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Adobe AIR

SnowconeSnowcone Registered User regular
Anyone know anything about Adobe AIR? I caught a link for it this morning and just downloaded it, but haven't installed it.

http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/air/
Adobe® AIR™ lets developers use their existing web development skills in HTML, AJAX, Flash and Flex to build and deploy rich Internet applications to the desktop.

It sounds quite interesting. There is a showcase here and a nice suite of tools based on AIR here.

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Posts

  • NailbunnyPDNailbunnyPD Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Interesting. I am checking out the Google Analytics thing.

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  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    This isn't the first time someone has tried to give us tools to use web technologies to make desktop apps. Just like all the attempts before them, they fail to realize that we can simply make better desktop apps with desktop tools, than can be made with web tools. I am sure AIR is neat, but real desktop developers will stick to real desktop tools.

    I understand they are trying to let web guys leverage their skills, but really.

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  • steejeesteejee Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    I was introduced to this at the Zend/PHP conference (Adobe had a large presence at the Zend conference). It's very similar to the Java VM and is intended to allow an application to be identical across all platforms. The Air VM itself is very small and runs on basically any platform you can get Flash for. So it has a major advantage over traditional desktop development and possibly Java (which can be a bit inconsistent across platforms), but ties you into Flex/Flash.

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  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    My point is, I have never seen a desktop app that gained anything by trying to tie it down to this "identical across platforms" thing. You are generally much better having your business logic being a portable component, and wrapping a platform specific GUI around that, than you are trying this "write once, run everywhere" stuff that ends up causing as many problems as it solves.

    It's interesting technology, for sure....but I still question what the real benefits are. We've been promised how cool these kind of things will be for years, but it never pans out.

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    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
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  • EchoEcho Moderator mod
    edited October 2007
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    I am sure AIR is neat, but real desktop developers will stick to real desktop tools.

    Yeah. But AIR is great for small single-purpose apps. I use tweet-r as my twitter client. Works just fine.

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  • vitaminjvitaminj Registered User
    edited October 2007
    I attended an Adobe conference on AIR about 6 or 8 months back (when they were still calling it Apollo). A couple guys from ebay were showing off a desktop RIA that seemed pretty cool.

    I think it's interesting technology but honestly, I've had trouble dreaming up useful applications for it in my own job.

    vitaminj on
  • Doc HollidayDoc Holliday Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    This is sure to help us build desktop sync clients for our calendars. We have neither the time nor resources to learn cross-platform application development, so this fits in perfectly for us. Definitely going to look into this.

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  • steejeesteejee Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    My point is, I have never seen a desktop app that gained anything by trying to tie it down to this "identical across platforms" thing. You are generally much better having your business logic being a portable component, and wrapping a platform specific GUI around that, than you are trying this "write once, run everywhere" stuff that ends up causing as many problems as it solves.

    It's interesting technology, for sure....but I still question what the real benefits are. We've been promised how cool these kind of things will be for years, but it never pans out.

    OpenOffice, Eclipse, Azureus all fall into the 'write once, use everywhere' paradigm due to being based on Java, and have all benefited greatly from it (particularly Eclipse). There are advantages to sticking to a language like C/C++ and keeping multiple branches, but if straight performance isn't a concern there are a lot of advantages to being able to code an application once and have it be cross platform by nature, and behave similar/identical on all of them.

    AIR basically allows Flash/Flex apps to work direct on the web in addition to any platform AIR runs on, which is pretty much everything (including smart phones). So write once, run everywhere including right off the web.

    A program that shows off the benefits of this pretty well is Buzzword: http://preview.getbuzzword.com/
    It's a Flex (essentially 'Flash for Developers (tm)') word processor that is pretty damn nice and works right on the web or you can download it to run locally via AIR.

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  • DigDug2000DigDug2000 Registered User
    edited October 2007
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    My point is, I have never seen a desktop app that gained anything by trying to tie it down to this "identical across platforms" thing. You are generally much better having your business logic being a portable component, and wrapping a platform specific GUI around that, than you are trying this "write once, run everywhere" stuff that ends up causing as many problems as it solves.

