17 Replies Latest reply on Mar 23, 2008 6:06 PM by xwisdom

    Will Adobe Air beat SIlverlight?

      I think Silverlight is some great software, which will be implemented on some great applications. Do you think Adobe Air is capable of beating Microsoft in de "next flash" battle?

      I'm curious about your opinions..

      Roy Jansen
        • 1. Re: Will Adobe Air beat SIlverlight?
          RossRitchey Level 4
          I think you are trying to compare 2 things that are completely different. Silverlight is intended to defeat Flash. AIR uses Flash, but also Flex, HTML, and PDF.

          With the proper comparison, I think Microsoft has the resources to give a good battle to the flashPlayer, though I find it interesting that people are saying Silverlight will win, when the bulk of developers in the world developing this type of content are still using Flash/Flex. Indeed, I have only heard about Silverlight in reference to a "battle" between it and Flash. And, what I have seen of Silverlight looks like Flash 5 content with a couple of bells and whistles, no sophistication whatsoever.

          I think that Silverlight needs to get some chops in the internet world first, and then this discussion can happen. As of right now, Silverlight doesn't stand a chance against Java, let alone Flash.
          • 2. Re: Will Adobe Air beat SIlverlight?
            The unserious roadmap to beat M$ Silverlight (and a lot else):

            1. Convince Google to convert all of their "miserable" (most really are, except for a few) free "applications" to AIR/Flex. Google has the marketing power to sell AIR/Flex to any developer and (more importantly) CEO in the world - it would surely be a nice little "eyeopener".

            2. Make an AIR hardware device (singlechip, including cpu ram/rom/usb/whatever) which embeds a flash player. Sell it for nothing (or give it away) just to dominate the market. With #1 in mind, there will be no excuse for any serious monitor/TV manufactorer, not to implement an AIR processor.

            3. your idea(s)

            I'd love to see something like this unfold in the future. AIR/Flex really deserves it, for the reason that the framework is really brilliant.

            PS. Where do I apply for a job?
            • 3. Re: Will Adobe Air beat SIlverlight?
              Steveorevo Level 1
              Silverlight is designed to compete with Flash not AIR and currently Silverlight does not beat Flash. But time will tell.

              AIR is designed to replace "craplets" aka “Java Applets” and “Java Web Start”, which is a single click launch of a Java desktop application/installation with one click. Or more typically what Adobe refers to as “Rich Internet Applications”.

              In that goal, Adobe has already won as the development of applets has been dysfunctional since day one. Java is virtually dead on the desktop but has been living on the backend developing server end applications/solutions. Microsoft currently competes with their own suite of applications to address server needs (ASP, .NET, SQL Server, etc).

              AIR is more aimed (or designed) to compete on the desktop with Sun’s Java –a battle already lost to Microsoft, and a handful of other network conscience development solutions (Borland’s offerings, Lotus Notes, etc.). But AIR is probably dead last in creating anything useful. Read: More ‘craplets’, only prettier.

              This is because AIR lacks any support for extending existing Adobe applications and providing solutions to problems a.k.a. 'doing useful work'.

              Enter Microsoft, which makes ALOT of money with VAR (value added resale) of its products. With M$ Office Suite and M$ development tools, developers can create ACTUAL solutions on the desktop for a customer. So if you are a government agency, a company, or simply a developer that needs to create a solution on a desktop for a customer, you’re more likely to succeed using M$ vs anything Adobe.

              This is because Adobe is kinda scatter brained right now as to weather or not they are a “Content Creation Company” or a “Developer Solution Company”. On the content front, they’ve done a great job integrating Macromedia and Adobe products in less then a year. Actually amazing with the CS3 suite!

              Unfortunately, on the “Developer Solution Company” front, they are WAY BEHIND. LiveCycle was way late to market, and all Adobe applications lack any consistent interface for acting as a “Developer Solution”. You cannot extend any Adobe applications with AIR, nor have their other Integrated Development environments work consistently or together where it counts to compete with M$ (i.e. ‘Director’ has been ignored for years, functions against/competes with Flash rather then ‘with’) and they are unfortunately missing out on VAR revenues.

              When a developer creates a ‘solution’ in M$ Office Suite, the developer must sell a copy of M$ Office Suite with their developed solution. Not the case with Adobe’s Suite because delivering a solution with Adobe’s suite of applications is very difficult and left to the low level plug-in writers of the 1980s.

