Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Ext JS and Adobe AIR

Category: Adobe, Bespin, JavaScript, Sencha

<>p>As we’ve been exploring ways to take Bespin to the desktop, we’ve looked closely at some of the single-site browser technologies and their individual APIs to work out which platform we favor. As we went through this exercise, Adobe AIR really impressed us with the richness of its JavaScript APIs which wrap native APIs (as well as the accompanying documentation).

There’s no other competing JavaScript API that we’ve seen that comes close to this level of comprehensiveness (please correct us in the comments in we’re wrong).

We weren’t able to use AIR as its implementation of <canvas> is a bit old, but we’re excited to play with it as soon as we can.

Ext JS and Pixel Bender Explorer

We’re not the only ones who have been playing with AIR. Aaron Conran from the Ext JS crew blogged about Pixel Bender Explorer, an AIR app they wrote to demonstrate how to integrate Ext JS with AIR’s Pixel Bender technology that lets you apply pretty amazing effects to interfaces.

Pixel Bender can spruce up an Ext.air application by adding custom animations to wow your users. However, you should be cautious about the over-use of these filters throughout your application. For a good example of how effective these filters and animations can be to provide proper user feedback you should check Adobe’s signature sample BlackBookSafe. Each time an animation occurs it is clear why it happened, not a surprise to the user and adds character to the application. When using these animations you should strive for the same goal, not to surprise your user, but to impress them.

Check out the AIR application to see some pretty amazing fx.

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Posted by Ben Galbraith at 5:00 am
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The best thing about using PB effects is that they get threaded. So less performance hit on app. But careful when using PB effects on huge images, it will suck up your ram.

Comment by V1 — February 25, 2009

>Adobe AIR really impressed us with the richness of its JavaScript APIs which wrap native APIs (as well as the accompanying documentation).

In fact the JS API just wraps the Flash API which wraps native APIs. So, not very efficient as you always have the overhead of the FlashPlayer…

>There’s no other competing JavaScript API that we’ve seen that comes close to this level of comprehensiveness (please correct us in the comments in we’re wrong).

I think I have to correct you: http://ajaxian.com/archives/titanium-pr2-released

Titanium is still young, but offers already many features and an offline-Bespin would be possible today (Titanium uses a recent webkit build and not one over a year old).

Creating an offline version of Bespin with Titanium is the better choice:
- latest webkit
- less restrictions (you can open applications, documents and execute shell commands)
- open source
- no flash overhead

Comment by AndiSkater — February 25, 2009

I saw it two days ago.. it’s great

Comment by nunziofiore — February 25, 2009

With AIR, I have trouble figuring out what the exact capabilities are. What version of JavaScript? What extra CSS effects I can count on, etc. Frustrating.

Comment by Nosredna — February 25, 2009

AIR has some cool features; I wish they’d update their version of Webkit to the latest rev though, including faster Canvas, SVG, CSS Fonts, etc. It’s a really old version as you mention.

Comment by Brad Neuberg — February 25, 2009

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