Introducing Adobe AIR beta

Monday this week Adobe posted the beta builds of Adobe® Integrated Runtime (AIR) on Adobe Labs. Over the last few months, you might have heard about an Adobe project code-named Apollo — Adobe® AIR™ is the official name for that project.

What is Adobe AIR and why would you want it?

The official FAQ provides a quick definition of what Adobe AIR is. In short it’s described as:

Adobe AIR is a cross-operating system runtime that allows developers to leverage their existing web development skills (HTML, JavaScript, Flash, Flex, Ajax) to build and deploy rich Internet applications (RIAs) to the desktop.

Adobe Labs also features articles that discuss how developers already using HTML, CSS, Ajax, Flash, or Flex can start using Adobe AIR to build desktop-based rich Internet applications.

After you have downloaded and installed Adobe AIR you can experience sample applications/source code built by Adobe engineers to demonstrate capabilities of the runtime. I’ve tested 2 of them, Fresh and Scout.

Adobe AIR Fresh Feed Reader

Adobe AIR Fresh Feed ReaderFresh is a skinnable RSS reader built entirely using AJAX running on Adobe AIR. The Fresh reader features off-line RSS reading, multiple panels within a single window, tabbed browsing, and basic browser integration. Fresh is based on the YUI-Ext / Ext JS library and RSS Feed Viewer sample by Jack Slocum.

It’s very easy to operate and provides results quickly and sophisticated. Probably the best stand-alone Feed Reader I’ve ever used.

Adobe AIR Scout Source Viewer

Adobe AIR Scout Source ViewerScout gives web developers the ability to look inside a web page and see what is really going on beneath the covers. This app takes advantage of the HTML capabilities of Adobe AIR to inspect a page as it’s rendered on the client providing you with a lot more info than you would normally get from viewing the source code.

There’s not much more to it than revealing the code at the moment, but it might come in handy if you want to double check that everything is rendered properly, including 3rd party JavaScripts etc.

Adobe Air summary

It sounds very much like Adobe has created a runtime functioning pretty much like a desktop “widget” generator. From my short experience using AIR I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of use, appealing design and functionality. Not sure if it will hit the roof on the market but it’s definitely worth mentioning.

Please let me know if you know of (or have created) other useful applications for this “new” system runtime!

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