Feb '08

Adobe AIR takes to the, um, air!

Okay, pardon the pun in the title, but Adobe AIR is finally out of beta and has been officially born. And not just AIR, Adobe Flex 3 is also a real product now. You can read all about AIR here and about Flex 3 as well. But in a nutshell for those that want the “down-n-dirty” version, AIR is Adobe’s new development platform. Together with Flex 3, our open source development framework, they allow developers to develop RIA’s (now, Rich, Interactive Applications) that both work within the context of a browser (like the old RIA term), and on the desktop as a standard “desktop” application. You can, of course, also use other technologies such as HTML/Ajax (using Dreamweaver CS3), as well as Flash to build AIR applications.

What makes AIR special are two key points, first, AIR applications are “internet” aware. In other words, they can connect to the web and retrieve information – but still hang onto and manipulate the information after the web connection is no longer present. Imagine being able to begin a shopping transaction, but then put your laptop to sleep, wake it up on the subway (with no internet connection), restart the shopping application – have it know exactly where you were in the process, then allow you to continue all the way to the final “submission” step, without the internet connection. Finally, when you arrive at home or the office, restart the application and have it process the transaction. Too cool! And then, the second main point, AIR applications can be built completely cross-platform. Remember the “build once, deploy everywhere” mantra of Java from a few years ago? Well, with AIR, this dream has now become a reality.

To my fellow colleagues who’ve worked long and hard to bring Flex 3 and AIR to life, well done! Cheers!!!

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