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AIR: what is it good for?

Still trying to figure out the practical usefulness of the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR). Interesting points in the second paragraph of this Adobe blog: AIR as “PDF of the Web 2.0”. He’s proposing that AIR do for all (other) mobile devices what the App Store is doing for the iPhone.

AIR bascially lets you take anything you’ve created for online (HTML and/or JavaScript and/or Flash) and, fairly easily, turn it into a cross-platform (Win/OSX/Linux) desktop app. I went through the tutorials at the Adobe Community Summit in May ’07. As a former long-time Director user, it seemed useful but maybe late to the party.

Plus, for CD delivery to a client (we still get these jobs), they still need to download the AIR runtime itself. I’m thinking that from an end user’s point of view, this is one too many steps.

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Interesting web stats

If the global web stats from this site are close to right:

  • less than half the people still use IE6
  • one in five uses IE7
  • one in four uses Firefox
  • one in 50 uses Safari
  • only one in twelve still have 800×600 resolution
  • eleven of twelve search with Google
I first saw these linked from

BVAUG meeting notes free resources Industry info Software training conferences

MAX 2007 Report

Thanks to everyone who came to the meeting last week for the MAX 2007 Report. Here’s the presentation file: MAX 2007 Report PowerPoint. This file is a summary of my conference notes. Here’s the discussion outline/intro screen:

  • Intro
  • Keynotes/General Sessions
  • Selected Sessions
  • Special Interest
  • Conclusions
  • Questions/Comments
Here’s the conclusions/summary screen:
  • AIR is the current Big Thing
  • ‘The web, your way’
  • Mobile technology still being stressed…
  • Adobe/Apple tenseness (under the surface)
  • Less overt ColdFusion promotion, but the ‘How to Promote CF’ Birds-of-a-Feather session was a hot topic on the UGM forum
Since these are just speaking points, email me if you have specific questions.

Industry info Software

Adobe, mobile devices, and the iPhone/iPod touch

As I’ve mentioned before (in April, June, and July), Macromedia and now Adobe have been strongly emphasizing the importance of developing for mobile devices for years—since at least the 2003 MAX conference that I remember. But I’ve been hearing some discouraging words regarding Flash—i.e., the lack of it—on the iPhone and iPod touch.

From Roughly Drafted: though there’s a few out-of-date and/or questionable interpretations here, he makes some points to consider:

Excluding Flash is a huge slap in the face of Adobe, which is pushing Flash as the basis of its AIR and Flex web application strategies. Adobe likes to advertise that nearly every PC has a Flash plugin installed. Suddenly, nearly every mobile that has access to the real Internet won’t have Flash, making it far less attractive across the board.
Of course, even Steve Jobs’ own prediction/goal for the iPhone market share isn’t anywhere close to “nearly every mobile”; it’s 1% of all handhelds (10 million by the end of 2008). But at $300 for an iPod touch, I don’t see how “nearly every” person wanting to surf on a mobile device wouldn’t get one—with or without Flash.
In any case, the iPhone is Apple’s best shot at killing Flash, and Apple appears happy to be using it as such. The company just recently removed all remains of Flash from its corporate website, implementing everything that had been Flash-based using standards-based Ajax techniques instead.
I haven’t tried to check this, but the “standards-based” rationale is interesting. Here’s a comment from another Flash-disparaging article:
… today we ponder one of the most interesting questions about the future of Flash, iPhone and web standards. Despite assurances by Uncle Walt [Walt Mossberg] that Apple and Adobe are hard at work on a Flash Player for iPhone, plenty of naysayers, skeptics, and player-haters have voiced strong speculations that Flash will never appear on the iPhone for strategic, practical and technical reasons. A quick scan of comments on various iPhone related entries across the web reveals an almost universal plea amongst everyday users indicating that the only missing feature from Mobile Safari is the presence of a mainstream multimedia plugin. In fact, the world’s most popular piece of software, in history is well known to be absent from iPhone.

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Adobe over MS et al. in (non-PC) web apps?

(Executive summary: learn Flash / Flex / AIR!)

Last week the PBS technology column The Pulpit had an interesting article about Adobe and its competing with MS and others. Some quotes (emphases added):

Microsoft is putting massive resources behind Silverlight. Sun is trying to take Java to the next level with Java FX. Mozilla is trying to improve its position through AJAX, Canvas support, and better offline support. And Adobe is leaning hard on Flash, Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) … and Flex. My money is on Adobe
So where is Adobe headed… ? Traditionally we’d expect a fight with Microsoft for the desktop, but I think Adobe is headed in a different direction, toward mobile and embedded devices*, with the desktop variants like AIR primarily intended to make sure there is something for all those mobile devices to link TO.
Think about anywhere you see a graphical user interface that isn’t attached to a PC … In each case, the user interface was probably developed by a specialized team for specific hardware. The team may have limited training in GUI design or usability, the interface may not be portable across new device models, and the development tools may not be very evolved, which would slow the GUI creation process … Flash potentially solves all those problems AND creates new opportunities.
* at the last MAX, Adobe showed off an example of this by driving a Flash-enabled Jaguar XK into the auditorium.