              So that next killer medical imaging application or interactive University molecular 3d solution is gonna have to wait (or just can't be done) if you want to satisfy it with something like AIR. What Microsoft has lacked are imaging and multimedia applications like Adobe's Photoshop, Illustator, Director, Flash, etc. But now with Microsoft’s Silverlight, PowerPoint, Expression Design/Media/Blend, Publisher, and Visio to their suite of imaging applications and you’ve got some serious competition because all of M$ applications can be manipulated and tied together to create a custom solution via VB or JavaScript with the SAME interfacing technology. That and 3D for that 3-D solution is already up Microsoft’s sleeve with their acquisition of Caligari. Google earth is gonna have a serious running and Adobe Director’s 3D is basically the same as it was 6 years ago… no shader enhancements, and don’t even get me started on Acrobat 3D. Adobe just can’t pin down the market for 3D correctly –they just know its important.

              Adobe’s implementation of JavaScript in Flash, Director, Photoshop, Dreamweaver etc. are all different and barely similar (except for maybe Flash and Fireworks) but none are supported or have ANY inter-process communication with AIR. Hopefully that will change, but as of yet… nope! Looks like AIR is simply the better solution for Applets/Java Web Start and nothing more…
              • 4. Re: Will Adobe Air beat SIlverlight?
                Steveorevo Level 1
                PS. although I sound like I'm dogging Adobe, I'm not... just being realistic... I wouldn't mind applying for a job there too! :)
                • 5. Re: Will Adobe Air beat SIlverlight?
                  Some good points stated above but here are my 2 cents....

                  While AIR and Silverlight are two separate products I dont see anything stop Microsoft from packing Silverlight into an executable shell that can be used to run desktop apps like AIR can.

                  Adobe does not appear to be very aggressive when it comes on to marketing and seems to lack the vision as to where the RIA market will be going. If they fail to make AIR more than just a framework for running basic web apps then they will lose market share to other competitors. Developers are looking are looking for rich features not just a rich media.
                  • 6. Re: Will Adobe Air beat SIlverlight?
                    RossRitchey Level 4
                    1. I said it before and I'll say it again. AIR and Silverlight are NOT COMPETITORS. I also see nothing to stop M$ from packaging Silverlight into an executable that can be run from the desktop, but they haven't yet, and therefore are not competing with AIR.

                    2. scarrol - you make some very good points. But I have a couple of problems with your statements. 1. Using AIR you have a direct connection between Flash Actionscript and Javascript in ANY of the AIR-centric Adobe softwares. (Flash, Dreamweaver, Flex) You could extend this to Fireworks if you wanted to. Regardless, Javascript is very integrated with Actionscript in all forms, including on the web, and the desktop with AIR. As stated by Adobe throughout the entire AIR beta process, AIR is not intended to compete with the .NET framework, or any M$ desktop-application building products. AIR is intended to pull the Web Developers back down to the desktop, so that we can have the very useful, very good, web RIA's available for use offline as well as online.

                    I do agree that Adobe needs to step it up, and push AIR into the desktop market more fully, also integrating it better with all of their softwares, but for now I am simply happy that I am able to use the knowledge that I have for building Web Applications to build for the desktop.
                    • 7. Re: Will Adobe Air beat SIlverlight?
                      Steveorevo Level 1
                      Hey Rritchey,
                      Please show me how to extend Dreamwaver, Photoshop and the like via AIR! For the life of me I see no way other then through a socket connection to a Java simple web server. The JavaScript in DW is closed and only open via 'C' or through the HTTP API. Hence, the 1980s plugin comment. I wish wish wish it was easier, but alas. No game.

                      Placing a Flash swf file with AIR code in a Dreamweaver extension Is Not Possible, Adobe also forgot to support callbacks in the DW JavaScript engine. So no fsCommand, getURL, or the like for us.

                      When you start DW or Fireworks, you get a "welcome.swf" file that shows the recently opened files, etc. But did Adobe document how it calls back into the JavaScript API? NO! I've talked to several sources and no one knows. MMexecute does exist for a special Modal dialog only in Flash 7 format for DW. But that leaves out AIR.

