Adobe Systems has announced a public beta of its Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) technology, formerly known as “Apollo,” which enables developers to write programs which can be deployed as both interactive online elements used within a Web browser, or standalone applications on a computer which can operate without being connected to the Internet.
“Adobe AIR represents a new medium, as the best of the Web and the best of the desktop come together,” said Kevin Lynch, senior VP and chief software architect at Adobe. “Adobe AIR expands the universe of possibilities for Web developers who can now deliver a new generation of applications that work across operating systems and both inside and outside the browser, bridging the gap between the Web and the personal computer.”
AIR is a runtime environment, like Adobe’s widely-used Flash animation technology. In theory, developers will be able to create a single codebase (using Adobe Flex, a framework Adobe has also released in public beta) which can be used within a Web browser or as a standalone offline program: developers would just target their program for deployment via AIR. AIR applications would run on Windows and Macintosh systems without a need to recompile.
The AIR and Flex public betas include significant new features which were not present in earlier developer releases, including full HTML support, transparency, PDF capability, and support for the SLQLite database package. Neither package is feature-complete yet, and Adobe is still working on extensions to its Dreamweaver authoring tools to enable publication of AIR installer files.
AIR is expected to be of particular interest to developers of media-centric applications (such as video editors and mash-up generators) and data-intensive programs which would benefit from local data access rather than being forced to conduct all data transactions with remote systems via the Internet.
Adobe expects both Flex and AIR will be available commercially in the third quarter of 2007.