Adobe’s Desktop Move

Adobe has released a developer toolkit called AIR. This is how Adobe describes it:

Adobe AIR enables developers to create [Rich Internet Applications] on the desktop using the skills and Web technologies — such as HTML, Ajax, PDF, Adobe Flash and Adobe Flex — they already employ.

What that all means is that, well, you know all those spiffier web apps like, say, Google Maps or MyYahoo! that behave more like a typical application than a web page? Well, Adobe AIR basically brings all the web-side crap and packs it into a library that lets you develop a web-type application, but it runs without need of a web browser or even a connection to the internet. Good idea, right? Well, their first shot at using it for a “real” application is the new Adobe Media Player (or AMP. clev’). And here’s what it looks like:

<br/>235334-adobemedia_300.png <br/> <br/> <br/>

Looks great, like a Mac application, doesn’t it? Oh, wait, it looks like a Windows app. Oh, wait, it doesn’t look like one of those, either.

Multiple steps backwards in usability, but hey, at least it gives the web app developers a shot at joining the rest of us on the desktop. Gooooo, you.

Wait, wasn’t Java supposed to do that?

I guarantee you that cross-platform technology is good for no one but developers, to the detriment of users. And that’s not how it’s supposed to play: developers are supposed to do the hard work to allow users to make easy work of their….work!

Biggest example is….Adobe! They have this enormous cross-platform back-end library for Photoshop and most other CS applications, but because they wanted to cut costs. Result: CS4 (upcoming version) apps like Photoshop that would benefit from 64-bit technology (more efficient and faster with large dataset manipulation like 20GB files) won’t be getting it for the Mac because their back-end has to also work with Windows.

So Adobe promises CS5 will be 64-bit, which means they’ll have to dismantle the cross-platform back-end and build separate applications for Mac and for Windows.

And now we get a media player that has a huge (like .NET) download in order to play videos. A video player whose usability is familiar to neither Mac folks nor Windows folks.

This is nothing but a ploy to lock developers into inferior technologies that they control: didn’t I mention it’s all based on Flash?

Microsoft did this same thing with ActiveX, COM, DCOM and a whole bunch of other crap that the web’s taken forever to supplant.

Thanks, big corporations!

And before you start on Apple, Objective-C is available to everyone via gcc, the most popular, most famous compiler in the world. Everyone uses it. Except Microsoft.

I’m biased, of course, but there’s art in a truly usable application. And least common denominator isn’t a healthy way to start to build one.