                      So that about sums it up for any hopes of using AIR to extend or build 'useful', value added resale applications for Adobe with Adobe.
                      But a nice craplet or that 'big' RIA market sure is nice. I can hear the millions of Java Web Start applications starting the migration now... : P
                      • 9. Re: Will Adobe Air beat SIlverlight?
                        RossRitchey Level 4
                        Wow, the skepticism and sarcasm.......

                        Scarrol. You seem to be confused as to what the POINT of AIR is. If you want to extend the functionality of Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Flash, etc... you should look at other methods, including learning the tools that are intended for that type of project (C, C#, VB, .NET, etc)

                        AIR is a framework for building and running RIA's on the desktop. For some of us, that is a great thing. For me, it allows me to build extremely useful internal applications for my company without learning new languages. For example, I recently finished an XML editor software that allows people in my department who have NO computer skills whatsoever to be able to build and edit the XML for our eLearning course content. I also recently finished a reporting tool that allows those same non-computer savvy people to read statistical data stored as course data for said course content. I am currently ramping up the course data to store a lot more information and am looking forward to improving my softwares to give better reports, charts, etc. AIR has been great for me, and I am not building "craplets"
                        • 10. Re: Will Adobe Air beat SIlverlight?
                          Steveorevo Level 1
                          No you are right. I don't mean to degrade or belittle your work. NOT AT ALL! :) The language I agree is great too. I love JavaScript more then I do any other and I have 13 years of C++/VB, etc. Writing extensions to DW and the rest of CS3 just could be made easier. Thats all. I think Adobe is missing out on VAR big time.

                          At anyrate, if not connectivity to their own products I think AIR should at the very least open up connectivity somehow vs. just file I/O and or client only sockets. Right now I have to use Java as a server socket/proxy to do any intercommunication. I also notice people posting about interprocess communication with Office apps and the like (we'll probably start to see alot more of this).

                          Hopefully AIR will start to see the importance of more functionality beyond what can already be done using typical client/server (web browser/web server) technologies. I do see the benefit of burdening the user with an install though. Its definately offers a better look and feel and potential for psuedo-responsive applications in case the client is slow since content is perminately installed on the user's computer.
                          • 11. Re: Will Adobe Air beat SIlverlight?
                            xwisdom Level 1

                            I really want to use AIR mainstream but I'm just very concern about the future of AIR. Is it here for the long run? Will it only be a desktop shell for web applications? Or will it be improved upon to give the developers more powerful functionality.

                            Will AIR disappear within a few years due to strong competition?
                            Will Adobe and AIR become another PlayStation vs XBox , Palm vs PocketPC or Netscape vs IE?

                            What about multi-threading? Will AIR ever allow us to execute multiple threads? I think SilverLight 2.0 supports threading already and think that they have just started a short while ago!

                            The real question is, will Adobe think outside the RIA box and provide developers with a more powerful AIR framework while remaining easy to use?

                            • 12. Re: Will Adobe Air beat SIlverlight?
                              Steveorevo Level 1
                              Hard to say, Macromedia's original Director offered more then AIR from the get go with support for HTML and RTF text, HTTP Network IO, signed digial signatures for extending code, 3D, sound, way more support for multimeda file types, video, applets, standalone windows, irregular shaped windows, cross platform, etc. But marketing of it and its initial runtime size were a real turn off (not even an issue with today's bandwidth).

                              Even to this day the shockwave plug-in is a burden asking users to install Google Toolbars, Yahoo Toolbars, etc. a similar restrictive redistribution lic. requirements as AIR.

                              With Adobe continuing Macromedia's faux paw(s), I can only say that M$ will probably win in the long run. Same as free IE vs paying for Netscape (but without *as much* of the Netscape self centered attitudes). Although there is plenty of money to be made if they opened up... it is highly unlikely.

                              Even the future of Flash is a debate as Silverlight takes hold. The initial sucess of Flash, again, was when then San Diego, CA based FutureSplash distributed it for free and with a seemless install without cumbersome adware, only later to be aquired by Macromedia for a mere million or so dollars. The only tradition that Macradobe has continued. But will it be enough?
                              • 13. Re: Will Adobe Air beat SIlverlight?
                                KPE3000 Level 1
                                I'm looking for some examples of Silverligth 2.0 in order to make an opinion on some of these questions. Anyone who have some links they want to share?

