Monday, June 18, 2007

It is August already in the world of PC Pro

Magazines may have print deadlines suggesting they were written some time ago but the dates on the cover seem from the future. The point of them is to cover the unknown and unexpected. So it is not surprising that they often appear not to relate to the rest of experience.

PC Pro has a long article by Tom Arah with the best explanation found so far about what Adobe may intend with the Flash route to Apollo. Apparently Microsoft and Adobe share a vision of animated design as a web front for data crunching. Microsoft will offer better design tools. Adobe will suddenly attract an army of developers, including the ones who are still working on Visual Basic like a few people I know. Most of Tom Arah's article seems to be written as an explanation for Flash designers who may be puzzled why they need to learn a new scripting language. Apparently the new one is compatible with the new version of FLEX which in turn presumably will be compatible with whatever is coming out next. So the latest Flash will make sense for exisiting users once they realise it is intended for someone else. I hope I have not misrepresented the article. Copies of PC Pro are on sale in the UK, maybe not till August. On the website it is still May, but the text will appear eventually.

My own opinion is that the Acrobat audience has a similar set of problems. The latest release was mostly an advert for the confusingly named "Acrobat Connect". This is basically Flash. Eventually it may turn out to be quite easy to program and add the features that are not really there at the moment. So again it will all make sense at some point in the future.

Meanwhile I am still mostly interested in MARS. As far as I understand it, this is an XML route to PDF so makes it easier to do a lot of things that have already been talked about - flat corporate-style documents, mostly text and numbers. Boring ok, but why not sort this out if it is not too complicated? At Adobe Live in London I gathered that there would be an update to the MARS download sometime soon. I have put off a report for OhmyNews till this turns up. It may now be too late to present this as news but I remain of the same opinion so have started to time travel as a form of journalism.

So the only news event about MARS that I can find is a Unicode conference in October. I will try this out on the websites. Link later.

I try to keep an open mind about Flash. From what I can make out, there will be an Adobe Media Player sometime this year and this will be an example of an integrated runtime. So my current plan is to come back to this when the Media Player is available. I am not sure that the demand is there at the moment. Based on an impression of people I meet in Exeter my guess is it may take a couple of years for Integrated Runtime Readiness. There are a few who have upgraded to Vista but even the games enthusiasts seem to be waiting for something.


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