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I can't tell you why. They have excluded all the new fancy css stuff, but also SVG and the well established data-URIs. Either they have problems getting these features working in the flash-context in which webkit runs in AIR (an html based air app is nothing more than a full window flash html-view and suffers from some flash related overhead. You don't want to have an AIR app running on OS X all the time, because it consumes 5-10% cpu power constantly doing effectively nothing), or they want you to use flash for the really fancy stuff. If you want cross platform web technology based desktop applications, you should have a look at Titanium ( http://titaniumapp.com/). It's still very new and unfinished, but it's open source and may be a but more aggressive on new features. They also plan to make it extensible through plugins. The apps compile to .app or .exe ant not to some .air AIR file, which has to be installed (but they also plan to support something like this is the future). Open source means it might only take weeks for Titanium to support for example executing command line commands, or opening documents and not, well, a year maybe, before Adobe may integrate these features.
Thank you for taking your time and explaining these issues to me.
Actually, I wasn't aware that the actual HTML content is being run from within the Flash container – that would explain a lot, and urge me to move my development struggles onto a different platform. Titaniumapp seems to be an excellent choice due to the native OS support – not via runtime environment!
I'll definitely give it a go.