Developers Get a Whiff of Adobe’s Fresh AIR

Adobe Systems has released the beta version of its new runtime software, Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) — formerly called “Apollo.” The software allows Web-native applications to run just like desktop programs.

The new tool and Adobe’s next version of its Flex development environment — called “Moxie” and also released in beta on Monday — further advance the increasingly complementary functions of software capable of running offline on computer desktops and programs that work on the Web.

The AIR function allows the latest generation of Internet software to run both online and on desktop computers offline without rewriting the code, the company said.

“Adobe AIR represents a new medium, as the best of the Web and the best of the desktop come together,” said Kevin Lynch, senior vice president and chief software architect at Adobe.

Incorporating More Operating Systems

Adobe AIR and Flex are the cornerstones of the company’s RIA (rich Internet application) platform, which enables developers and designers to create and deliver rich, dynamic, branded content and applications across all major operating systems, Rob Enderle, principal analyst with the Enderle Group, told TechNewsWorld.

“It is another step forward, moving away from a homogeneous Windows state to a more heterogeneous one,” he said. “There are a lot of platforms out there.”

The Flex 3 public beta marks the first significant deliverable for the open source project with the cross-platform framework for creating RIAs.

However, practical applications for the software remain in the early stages, Enderle noted.

“It is a little overhyped, but at least it promises to do a number of Web-based things,” he said.

Open Source Capabilities

Among the key elements of Adobe AIR are open source, including the Web Kit HTML engine, the ActionScript Virtual Machine (Tamarin project), and SQLite local database functionality, according to the company.

“Adobe AIR expands the universe of possibilities for Web developers who can now deliver a new generation of applications that work across operating systems, and both inside and outside the browser,” Adobe’s Lynch said.

By embracing open source technologies and offering prerelease versions of software, Adobe is allowing participation in the development of a platform for building cross-operating system RIAs, he added.

Everyone Is Doing It

Adobe is working with several customers, including online auction giant eBay, which is using the AIR programming language to create notification services for its sellers to manage auctions outside of an Internet browser. Sellers also can upload photos or pricing data without constantly being connected to the Web.

Last month, Google announced it was working with Adobe to develop its own software that works both online and offline, noted Enderle.

Although Google has used some of the same open source tools incorporated in Adobe AIR, Google Gears is functioning independently.

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