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Adobe Releases AIR 1.0 and Flex 3.0 - Continues Move to Open Source

by Scott Delap on Feb 25, 2008 |
12 months after the initial SDK alpha of AIR, Adobe has released Flex 3.0 and the 1.0 version of AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime). Flex leverages Adobe's Flash player to provide a framework for building interactive rich internet applications (RIAs). AIR in turn allows developers to build desktop applications using either Flex or a combination of HTML/CSS/JavaScript. AIR currently supports Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Mac OS X. Linux support is targeted for AIR 1.1. Adobe is also releasing the updated Flex Builder 3 IDE, with the Standard edition priced at US$249 and the Professional edition at US$699. The New York Times attempts to frame the transition:
The battle will largely pit Microsoft’s 2.2 million .Net software developers against the more than one million Adobe Flash developers, who have until now developed principally for the Web, as well as a vast number of other Web-oriented designers who use open-source software development tools that are referred to as AJAX.
For additional perspectives InfoQ interviewed Adobe's Matt Rozen about AIR 1.0 and James Ward on the Flex 3.0 release.

In addition InfoQ sat down with Phil Costa, director of product management for the Adobe Platform Business Unit, to discuss the product releases. Costa first talked about the progress between Flex 2.0 and 3.0. He noted that the difference can be tangibly seen by the fact that a number of companies are simultaneously releasing products built on the technologies released today. From the press release:

    eBay (http://desktop.ebay.com)
    eBay Desktop is an application built on Adobe AIR that creates a persistent connection with eBay customers. eBay Desktop delivers product availability notifications and auction updates straight to the buyer, in real-time, so users don’t have to open a browser and go to the eBay site for the latest information.

    The Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc. (https://data.nasdaq.com/mr.aspx)
    NASDAQ Market Replay leverages Adobe Flex and Adobe AIR to deliver a RIA on the desktop that enables financial professionals to replay market activity in detail at any point in time.

    The New York Times Company (http://shifd.com)
    The New York Times Company is launching ShifD, a new RIA that allows users to shift content between computers and mobile devices. ShifD works on - and between - the Web, mobile devices and through a downloadable AIR application, giving people a way to consume media on the go.

The popular micro blogging startup Pownce is also using AIR as the basis for its desktop client.

Of particular interest to developers is the continued open sourcing the Flex API. The original roadmap called for increased openness and releases of source that was to be followed by a public bug database and ultimately source repository access. Costa revealed that as of today Adobe is proving read only SVN access to the Flex API source. This follows the introduction of a public JIRA bug system for tracking bugs and feature enhancements. Costa explained that going forward Adobe will work to make outside developers more involved in the Flex development process. He tentatively suggested that initial steps would include the creation of Flex related projects including outside committers. Subsequent collaboration will include public release of planning documents for future development and collaboration between Adobe and the community in terms of bug fixes and code reviews.

AIR can be downloaded at http://www.adobe.com/go/air. Adobe's open source projects such as Flex and BlazeDS can explored in detail at http://opensource.adobe.com.

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