Thursday, February 28, 2008

Adobe to launch AIR 1.0

Adobe Systems on Monday is set to finally release Adobe Integrated Environment software, which is on the leading edge of a movement to make Web applications act more like traditional desktop applications.

At the company's Engage event in San Francisco on rich Internet application design, executives will announce the availability of AIR 1.0, a free download for Windows and Macintosh.

Also on Monday, Adobe will release Flex 3.0, its application development tool that is now free and open-source. Another development tool, called BlazeDS, for linking Flex applications to back-end business applications, will also be released into open source as planned.

Adobe has been working on AIR for at least two years, when Kevin Lynch, now Adobe's chief technology officer, first publicly spoke about it. The company plans to build AIR versions of many of its Web applications, including photo-imaging application Photoshop Express and Premier Express for editing video, he said.

AIR is software for making Web applications appear like more like desktop programs. Applications can run offline, access data on a person's hard drive, have a desktop icon, and run without the need of a browser.

Developers can use any Web development kit, such as Ajax frameworks, to write applications that will run on AIR or they can use Flex.

These Web-native desktop applications have become an active area of software development--Adobe says that there are over 100 AIR applications--and alternatives to AIR are starting to appear.

The Mozilla Foundation, makers of the Firefox Web browser, launched a project called Prism that brings offline access to Web applications.

Lynch said that AIR is far ahead of what Prism offers but he expects many other platforms that bridge the Web with desktops to emerge.

"We're just getting back the lost treasures of the desktop that we lost when we went to the Web," Lynch said.

He said AIR is not competitive with Microsoft Windows or other operating systems; it's a layer above operating systems that enables people to use Web development techniques and toolkits.

A version of AIR for Linux is expected later this year, he said. Adobe will also create versions that run on mobile devices in the future. more>>HERE

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