Monday, November 26th, 2007

Kevin Hoyt on the AIR Experience

Category: Adobe, Flash, JavaScript, Presentation

Kevin Hoyt of Adobe gives a personal tour of how you can take your web development skills to the desktop using the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) in his presentation from The Ajax Experience, which was recorded, and shown here.

Kevin is a top notch guy, and really gets Ajax. One good example is his latest post on Ajax and Flash in which he sticks up for Ajax, and its future, while showing that Flash has its place too:

For as far ahead as Flash may be in some areas, Google took Ajax and made a calendaring system, collaborative spreadsheet and even a decent word processor. Flash is only just now getting around to the word processor, and still lacks examples of a spreadsheet and calendaring system used on the same scale as the Google suite.

It’s true that standards bodies move slow. Committees and political agendas abound. There’s something to be said for that vision though. What happens for Flash if all the aforementioned standards (proposals really) actually do become standards? HTML 5 even includes an embedded database, for which Flash has to go to the desktop (i.e. AIR). ECMAScript 4 and the Tamarin VM could put the browser on the whole on the same playing field as Flash, and it would all be standard.

An interesting side note about solutions and alternatives is approachability. Richard alludes to this, but when it comes to making Flash support deep-linking, testing and even accessibility, there’s a fair amount of additional work that really requires the developer be “in the know.” SDK’s and IDE alternatives for Flash may also be available, but Notepad/TextEdit is always right there.

Turning the conversation 180 degrees, let’s not forget that for all of Flash Player’s ubiquity, there’s nothing that comes close to the vast amount of standards-based HTML content out there. Most Flash in fact still requires HTML to at least setup where on a page that content will reside, and to specify what content will act as the root. HTML rendering in Flash Player is extremely limited, but there’s no more ubiquitous format anywhere.

I also find it amusing when Flash developers tout Flash Player 9’s VM and AS3 as a language. Let’s not forget where Flash came from, and remember that Flashers have struggled with component development in Flash since scripting was introduced the Player. It is only recently that this has become mature, and that component development in Flash has a long ways to go to match what Microsoft has across the board.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 9:00 am
6 Comments

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3.2 rating from 33 votes

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I’d love to use those new technologies, but it’s all just such a long time coming. Who here thinks he’ll be using HTML 5 before 2010? I don’t, even though by that time there’s probably 1 or 2 browsers with full support.

Comment by Mike — November 26, 2007

His post is nothing but flamebait. He compares full-fledged Ajax component frameworks with Flash, not even mentioning Flex, and then more or less says that Flash doesn’t have a future because HTML 5 will kick it’s ass. Does anyone seriously belive that HTML 5 is going to be something even close to a common technology even three years from now? Not to mention that by then Flash Player will be at version 12 (at least, if Adobe continues the current pace), with features that we can yet only speculate about.

Comment by Theo — November 26, 2007

Gentlemen,

A reminder: Kevin Hoyt IS employed by Adobe. I don’t see how he is flamebaiting anything. He’s giving simply giving credit to the open web.

Comment by Matt — November 26, 2007

How fast HTML5 and standards become a reality in large part depends on us. If we take the attitude that the standards will never come around and that we should all just quit waiting and use something non-standard **AND** non-open like Flash, then guess what? It may become a self-fulfilling prophesy. Now do you enjoy when the future of your business depends on the whims of a single corporation when inside the corporation the bureaucratic nonsense rivals that of any standards body! Big corps are no different from the government these days, except you don’t get to vote inside a corp. The bureaucracy and the crookedness at the highest levels is commonplace. So do you want to stake your future and the future of your family on the future of some corp?


I have no problem if someone replaces the standards with open sourceand free as in freedom software. But going from open and royalty free standards to a proprietary solution is the way backward for the web and for any developer that cares about their own future.

Comment by Leo Lipelis — November 27, 2007

Lets face it, the future of the web is not html. AJAX is playing the role of duct tape on my grandpa’s 57 Chevy. Developers need a client-server SDK for the web. If broadband was deployed on a large scale back when html came into being, it would have never been concieved. We’d all be streaming data from ports in a connected environment. I just hope someone has an epiphany and shifts our paradigms before anything like html 5 is titled ‘the standard’ and shoved into our laps.

Comment by bgolson — June 3, 2008

Amen to that. It seems like you have to combine 5 different technologies to put together a decent web application.

Comment by bgolson — July 4, 2008

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