Rich Internet Applications and Greek Mythology
Ever since I first starting hearing about Adobe Apollo, I had a feeling there was more to the name than was apparent.
Adobe wants you to believe that the name Apollo is a reference to the Apollo project, the series of NASA missions aimed at landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth, a goal set by JFK that’s the point of the Apollo icon, with it’s orbital circle.
But I’ve decided the codename “Apollo” (Kevin Lynch has said that there will be a real release name which is different) is a disguised swipe at Ajax.
Ajax, in Greek mythology, was not a god, but a human hero and King. Interestingly, in the Illiad, he is the only major warrior who receives no assistance from the gods, suggesting “the virtues of hard work and perseverance.”
Microsoft called their Ajax platform (now more prosaicly known as ASP.NET AJAX) Atlas – a Titan and brother to Prometheus who held heaven and earth on his shoulders as a punishment from Zeus for leading the Titans in a revolt against the gods.
(Side note: This is the same Atlas who retrieved the Golden Apples of the Hesperides for Hercules, who tricked Atlas into taking back up the burden of the world on his shoulders).
So why does Adobe choose Apollo? Well, the god Apollo unites art and reason, and is the god of beauty, the sun, music, light, truth – the ideal of beauty. Perhaps Apollo plays in both senses here – rather than holding up the earth (like Atlas) Adobe’s Apollo is taking us to the moon and back, and providing beauty. Ajax was merely human, Apollo divine. Atlas tried to usurp the gods and was punished; Apollo brought order, music, and poetry.
Perhaps it’s time for an open source web/desktop framework named after Dionysus? (See Apollonian and Dionysian)
p.s. The Microsoft codename for what is now called Windows Presentation Foundation was Avalon. Why does Avalon sound familiar? It’s a mythic island associated with King Arthur – where Excalibur was forged, and where Arthur’s body rests. It’s also, though, famous for its beautiful apples. Microsoft admitting to the inspiration for their focus on improved graphics capability?