Adobe moves in RIA are the most straightforward ones because they are the company that it is more publicly invested into transform itself and to be fully running on the RIA Web as soon as 5 years from now.
They got Flash, Flex, Shockwave, AIR and Reader as their main guns on the Mainstream. all but one are pretty much ubiquitous. but the thing that connect all of them is Flash. Flash 10 is where they truly begin with this transition to being a RIA company and RIA Web run company.
Why not say their in for the cloud computing mantra as you say when talking about Google?. because being fully into RIA`s got a clear cloud computing base that do not need to be recalled upon. but unlike Google. Adobe is also in a Software + Services Strategy just like Microsoft. but as competitors they cannot use neither Mantras and they will stay focus on spreading the notion that Adobe is about RIA`s. because RIA evocates Media, Powerful Browser Based Apps or Powerful Desktop Based Apps that are seamlessly connected to the internet. that means they only need that.
Flash is a mature platform and it reached up that state since 2004-2005 where it became clear it would became more and more widespread. Today flash is in everything in some form or another and Flash 10 is what Adobe is going to use to push progress to Flash from Flex and Shockwave and it is Flash what will be pushed into Reader and AIR as base for the same tech to be used more effectively.
But Adobe weakness with its RIA Tech is that they got mediocre Development Tools. they are now trying to change that around with:
â€¢ Alchemy, that lets programs written in the C or C++ languages, run within Flash Player.
â€¢ "Gumbo," a new version of Adobe Flex Builder, that is designed to make programming easier for those familiar with scripting languages such as PHP.
â€¢ "Thermo," formally called Adobe Flash Catalyst, is designed to let people quickly create an application’s interface in another application–by Adobe Illustrator CS4 for example–then add the interactive instructions to the interface elements.
These are obvious responses to Microsoft Silverlight. the only real competitor to Adobe RIA tech.
Alchemy is the response to Silverlight 2.0 CLR
Gumbo is the other part of Responding to Silverlight 2.0 easy use and integration of .NET Tech.
Catalyst Responds to Microsoft Expression Studio â€œDevignerâ€ Mantra.
I see that there is still nothing really good for AIR development as the rumored AIRbase. that was supposed to be a AIR app development software a la iphone xcode sdk. it may not exist and it is a shame because it sounded like a great concept.
Adobe new development Tools and Development Paths sound like a great progress but this is a area where they are nowhere near the sophistication and maturity of Microsoft offerings with Expression Studio that actually lets designer use assets from Adobe own designing software programs too just like thermo and much less the unbeatable and untouchable status Visual Studio got against Anything Adobe can come up with.
Then. there is the Development Paths where it is also very doubtful Alchemy and Gumbo can top Silverlight .Net Tech Integrations and CLR
Many still claim that Adobe real war is with Google. but they are wrong. Google is late on RIA initiatives because they have not pronounced themselves toward anything yet and are still betting everything on Google Ajax and Google JS so cannot be considered to be in the RIA web fight up to now.
But seeing Adobe moves assure one thing. Competition in RIA`s will be fierce and it will be something nice to watch as it unfolds.
The good thing is that whatever Adobe does. means better things to come in terms of Widgets as they are the most basic beneficiaries as everything is getting Widgetized.