(Executive summary: learn Flash / Flex / AIR!)
Last week the PBS technology column The Pulpit had an interesting article about Adobe and its competing with MS and others. Some quotes (emphases added):
Microsoft is putting massive resources behind Silverlight. Sun is trying to take Java to the next level with Java FX. Mozilla is trying to improve its position through AJAX, Canvas support, and better offline support. And Adobe is leaning hard on Flash, Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) … and Flex. My money is on Adobe…
So where is Adobe headed… ? Traditionally we’d expect a fight with Microsoft for the desktop, but I think Adobe is headed in a different direction, toward mobile and embedded devices*, with the desktop variants like AIR primarily intended to make sure there is something for all those mobile devices to link TO.
Think about anywhere you see a graphical user interface that isn’t attached to a PC … In each case, the user interface was probably developed by a specialized team for specific hardware. The team may have limited training in GUI design or usability, the interface may not be portable across new device models, and the development tools may not be very evolved, which would slow the GUI creation process … Flash potentially solves all those problems AND creates new opportunities.* at the last MAX, Adobe showed off an example of this by driving a Flash-enabled Jaguar XK into the auditorium.