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Adobe Woos Sun Recruits to the Flex Cause

If Adobe has its way, PC users will soon be running Web-friendly desktop apps in a secure Virtual Machine environment built on Adobe technology. If Sun has its way, we'll all be running JavaFX apps. (And if Microsoft has its way, we'll all be using some combination of .Net and Silverlight.)... Sun appears to have overslept the alarm this time...
In an earlier post, I commented on the (undeclared) "VM war" that seems to be shaping up between Adobe and Sun Microsystems. If Adobe has its way, PC users will soon be running Web-friendly desktop apps in a secure Virtual Machine environment built on Adobe technology. If Sun has its way, we'll all be running JavaFX apps. (And if Microsoft has its way, we'll all be using some combination of .NET and Silverlight.)

Sun appears to have overslept the alarm this time, however. The company announced its JavaFX-based RIA strategy a year ago to relatively little fanfare. And although the technology was touted at the recent JavaOne show, the fact still remains that few people outside the Java developer community have ever heard of JavaFX.Adobe, unlike Sun, hasn't been hitting the snooze button. Earlier this month, Hans Muller surprised fellow contributors to the Swing Application Framework when he announced that he was leaving Sun to go to Adobe to work on Flex. (Muller simultaneously gave up his role as spec lead for JSR-296, the Swing Application Framework.) This comes on the heels of another recent defection of a Sun GUI expert: Back in February, Chet Haase (coauthor, with Romain Guy, of Filthy Rich Clients) left his job as client architect in the Java SE group at Sun to go to work for Adobe... also in the Flex group. Starting later this year, we expect to see readers to be using Flex technology as a way to bridge the platform divide (and the Web-vs.desktop divide). EMC Documentum, for example, is known to be building a Flex-based DAM client. Client proliferation is (and has been) an ongoing problem in the Web CMS space, where it's not uncommon for a product to have thick and thin clients for multiple platforms, browsers, and use-cases. AJAX (for all its other virtues) has done nothing to solve this problem. Getting to a single-client future will be next to impossible without something like AIR, Silverlight, or JavaFX.

May the best technology win.

Kas Thomas is an Enterprise Architecture analyst at CMS Watch. He previously evaluated J2EE and content-related technologies for Novell. Write him at [email protected].If Adobe has its way, PC users will soon be running Web-friendly desktop apps in a secure Virtual Machine environment built on Adobe technology. If Sun has its way, we'll all be running JavaFX apps. (And if Microsoft has its way, we'll all be using some combination of .Net and Silverlight.)... Sun appears to have overslept the alarm this time...