Archive for March, 2007

Simple HTML Based Apollo Example

Most of the docs and examples for the Apollo alpha are Flex / ActionScript focused (next beta will be more focused on HTML / JavaScript). However, you can build Apollo applications using just HTML and JavaScript.

Here is a simple example that shows how to build an HTML / JavaScript Apollo application, and how to access Apollo APIs from JavaScript. The application shows how to launch a file browser from the application, and access information about the selected file (you could then easily read in the contents of the file).

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Why Apollo?

There has been a lot of excitement, interest and discussion around Apollo, especially since we released the public alpha on labs last week. One thing that has come up a couple of times, is confusion over what Apollo is as well as what value it provides. A lot of the discussion has focused on uncertainty about why would you want to move web applications outside of the browser.

A lot of times when this question gets answered, the answer focuses on specific Apollo features (file I/O API, working offline). While these are things that Apollo can do today, that are difficult if not impossible to do consistently in the browser, a feature based discussion doesn’t address the fundamental question of why would you want to move applications out of the browser.

I had been planning to write up my thoughts on this, and realized that I already had as part of the Apollo Pocket Guide for Flex Developers. Below is chapter one from that book, which explains what Apollo is, and what problems it is trying to solve. (You can download the entire book from here).

Note that the excerpt does contain a discussion of features, but one of the primary advantages of Apollo, which isn’t a specific feature, is that it allows applications to run outside of the browser. This is not a ding on browsers, or web technologies, and as I point out, the browser has some strong advantages that often outweigh its disadvantages.

Ultimately though, because browser based and Apollo based applications are built using the same technologies, it is possible to deploy to both platforms, taking advantages of the strengths of each. Because of this, Apollo applications compliment web applications. They do not replace them.

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Fresh Apollo HTML based Aggregator uses Ext JS Library

One of the sample apps that we have made available from the Apollo labs site, is an RSS aggregator built entirely in HTML / JavaScript and CSS named Fresh. This is a pretty cool application, and really demonstrates how you can use HTML in Apollo to build desktop applications.

We have been showing this a lot over the past couple of days (at Apollo Camp and webDU), and have been incorrectly saying that the Yahoo UI library was used to create the app. This is incorrect, and was a mistake on the speakers (mostly my) part. It actually is built using the Ext JS JavaScript Library and Components toolkit.

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Teknision on Apollo and Branded Applications

The guys over at Teknision (they built the Finetune Apollo application) have written up some of their thoughts on Apollo, and what they feel its real impact and value will be.

Online applications that are pin point targeted to provide a specific service generate intensely loyal fans. Apollo will give us the ability to extend these applications deeper into the user’s lives by making them part of their operating environment.

You can read the entire article here.

yourminis.com Alpha for Apollo

Check it out. yourminis.com just launched a alpha version of yourminis for the desktop. This runs on top of Apollo, and along with Finetune, is a must have Apollo application.

Really good experience. I think the coolest thing about yourminis.com is that you can have the widget on your yourminis page, embedded in your own website via HTML, and now on your desktop, via Apollo.

I also just posted the video for the yourminis session at Apollo Camp.

You can find more information here.

Kevin Lynch on Apollo Alpha

Kevin Lynch (Chief Software Architect at Adobe) has posted some of his thoughts on the Apollo Alpha over on his weblog, which which he gives some insight into Adobe’s thinking around Apollo.

You can read the entire post here.

Simple Apollo Offline Caching Example

I have put together a very simple example of how to download and cache items to the files system. This can be useful if your application needs to work offline, or if you want to optimize performance and don’t want to have to keep downloading the same assets over and over.

This example uses some of the caching classes from my Ascension mp3 player, and required the corelib library.

Here is the code for the app:

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Apollo Camp Videos

We had a video crew out at Apollo Camp on Friday night to record all of the sessions. We will be posting the sessions through out the week to video.onflex.org.

We just posted the first video, which is the Apollo Camp keynote session by Kevin Lynch.

Apollo Alpha Release Notes

Hot of the presses.

Lynda.com Intro to Apollo Videos posted online

A couple of weeks ago I spent a couple of days down at the Lynda.com offices to put together a complete video overview / introduction to Apollo.

Well, the videos have just been posted and you can check them out for free from Lynda.com.

These cover everything you need to know to get started with Apollo development.