A few years back there was a lot of talk about the anticipated success of Push technology , where information would be pushed to you in a variety of forms and on pretty much all devices connected to the net. In actuality the only thing that came about of that buzz and had any kind of succes was Pointcast which would install on your system and download various news feeds that you could read offline.
Macromedia is now coming out with Macromedia Central , it’s an application that installs on your system and then lets you run / download / buy light applications from various developers, here’s an exerpt of the spin they are putting on those small apps.;
Thus, a new type of application is starting to emerge, the occasionally-connected application. These applications typically run outside the browser environment, but detect when the user is online and connect directly to a web service or other source of dynamic data. The application can then run offline with the most up-to-date data.
Sounds a bit like pointcast doesnt it? Funny how Push (although the most it ever became should have been called pull) is coming back 6 years later in a new form. For that matter, all RSS readers are also doing pretty much the same thing Pointcast did, granted in a text only version as opposed to the “old” multimedia-ish product but still, looks pretty darn similar dont you think?
Getting back to Macromedia Central, the platform is way more interesting than push was and I can see some definite potential in there, very promising. Already a few write ups giving some more details;
Macromedia Central is a shell, a host, which lives on your local computer. It’s a sandbox in which various applications can safely play. It differs from Java applets or other in-browser work because the code is local—it doesn’t require ongoing connection with a server, doesn’t require a fresh download with each use. You can remember preferences across sessions without storing your private data on someone else’s machine. Applications you choose can also share their stored and live data if you permit.
and finally a futur xml based Flash dev. tool
Update 2003/03/31: I swear I hadnt read this article by Alex Wright when I wrote this post! He says pretty much the same thing I do, only way more eloquently and with some in-project info.