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Adobe Releases Apollo Alpha

The cross-platform runtime works both online and offline, and doesn't require a Web browser.

Adobe Systems plans to release the first public version of Apollo for developers on Monday.

Apollo is Adobe's new cross-platform runtime designed to support rich Internet applications (RIAs) that work both online and offline, and don't require a Web browser.

The alpha release consists of a software development kit and a runtime file, which is similar in concept to the Flash engine users install on their PCs to run Flash content.

"We're making great progress and people are pretty excited to get their hands on it," says Pam Deziel, director of product marketing for Adobe's platform business unit.

"RIAs have become a core element of today's Web computing experience," said Kevin Lynch, senior VP and chief software architect at Adobe, in a statement. "We're working to enable this new generation of innovative applications to bridge the chasm between the Web and the personal computer. Apollo will empower millions of Web developers to make their RIAs first-class citizens on the desktop using the tools they already know."

Apollo's reason for being is that Internet connectivity isn't yet constant and ubiquitous. Michael Lebowitz, co-founder and CEO of advertising design firm Big Spaceship, said in a statement that Apollo would help in situations where computer users experience data loss as a result of a Web page refresh.

EBay is one of the companies developing applications for Apollo. Its unreleased "San Dimas" program lets users search eBay using keywords and retrieve lists of results with photos, prices, and the amount of time remaining in an auction. San Dimas also enables eBay sellers to photograph items using a Webcam or upload item photos from a local drive, all without a Web browser.

According to Deziel, the Apollo alpha release is not yet feature complete. A beta version is planned for midyear and general availability is planned before the end of 2007.

The alpha release runs under Windows and Mac OS. A Linux version remains in progress.

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