"This is the natural evolution of what [Adobe and Macromedia] have been promoting for a long time," Todd Hay, Adobe's director of platform marketing and developer relations, told PDFZone. "A lot of our core community really sees PDF not as a portable document format but rather a portable application container."
The idea behind Apollo, Hay said, is to enable applications currently made from Flash and PDF to move beyond the browser by assigning Flash-based apps a desktop icon that can be launched like traditional apps.
Adobe hopes the end result will be a slew of rich-media applications that offer the in-browser experience of Flash in a desktop client like Acrobat reader.
While Flash developers are likely to have a head start in creating Apollo applications, Hay told PDFZone his team is working to allow PDF developers and those who work in HTML and AJAX to build apps in those environments that can then be enriched with Flash.
The team is also reportedly working to make Apollo integrate with forms created in Adobe Designer and Acrobat as Apollo apps. Some of the apps could be built to save information offline and later sync with a server once the computer regains Internet connectivity.
"Apollo aims to create a cross-platform run-time that will allow you to develop desktop applications using traditional Web development," said Mike Chambers, an Adobe senior product manager, in an April podcast hosted on the Adobe site.
In it, he also dispelled rumors that Adobe plans to merge the Flash Player and Adobe Reader into one fat browser plug-in.
Adobe reportedly plans to issue a free Apollo public alpha download "much later" in the year.