A post on the virtues (and meaningfulness) of cross platform is coming, but after seeing this on Digg today, I had to say something, because it really proves what I've been alluding to all this time - cross platform matters. I'll go more into detail on this later this week, but economically, it may not make sense. However if you do cross platform well, you win. Pass go, collect $200, you're going to Disneyland, put on the green jacket; you win. Why? Because the people that use Linux are absolutely crazy - in a good way.
The Universal Desktop
The technology and business implications of the next generation of software, rich Internet applications.
Knowledge@Wharton, the newsletter of the Wharton School posted a few articles covering Supernova, the conference they co-hosted in San Francisco late last month. The articles are important to anyone following Rich Internet Applications and I wanted to discuss some of the content here on ZDNet.
Mark yesterday in your books, because it could be a significant day in the history of Rich Internet Applications. If you haven't heard, Microsoft has made a shift in how it sees competition. Dan Farber here on ZDNet sums it up best I think with his title, A kinder, gentler but not humbled Microsoft emerges. While there will undoubtedly be cynics, and rightly so, with new leadership in charge, this could signal a tangible shift in the philosophy of the software giant.
I was able to take a look at Compel, the CODiE award-winning Rich Internet Application built by the team at Centive which takes advantage of the web and puts information at the fingertips of the people who need it most - the ideal RIA. Compel is a sales compensation management tool built in Flex 1.5. It was described to me as a tool for mid-sized companies who are looking for an on-demand solution to their sales compensation management woes. Essentially, it's for all the companies out there that are still calculating sales commissions with Excel. When a company signs up for the Compel service, they are given access to the application online.
For the second part of my series on the solutions behind Rich Internet Applications, I am covering Flex 2, just released by at the end of June along with a new version of their ubiquitous Flash Player. In the first part, I covered Laszlo Systems' OpenLaszlo.
I just caught this video over at Channel 9 which describes and demos "WPF XBAP". All this time, we've been hearing about WPF, which will enable desktop applications via XAML, and WPF/E which was going to be a limited, cross-platform version of WPF. I've been contending that WPF was more competitor to Apollo than Flex 2, but XBAP changes that.
While Microsoft had never really announced a ship date for Expression, it was fairly well known that they expected it to ship this year. They are still tip-toeing around the timeframe, but in slides shown at the conference, the date now seems to be 2007/2008. That is an awfully long time and it gives Adobe a big head start.
When I think about Sun Microsystems, I'm reminded of Galileo, one of the major proponents of the idea that the earth revolved around the sun, and not the other way around. A brilliant scientific mind, he was far ahead of his time and after being convicted of heresy by the church in 1633, spent the waning years of his life under house arrest. It could be argued that Sun suffered a similar fate with their Java technology.
We live in a crazy world. We have search engines that are really advertising companies, individual bloggers taking VC money, and Netscape is now a social news site. Taken out of context, you would think that we've entered a web twilight zone. But with the way everything has changed and grown, these things don't seem so out of place. It is against this backdrop that Adobe, the worlds 4th largest software company, seems to be slowly moving into a space occupied by so many startups - the hosted web application.
A couple of weeks ago Laszlo Systems quietly rolled out "Legals" which is the next step in the Laszlo platform and has the goal of incorporating a variety of runtimes into OpenLaszlo. In my RIA Solutions series on OpenLaszlo, they alluded to their plan and this looks like the result.