Connection-Independent RIAs on the Desktop: Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR)
The Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) allows developers to deploy Ajax, Flash and Flex web applications to the desktop. It requires the user to download and install the runtime (planned to be between 5 and 9 MB). Once installed, the user can download and run AIR applications as if they were native desktop applications, including running them while dis-connected from the server. This ability to function while disconnected is similar to that of Google’s Gears.
AIR provides an API for file input and output, a SQLite embedded database, win-dowing support, and file-type association (so that you can make it the operating system’s default application for a type of document). It is also planned to support native menus (the Beta version supports this for Mac OS X), and contextual (right click) menus.
Adobe’s AIR web page is currently located at labs.adobe.com/technologies/air/.
From there, you will find links to learn more about AIR, download the runtime environment, download the SDK, and try sample applications.
Flex 3 Beta
At the time of publication, Flex 3 was in beta. The Flex 3 beta homepage is labs.ado-be.com/technologies/flex/. The final version of Flex 3 is planned to be released in Q4 2007. You can download the Flex SDK beta from labs.adobe.com/technologies/ flex/sdk/flex3sdk.html. Install instructions are available at labs.adobe.com/wiki/ index.php/Flex_3:Release_Notes#Installation_Instructions.
An introduction to the features planned for Flex 3 is available at labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/Flex_3:Feature_Introductions. Flex Builder 3, for instance, will add a wizard to easily consume web services, improve the user interface designer, and also add support for AIR development. Some of the new features are discussed at www.adobe.com/ devnet/flex/articles/flex3_whatsnew.html.
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