"Unlike Adobe AIR and Microsoft Silverlight, we’re not building a proprietary platform to replace the web. We think the web is a powerful and open platform for this sort of innovation, so our goal is to identify and facilitate the development of enhancements that bring the advantages of desktop apps to the web platform."
It's a cool idea, clearly they see the need and are jumping on the bandwagon. But I think they, like many others, really misunderstand AIR. I'm surprised how many times I've seen Adobe AIR called a "proprietary" or closed technology platform lately, and how tightly its reputation is coupled to Flex and Flash. So many standardista/open source fanboys & girls are chasing alternatives because they think that AIR requires an investment in Flex and that you have to maintain a separate code base between AIR applications and "regular" web applications. Many confused developers think they need to learn something new to build apps for AIR. That is simply not the case! So I would like to point out a few facts:
- AIR development does not require a specialized IDE or cost a thing to get started
(download the free SDK)
- Creating an AIR application out of an existing applications (or a new one) only requires configuration of a simple XML file. There are plugins for Dreamweaver and FlexBuilder to make it even easier.
- The FlexBuilder IDE which has a super simple AIR app wizard is available as a free public beta, and is also free for educational use
(the education announcement)
- The Flex SDK is STILL FREE if you want to develop for AIR in Flex and for some reason can't use FlexBuilder
(download the free SDK)
- Over and over, Adobe makes the point that they have designed AIR in such a way that developers can use their existing skills to develop desktop applications.
(right on the AIR home page)
- Prism does have the unique and interesting feature to give the user the choice to move an app to their desktop (IE Gmail), but does not yet include the first-class desktop presence or local data storage that AIR does. AIR, although in Beta, is really much farther along that Prism.
There you have it. There are no excuses to not learn AIR and start using it today. Adobe is not some evil mega-software company, they are creating kick-a** tools for developers that will become (or already are) incredibly valuable in our daily jobs.
Other web-to-desktop platforms sweating AIR's style: