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Adobe's Apollo Aims To Take Web Apps Offline

Adobe is cooking up a new project that aims to unfurl a snag in the Web 2.0 rush toward Web applications: How can users interact with those applications when they're offline?

Separate offline application clients are the traditional workaround, but developing them is difficult. Adobe's fledgling Apollo project aims to create a middleware layer that will allow developers to easily build in hooks for portability to an offline client.

The project is one of the first fruits of Adobe's merger with Macromedia late last year, according to Adobe Chief Software Architect Kevin Lynch, who came from Macromedia and worked on the companies' integration team. Apollo sprung from discussions about how Adobe can help developers leverage its broad collection of content presentation technology, which includes Flash, PDF and the Flex development framework.

Adobe envisions Apollo hewing to the business model it uses with Flash and Adobe Reader. Client downloads and much of the back-end specification technology will be free. Commercial Adobe products, such as its Flex Builder IDE, will include tools to help developers build Apollo integration. Eventually, Lynch envisions end users of Apollo-compatible Web applications clicking a button to launch the client and make the Web application they're using available offline.

Apollo is still in the incubation stage, and few details are available on the fledgling technology. Adobe plans to post a developer release on its Adobe Labs site "sometime this year," Lynch said, adding that a formal release is slated for the first half of next year.

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