Adobe is making available the first full release of its Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), and will reveal the customers who are already building both business and consumer applications with the technology.
AIR is aimed at bringing the same functionality of rich internet applications (RIAs) built using technologies such as Adobe Flash and Flex Builder to the desktop. It acts as a wrapper for RIAs, allowing those applications to run locally in Flash Player.
AIR 1.0 is now available as a free technology, said Adobe’s chief technology officer Kevin Lynch. He said hundreds of thousands of developers have downloaded the software development kit (SDK) for AIR during the beta process, which began in June. Some of the first applications to use AIR will also be available from today, when Adobe plans to highlight these releases at an event with customers in San Francisco.
Adobe also is releasing the latest version of its developer framework for RIAs, Flex 3, along with a new technology, Adobe BlazeDS. The latter is a data-services layer that helps send information between back-end IT infrastructure-like application servers and front-end applications more quickly and efficiently. Like AIR, Flex 3 and BlazeDS are open source and available for free.
Adobe hopes AIR will expand its reach beyond the internet into business and desktop applications, where competitor Microsoft dominates. Meanwhile, Microsoft is gunning for Adobe's position as the leading provider of RIA tools with its browser-based technology Silverlight and its Expression graphic- and web-design toolset.
In fact, if Microsoft's bid to purchase Yahoo is successful, it could displace the use of Flash on many Yahoo websites and services, helping Microsoft spread the use of Silverlight more quickly.
However, Adobe’s Lynch, who was promoted to CTO last month, said that it's taken 10 years for Flash to reach 99% adoption among web users, so he is not overly concerned with what might happen to Flash if the Microsoft-Yahoo deal goes through.
"It's not an easy task to get that kind of distribution," he said, adding that Adobe would even welcome more competition in the RIA market. "It keeps all of our teams on their toes."