                                First example of 2.0 I've seen:
                                http://www.silverlight.net has a link for an "exicting" demo of Silverlight 2.0 made by Infragistics ( http://www.infragistics.com/hot/silverlight.aspx). Beeing used to AIR/Flex I'm not easily impressed by a couple of animating elements, and I'm not sure the map has anything to do with Silverligth at all.

                                I haven't looked into the 2.0 code samples yet. After seeing some of the Silverlight 1.0 examples I quickly lost my interest (as it didn't look pretty).

                                Anyway, the beauty of AIR/Flex is not in the details - it's the complete homogenous package that is brilliant. This is where Adobe has a huge advantage. There's very short time from ideas to results, compared to all the other technologies I've worked with on the UI side.

                                Your request is a little contradicting. Threads are usually not going to improve simplicity (ease of use). While I was also thinking the same thoughts, it's actually starting to make sense why they are not included in Flex. I would expect something simpler from the AIR/Flex team than the "genuine" thread models (with locking and everything). In order to simplify thing like this, they will probably need some time...
                                It's 10 times harder to simplify things than it is to complicate them.
                                • 14. Re: Will Adobe Air beat SIlverlight?
                                  I have to say I hope silverlight comes up i'm sure if not now later you will be able to use silverlight in a windows application. One thing about air that is geting on my nerv is the fact that it is a desktop app with sockets but not a socket you can listen on. I'm sure this is to keep us all on proprietary products like media server.If silverlight does what I think it will it will force adobe to open up to more diverse protocols and normal operations of a desktop application.Having to route data through media server is a waste of bandwidth at a higher cost the the person who has to pay for the bandwidth along with the server software and hardware when a p2p would work perfect and cost next to nothing. I'm sure that doesn't sound like a good idea to Adobe...
                                  • 15. Re: Will Adobe Air beat SIlverlight?
                                    RossRitchey Level 4
                                    I do agree, that it would be nice to see AIR open up and have more and better functionality that is closer to that of a desktop application. The thing is, AIR is already doing things that silverlight cannot, even with silverlight implemented in .NET. AIR is simplified cross-platform, something that Micro$oft has been trying to do for years without success. I think that silverlight is a great thing, and, if it takes off, even a little bit, it will get Adobe to reevaluate the flashplayer and AIR frameworks and security models. The initial problem is that Micro$oft is really bad at writing code that is secure. Insanely bad. I see no future in much of silverlights functionality, because it is not secure. Adobe has spent years of development and research in making a security model for the flashplayer that is secure, and is just beginning to work in the desktop realm with AIR. AIR only has one direction to go, and that is bigger, and better. More functionality, more classes, etc.

                                    I still hold to the statement that "Will AIR beat silverlight?" is not accurate. It would be better to word that question "Will silverlight beat Flashplayer?" considering that is the main competition in question. Also, silverlight is the challenger, not the champion, only squeaking onto the map with a quick 2.0 release.

                                    Also, forum administrator, I vote that this thread gets shut down, considering it has NO relevance whatsoever to the forum it is in.
                                    • 16. Re: Will Adobe Air beat SIlverlight?
                                      Overseere Level 1
                                      I happen to know Clear Channel Radio is moving to Silverlight cause flash doesn't support the streaming protocol they use. It's a lil hard to sell ideas you have in flash/air if AIR is not going to be flexible. To only promote proprietary products or to say we want it to work on all OS is lame. If I want it to work on all OS I will use media server if not give me the choice to use "media player/MMS/other protocols" if I choose. Let me have the option or like Clear Channel Radio you leave no option.
                                      • 17. Re: Will Adobe Air beat SIlverlight?
                                        xwisdom Level 1
                                        Yeah, I thought about the idea of AIR playing with other systems but it seems like adobe will not be focusing on integration with other systems just yet if they ever will. The push IMO is for them to promote their own products and that's what all businesses do. It's the same thing Microsoft will be doing. They will not allow Silverlight to play .flv or other competing formats.

                                        What really bothers me about AIR is that I don't feel the full backing of Adobe behind this product. I don't feel the push for a unified community. Right now this forum does not feel like other forums at all. For a designer company I thought things would have been much different but it just does not feeling that way.