We've spent a lot of time and ink covering Microsoft's Silverlight technology,
and for good reason. Initially regarded as a simple Flash competitor for delivering
rich media over the Web, Silverlight quickly emerged as a full-fledged application
delivery platform. And, as seems to be the case with all successful Microsoft
offerings, Silverlight is an amazing lesson in leverage. To wit: It enables
millions of .NET-savvy developers to write and package applications for use
across platforms and across the Web, via the Silverlight player.
Not that Adobe Inc. is going to take all this sitting down. The company that
brought us Flash and basically established the rich Internet application (RIA)
shtick isn't done innovating in this market. The Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR)
platform, currently in beta and expected to launch in Q1 of 2008, is attracting
a lot of developer attention. Playing against a loyal audience of Flash developers
and bolstered by the maturing Flex 3 development environment, AIR has the look
of a capable RIA platform.
Perhaps most significant is the work Adobe is doing to win over developers.
As Dana Gardner notes in his
blog, the new Flex beta supports ASP.NET and enables programmers to create
applications from a SQL database using wizards. The availability of embedded
local databases is also a key advantage, since it should enable AIR applications
to behave in a much more desktop-like fashion than browser-bound Silverlight
At the Adobe MAX show last week, the company trundled out a host of brand-name
companies that are rolling out AIR, including SAP and Business Objects.
Just don't sleep on Silverlight. Our senior editor Kate Richards was at the
ReMIX event in Boston yesterday and she says developers there were very excited
about Microsoft's RIA platform. Her take: Dev shops find Silverlight to be very
manageable -- a far cry from their experience working with the Windows Presentation
Foundation native to .NET Framework 3.0.
Is your shop looking at Adobe AIR? If so, we'd like to hear from you. What
are your thoughts on Adobe's RIA platform and how does it stack up compared
to Silverlight? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Michael Desmond on 10/10/2007 at 1:15 PM