Adobe AIR Technology Available Today

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Adobe today makes available the first full release of its Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), and will reveal early adopter customers who are building both business and consumer applications using the technology.

AIR 1.0 is now available as a free technology, said Adobe 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 built using AIR also will be available Monday, and Adobe plans to highlight these releases with customers at an event in San Francisco.

Supports Internet Apps

AIR is Adobe's technology aimed at bringing the same functionality of rich Internet applications (RIAs) built using technologies such as Adobe Flash and Flex Builder to the desktop. AIR acts as a wrapper for RIAs, allowing those applications to run locally in the Flash Player.

Adobe also is releasing the latest version of its developer framework for RIAs, Flex 3, on Monday, 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. 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 plays prominently. 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 would likely displace the use of Flash on many of Yahoo's Web sites and services, helping Microsoft proliferate the use of Silverlight more quickly.

Lynch, who just last month was promoted to his CTO position at Adobe, said that it's taken 10 years for Flash to reach 99 percent 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," Lynch said.

Indeed, Adobe, particularly with the acquisition of Macromedia in 2005, has been successful at building a comprehensive set of tools that developers use primarily to deliver multimedia and high-impact, customer-facing Web sites and Web-based applications. Barring Microsoft, the company really has no major rival in this space.

But with AIR and related free offerings, the company also is hoping to drive adoption of its for-fee developer, design and server software in the business and enterprise market.

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