    It's interesting technology, for sure....but I still question what the real benefits are. We've been promised how cool these kind of things will be for years, but it never pans out.
    That's pretty much exactly what these do, isn't it? Except maybe opposite. At least with XULRunner, you write the difficult logic in something fast like C++ and then tie it into the frontend through some easy scripting stuff. Same thing people have been doing with Python for years. Its just starting to spill over into the Windows world now. That, and its on the net (i.e. you'll eventually be able to install a web page like gMail as a desktop app, although you can already do that if you want).

    I think these things will take over, although it probably won't be AIR that causes it. It will probably be Silverlight and its brethren if I have to guess.

    DigDug2000 on
  • steejeesteejee Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    DigDug2000 wrote: »
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    My point is, I have never seen a desktop app that gained anything by trying to tie it down to this "identical across platforms" thing. You are generally much better having your business logic being a portable component, and wrapping a platform specific GUI around that, than you are trying this "write once, run everywhere" stuff that ends up causing as many problems as it solves.

    It's interesting technology, for sure....but I still question what the real benefits are. We've been promised how cool these kind of things will be for years, but it never pans out.
    That's pretty much exactly what these do, isn't it? Except maybe opposite. At least with XULRunner, you write the difficult logic in something fast like C++ and then tie it into the frontend through some easy scripting stuff. Same thing people have been doing with Python for years. Its just starting to spill over into the Windows world now. That, and its on the net (i.e. you'll eventually be able to install a web page like gMail as a desktop app, although you can already do that if you want).

    I think these things will take over, although it probably won't be AIR that causes it. It will probably be Silverlight and its brethren if I have to guess.

    Silverlight is basically an AIR competitor and doesn't seem to have the legs AIR does. There's already a gazillion Flash developers out there (some are actually good!) and AIR will run straight Flash stuff in addition to Flex stuff (which compiles to a swf and runs in the Flash player anyways). Silverlight doesn't even have remotely the install base and developer pool (or maturity really) AIR/Flex/Flash do.

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  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Funny that you bring up OpenOffice, Eclipse and Azureus, all of which feel clunky and heavy weight to me because of their ties to Java. Especially Azureus. A native desktop app is going to be quicker, more responsive, and less clunky as a general rule. I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm saying the promise of this "right once, run everyone" paradigm has not been realized yet.

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  • steejeesteejee Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    Funny that you bring up OpenOffice, Eclipse and Azureus, all of which feel clunky and heavy weight to me because of their ties to Java. Especially Azureus. A native desktop app is going to be quicker, more responsive, and less clunky as a general rule. I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm saying the promise of this "right once, run everyone" paradigm has not been realized yet.

    Oddly enough I run all three on Vista (and OO/Eclipse on XP) and they all work great for me. Their startup time can be a little slow (5-10 seconds), but they're just as responsive as any other app I use otherwise. Not gonna be playing Half Life 2: Java edition anytime soon granted...

    steejee on
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  • DunbarDunbar Registered User
    edited October 2007
    While it's hard to see the benefit of things like this for the casual developer and end-user, it's part of an increasing trend in business publishing software (especially from Adobe) that's actually a very good thing for the business using these tools. Things like this and and Adobe's RoboHelp allow for single-sourcing, where you can easily adapt a single source for multiple uses. This is a Big Deal for technical communicators in particular, and business in general.

    For example, a company that has an interesting flash application on its website and wants to provide an offline version can use this software to create that offline version without needed to create a custom program from scratch, and in the case of some business, hire a programmer to do it.

    While the program itself might not be quite as efficient, the process of creating the program is massively more so, which means better prices for the consumer. Not to mention the fact that the user who used the online version already knows how to use the offline version, since they're nearly identical.

    Edit:
    steejee wrote: »
    stuff
    Pretty much this, though I'm coming from the content/writing side rather than the development side.

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