Adobe AIR: New Name and (Gasp) a Local Database - InformationWeek
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6/13/2007
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Nelson King
Nelson King
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Adobe AIR: New Name and (Gasp) a Local Database

My right knee jerks ever so slightly in reaction to the June 11 annoucement by Adobe of a beta release and a name change for its Apollo project to AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime)... In the IT industry media, Adobe Apollo achieved the appellation "much-anticipated" without ringing many doorbells at the enterprise. That needs to change...

My right knee jerks ever so slightly in reaction to Adobe's announcement, on Monday, June 11, of a beta release and a name change for its (once known as) Apollo project, now AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime). Some coverage is due, even if it is merely to note that as an important player in RIA (Rich Internet Applications), Adobe has thrown some more tidbits to developers - including a beta release of the new open source Adobe Flex 3. However, this is not news that will reverberate to the far corners of the IT shop.

That's if the IT shop knows something about Adobe software development products. In the IT industry media, Adobe Apollo achieved the appellation "much-anticipated" without ringing many doorbells at the enterprise. That needs to change, if only because shops moving into the Brave New World of RIA and Web 2.0 need to know who's who, and Adobe is most definitely one who is.Adobe AIR is a development environment aimed at providing RIA for the desktop. That's right, moving along from browser-based applications to putting a Web-enhanced but sophisticated UI application on the desktop and let it run offline. Pardon my smirk, but the discovery by Web application people that sometimes the Web connection isn't there or has terrible performance, so off-line operation would be a good idea - well, these are points desktop developers have been making for more than a decade.

There's another delectable tid-bit worthy of mention: The beta release of AIR includes a local database manager, open-source SQLite. It's the same database manager used by Google Gears, Google's forthcoming platform to enable off-line Web applications. Adobe says the inclusion of the database manager was "…the feature most requested from developers after the alpha release." and "We're very excited to be collaborating with Google to move the industry forward to a standard cross-platform, cross-browser local storage capability," says Kevin Lynch, senior vice president and chief software architect at Adobe.

Hey, if you're going to bring Web applications to the desktop and then make it possible to run offline, a local data storage capability might be a good thing. In this case, Google, Adobe and few other off-line Web application specialists such as Dojo Offline have ambitions of setting "an industry standard." Oh.

Enterprise IT shops know data management. This chatter about RIA and "local data storage" may seem puerile. It is puerile, but don't underestimate what's happening. Adobe and Google are coming at this from a very different background and perspective. Their results may be surprising, if also worthy of a few snarky comments along the way.

Nelson King has been a software developer for more than twenty-five years. Further complications include being a computer-industry analyst, product reviewer and author (of nine books on database programming). He's been writing for Intelligent Enterprise (and its precursors) for more than ten years. Write him at nelsonking@earthlink.netMy right knee jerks ever so slightly in reaction to the June 11 annoucement by Adobe of a beta release and a name change for its Apollo project to AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime)... In the IT industry media, Adobe Apollo achieved the appellation "much-anticipated" without ringing many doorbells at the enterprise. That needs to change...

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