3 Replies Latest reply on Mar 14, 2008 3:02 AM by KPE3000

    Developers' Feedback on AIR

    xwisdom Level 1

      I really like AIR and would like to get fellow developers onboard but it's kinda hard when I take them to the Adobe AIR website and things don't look as nice as they would other places. I'm going to share with you some of the things other developers are saying:

      * It's kinda difficult to get basic information or video clips on what air is all about.The basic introduction and major features are not clear.
      * Website colors are dull and not eye catching.
      * Flex seems a bit hard to understand and most of them think that it's difficult to use the Flash tool to create animations.

      That's it. This is some of the feedback I'm getting thus far. It's up to you guys to decide what you're going to do.

      Personally I would like to see a reduction in the distro size of AIR and speed improvement. It appears that AIR/Flash requires a lot of resources but I have never tested it fully. I would like to hear of other users' experience with running serveral AIR/Flash apps on a PC.

      I would also love for AIR to support greater data connectivity natively without the need to go throuh another Adobe Product or server:

      * MySQL
      * MSSQL
      * ODBC
      * POP3 Email support
      * SOAP connections
      * WebDAV/LDAP support
      * Ability to execute commands from AIR app
      * Ability to read/write to COM ports - this would make it great for working with robotics and other micro chip devices. For example: Home Automation, Device Timers, etc
      * Ability to connect with other servers or server backend scripts when streaming data. What if I don't have a flash media server and want yo send the the audio stream to be saved on my server with PHP?

      While it's possible to use low level socket to create these connections it's not something that most developers will be looking foward to in a framework. Lack of adequate data connections or support for such extensions will be a turn of for some developers.

      Anyway, you guys have done a great job with AIR thus far but I how you continue to push the system forward and at a much greater pace.

      PS. The video link on this page is not working for me in IE or firefox: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/air/ajax/articles/air_ajax_developers.html
        • 1. Developers' Feedback on AIR
          I think Adobe should be carefull in not extending AIR/Flex into all development areas. Some software projects are clearly not suited for AIR/Flex, and I think it should remain this way, or otherwise the clean and elegant model may soon be "poluted" with to many different things. Like a swish knife that does everything, but usually not as good as a dedicated tool.

          I currently see AIR/Flex as a replacement for the current AJAX interfaces that tries to mimic the desktop interfaces of our everyday OS. We need these kind of interfaces for many types of applications, and I think there is also a big need for it in the future, as we will base more and more applications in a distributed fashion, where we can take our environments with us anywhere.

          I've been working with AJAX long before the acronym was invented, and I can only say that it is scary how much work it actually requires to do even basic things. Besides, it's a model that is weak in many areas, like execution speed, cross-platform, browser artifacts, standardisation, etc.

          The HTML/JavaScript model model has been mature for replacement in many years now, and a lot of the AJAX desktop interfaces we see today, is what I would call totally overkill if we consider the work required to do them. I know there's libraries etc. that you can draw on, but these are not easily/naturallly extendable and will never be, if you compare to flex or similar fundamentally strong environments. AJAX is also quite difficult to scale to big applications - in other words, it's build on a pretty weak fundament.

          I think AIR/Flex has a great potential to develop into areas beyond my imagination, though I hope that Adobe will be very carefull in what they do to avoid spending time on areas that is better suited for other environments.

          So for the time beeing I see AIR/Flex as an AJAX killer, though it would be very critical if you marketed the framework as such. Many of the potential developers are still very pleased with their AJAX skills and applications, and they probably don't like the idea of killing those (yet). This is also why Adobe tries (very hard) to bridge the gap between Flex and AJAX - though in reality it would probably be easier to just trash the AJAX parts.

          Adobe created printers with their PostScript engines, and all we need now are monitors and TV sets with AIR/Flex engines - imagine the posibilities then ;-)
          • 2. Re: Developers' Feedback on AIR
            Arno Gourdol Adobe Employee
            Just to be clear, we're not trying to kill AJAX or replace it with Flex. We believe that AJAX, Flash and Flex are all valuable tools. Which ones you choose to use depends on a lot of different factors, including what you're trying to build and the general ecosystem in which you're developing.

            With AIR, what's important is that you can continue to use the skills you have developed on the web to build desktop applications, whether those skills are AJAX, Flash or Flex.

            In fact, you may also choose to mix and match which you use depending on what you're trying to do. For example, if you want a nice interactive animation inside a Flex application, you can use Flash for the animation (using the familiar timeline and animation tools that designers are comfortable with) and the powerful object-oriented Flex components to connect your business logic.

            We will continue to look for ways to improve and enrich the AIR platform, and we will be very sensitive to doing so in a way that will maintain the platform simplicity and expressiveness. In some cases, we'll look at building additional frameworks on top of the core platform, so that the core platform itself can remain simple, while layering on top of it additional functionality for those who need them.
            • 3. Re: Developers' Feedback on AIR
              KPE3000 Level 1
              And to be clear too - I know it's not your mission to kill AJAX.

              What I mean is that everything you can do with AJAX, you can do with Flex - plus 10 times more, and 100 times more elegantly. Thats why I see Flex as an AJAX killer, though it's up to people to make their own decisions/judgements on what technologies they want to use (there's room for everybody).

              Of course you don't switch a big AJAX implementation overnigth in favor of Flex, but it sure would be a great idea in the long run.

              I would never base a project on both Flex and AJAX, unless I'm forced to by some circumstances. I would rather work in a direction of replacing the AJAX parts.