Adobe is exploring new ways of enabling developers to develop and deploy Rich Internet Applications (RIAs); most notable is the recent release of Flex 2. A new direction that they’re working on currently is the ability to put an RIA on the desktop – something that Microsoft has shown interest in as well, their solution Expression is tied to the ever-delayed Vista operating system. Expression has had it’s own setback with Microsoft letting it slip this week that it will now be released as late as 2008.

Adobe announced last year that they are working on a new cross-operating system runtime codenamed “Apollo” which will bring RIAs built in existing web technologies like Flash & Ajax to the desktop. The runtime will render Flash, Acrobat and HTML formats, specifically targeting Flex 2 and ActionScript 3. It will be free and a pre-release version of it will be made available in the second half of this year.

It’s been developed based on experience learnt with Central – a developer release product that Macromedia experimented with a couple of years ago, something that I’ve had considerable experience with. Members of the original Central team are also involved with the Apollo project.

Mike Chambers, familiar to us down under through his regular attendance of both MXDU and WebDU, is now responsible for Developer Relations for Apollo at Adobe. He’s put together an official FAQ for Apollo that can be found at Adobe Labs. Mike gave an insight as to what to expect in Apollo in his keynote at WebDU here in Sydney earlier in the year.