I just wrote Adobe Flash is full of surprises about a week ago and today I came across OpenLaszlo. It’s a platform that’s supposed to enable “write once, run everywhere” applications. From what I understand after reading their website, OpenLaszlo is a programming environment or an SDK for writing applications. The code eventually gets compiled into Flash code so that it can run in Flash or Java. My guess is that the main target platform is Flash since Flash is ubiquitous and that OpenLaszlo seems to be targeting the desktop(ok, Java runs on the desktop too but seriously, it’s not desirable to run a Java application on the desktop when there are choices)
If history is a good indication of the future when it comes to software development battles, it’ll be an incredibly tough battle for OpenLaszlo to win over the users of Adobe’s Flash tools. No matter how great OpenLaszlo is, it’ll always be one step behind Adobe’s tools. Remember back in 1990’s when Borland tried to get people to use their Windows SDK instead of Microsoft’s Windows SDK? We know how that battle turned out. The only way for OpenLaszlo to win is probably if it makes it much easier to create Flash apps. On top of that, OpenLaszlo has to provide some value-add, something that Adobe can’t do.
It’ll be interesting to see how this battle turns out. Choices, if not too many, are good.