Adobe brings e-commerce to the desktop

20 Mar 2007

Adobe has released a tool that enables web developers to create rich internet applications (RIAs) that allow users to access web content offline and drop it onto the desktop or into other applications for modification.

Adobe describes the new tool Apollo as combining the reach of internet technology with the flexibility of desktop applications for a more integrated user experience.

It is a runtime application that will allow web developers to use their existing programming skills to create RIAs for use on the desktop.

Rather than depending on an internet browser, the user will be able to launch an application with embedded web content directly from their desktop.

The web content could be accessed offline and could potentially be dragged and dropped onto the desktop and into other applications. When a connection becomes available the content would be updated automatically.

“RIAs have become a core element of today’s web computing experience. We’re working to enable this new generation of innovative applications to bridge the chasm between the web and the personal computer,” said Kevin Lynch, senior vice-president and chief software architect at Adobe.

This new technology has the possibility to open new vistas for online marketing, according to Adobe. Companies could potentially embed advertisements in software with a wide reach, such as word processing applications. Already eBay has teamed up with Adobe to work on a desktop application that will be available for installation directly from the eBay website.

This application runs independently from an internet connection and has several offline capabilities. Sellers can set up item-for-sale profiles complete with pictures taken from within the programme using a webcam.

Also, the details of a watched auction can be dragged and dropped onto the desktop and opened in applications like Excel where the user can, for example, calculate the average cost of everything in their “watched list”.

Max Mancini, senior director of disruptive innovation at eBay, said: “Our work with Apollo is an example of one of the many ways eBay is delivering a fun, immersive experience outside of the browser. In this case, the marketplace is brought straight to users’ desktops with improved caching, real-time product availability notifications and auction updates.”

By Marie Boran.