I had an interesting discussion at MAX Milan regarding some of Adobe’s services/platforms, and how one developer was feeling about them. He said that while he understands why Adobe builds things like Cocomo, or Adobe Wave, he is a little bit worried because he feels that these platforms are somehow competition from a big company for his projects or somebody else’s projects.
While I am fully sympathetic with his feelings, I must say that this is not how I see things, and it is not because I work for Adobe. As a matter of fact, if I were a developer, I would see these as opportunities and not threats. More on this idea a little bit later. First, let’s see what Adobe Wave is.
So, we made Adobe Wave public, and developers can sign up for a pre-release. But what exactly is this project? The goal of this project is “Displaying a desktop notification is as easy as sending an email”. I bet at that point you still don’t have a clear idea about what this system do.
Basically we created an easy way for end-user to receive notifications, and at the same time we created a back-end for sending a new notification, thus it will be a breeze for any publisher to send a notification using this.
Now, why would someone explicitly sign up for something that potentially looks like more spam? Well, here is the idea. Suppose you are interested in air tickets from London to Boston, you also love to see live music, and maybe you are a computer geek like me, and you don’t want to miss offers from your favorite computer store. You sign up for notifications from each company, and you receive offers probably, in your inbox. The problem is that you already have a lot of spam in your inbox, and it is possible to miss the timeframe for some of these offers. Another option for those companies willing to send you offers would be to build some kind of a client, that you download and install on your computer. And when you have Internet connection, you can get notifications. This could lead to another problem: as you opt-in for more and more clients, you will end up with a System Tray full of desktop notification clients.
Here comes the power of Adobe Wave: instead of installing so many clients, you install only one client. Then from within this client you can subscribe to publishers that you want to receive notifications from. You can think of this system, as a syndication for your notifications. No more emails in your inbox. And because the system is run by a third company (in this case by Adobe), all the players have to behave :) For example, if you don’t subscribe for air tickets, you will not receive this kind of offers. If you say you are interested in concerts in the Bay area only, you will not receive notifications about concerts in Romania.
As I said, Adobe created an easy to use back-end for publishers as well. There is a REST API and a portal available. About the portal:
“The Publisher Portal is a website where you can create and manage notification feeds, including customizing notification appearance and setting up lists of topics for users to follow. After you have your feed perfected, you then invoke the ‘Send Notification’ API to send both global and user-specific notifications.”
Notifications can have: a logo, a text message, and a thumbnail. Background and foreground colors can be customized. When a user clicks on your notification, the URL you attached to it’s open in the browser.
Here are some of partners that are interested in this platform (you will notice that you can opt-in to receive notifications when someone leaves a message to your MySpace page):
If you are curious about the technology behind this, the client is an AIR application, and back on the server is Flash Media Server.
Coming back to my discussion about Adobe platforms/services, and you, the developers: I think this might be an opportunity for you. As Adobe make companies aware about a new channel for distributing their services/products, you can use this hype for your own projects. While Adobe Wave is interesting enough for many businesses, it might be not interesting, for example, for some of the small catering suppliers from your area that have offers only for some city. You can build a feed only for the people who order in food in your city (at the office, or at home), and you can add new features that will be valuable for the end-user (things like remembering past orders, and high-lighting offers that are compatible – if someone always orders Chinese food, then don’t push offers for Bavarian cuisine :D).