Project San Dimas and Adobe Apollo at DEMO 07
Alan Lewis from the eBay Developers Program was in Palm Desert, CA last week for the DEMO 07 conference, along with hundreds of venture capitalists, reporters, exhibitors, and, for a brief moment yesterday, Barry Bonds. Take a look at Alan's write-up, photo and video clip of the demo below:
I'm here because Adobe is showing a preview (not quite a launch yet as they were careful to note) of their Apollo platform, a cross-OS desktop application runtime. It is hard to demo developer tools, so Adobe chose eBay's San Dimas desktop project to show off some of what can be done with Apollo.
Startups and other companies launching new products at DEMO get to be on stage for 6 minutes each to demo their stuff. Mike Downey, product manager for Apollo, was a late sub for chief architect Kevin Lynch, who came down sick and couldn't fly down. Mike stepped up *big time* for the demo (video clip!), and he showed installing the application, searching on eBay, bidding (and receiving an alert when he was subsequently outbid), and selling an item with pictures taken from a webcam, all in under 5 minutes. You can bid on the item that was posted, an Apollo t-shirt signed by Chris Shipley, producer of the conference.
One feature that we added specially for the show was dragging the watch list to the desktop, which generates an Excel file (showing off both drag and drop and file API access). This isn't a feature I had put in the original product roadmap, but given the positive reception that the feature received I could see how it would be valuable, especially given that Excel or other spreadsheet programs are better suited for complex data analysis than a general-purpose eBay application would be. Mike also showed off new capabilities of San Dimas never before seen -- online/offline detection (demonstrated by yanking out the network cable), and auto-syncing of data when the application goes back online. Features like this clearly demonstrate the power of applications that go beyond the browser.
Apollo is shaping up to be a really cool platform, and lots of the startups and venture folks who were looking for opportunities seemed to see the great potential that rich desktop applications offer. eBay developers (that means you) should definitely check it out when it goes beta.
After the show I got a chance to meet with show attendees at the Apollo booth in the demo hall. Everyone I talked to loved the demo, and many said that it was one of the best if not the best demo that they saw (aw shucks). We are eagerly awaiting the developer release of Apollo ("few months" says Adobe) and I'm continuing to lead the team that is developing San Dimas.
Oh, what about Barry Bonds, you ask? Yeah, I have no idea why he was there, but he was spotted in the demo hall, entourage and all. Maybe Barry should stop oogling cool technology and get down to business with getting his contract sorted out.
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