefully to avoid the top 5 misperceptions:

1. We are donating Flash to open source. This is not true. We contributed source code for the ActionScript Virtual Machine (AVM) to the Mozilla Foundation. AVM is the scripting language engine which interprets Actionscript during runtime. It is a very advanced and well thought out software application but like any other can benefit from new fresh contributions.
2. We have not donated the Flash Player to open source. Note that several /.ers think we are. It is also not true. FP != AVM.
3. We did not purchase Mozilla. One girl told me and several others ina hallway we did. I won't even get into this one....
4. We control the project in Mozilla caled Tamarin. No we don't - in fact giving the code to Mozilla is just the opposite.
5. We are not making flash director open source.

Folks - please read the release carefully....


Hello from Web 2.0 2006 in San Francisco

I am at the Web 2.0 conference today. I have been treated like royalty today thanks to the huge announcement today that Adobe donated source code for the ActionScript Virtual machine (AVM - the code behind Flash) to Mozilla. The renewed and invigorated commitment to open source software has made us hugely popular with the crowds here. As an opportunist, I will be honest and state that I will accept any offers of free drinks on behalf of Adobe ;-)

A great session was put together to examine the subject of impact of SaaS and other W2P0 paradigms on Small Business. Google, Etelos, Soho and Microsoft were panel members. Some concerns that SMB’s voiced were the lack of good software use models (trials etc) are in contravention of the needs of SMB’s. Despite being standing room only, the session was pretty active. Danny from Etelos is a smart guy with a funny sense of humour (note the Canadian Spelling - I do this to poke fun at his USA accent and spelling mistakes WRT the queen's english. maybe he'll comment back ;-)

I pointed out during the discussion that Adobe has made huge strides in the area of SaaS to recognize that not all PDF users will pay $500 for a copy of acrobat if they think they will only ever need to make 5-10 PDF’s. We also offer the functionality of Acrobat Connect (formerly Breeze) and Adobe LiveCycle Policy Server as a Service. The question posed back was – when will Photoshop be a service? Interesting idea. There are a few good ideas that came out of this during the ensuing conversations:

1. Would someone make a web service to compile MXML into Flash files (*.SWF)?
2. Will our Web Service for PDF be extended to accept pure XML input and what format will that input be? Perhaps PxDF – an XML version of PDF?
3. What services will Adobe offer that can be used in Mashups? Currently, we enable many other companies to expose their services in a way they can be consumed.

The main conclusions drawn from this session are that ecosystems are good for services and there has to be trust in the service provider. SMB’s also need to know they are not locked in when using SaaS models.