Adobe today will bolster its "Platform for Rich Internet Apps" with the full release of a trio of developer tools. Each of the tools Adobe is releasing is either free or open source. Along with the boost to Adobe's RIA platform, a number of companies are also announcing applications built on Adobe's cross platform system runtime, AIR.
Perhaps the most significant of Adobe's announcements is that their much-touted desktop runtime for Rich Internet Apps, AIR, is coming out of beta about a year after being announced. The final release will be free on the AIR web site for Mac and Windows (with Linux support promised in "upcoming versions").
Along with AIR, Adobe is also announcing the final release of Flex 3 and the Flex Builder. Flex is an open source framework for building applications on the Adobe Flash and AIR platforms, while Flex Builder is an IDE for Flex. The Flex 3 SDK comes out of beta today and is released under the Mozilla Public License on the Flex web site.
Flex, Flash, and AIR form the cornerstone of Adobe's "Platform for Rich Internet Apps," a complete end-to-end solution for creating and deploying RIAs to the web and desktop. This has been a big year for the RIA platform at Adobe, according to Adrian Ludwig, the group manager in the company's platform and development unit.
Ludwig told us that 2007 was a "real turning point for the industry" and that Adobe saw broad based adoption of their RIA platform. Oracle, for example, is using Flex to create interface elements for applications, while Adobe has worked with BEA to comarket Flex Builder along with BEA's own developer tools. The wide adoption of Adobe's RIA technologies "was confirmation of the value that these types of applications have," said Ludwig.
At DEMO this year, Ludwig told us, there were three companies whose entire business was built on Adobe AIR. Considering AIR debuted just over a year ago itself at DEMO (as Apollo), that is fairly amazing. In just a year, Adobe's runtime has matured enough that entrepreneurs are willing to build entire businesses around it -- even when AIR has been in beta until today. "That, combined with our commitment not just to innovation, but to open source technologies where it makes sense," said Ludwig, "I think that's going to really further innovation and advancements in the RIA space."
Along with the new releases of Flex and AIR, a number of companies are announcing public releases of AIR applications, including Nickelodeon, eBay, AOL, Nasdaq, and the New York Times Company.
Adobe is also releasing the final first version of Blaze DS under the GPL license. Blaze DS was announced two months ago and is a server side remoting and messaging technology that was previously only available as part of the LifeCycle suite of products. We wrote about Blaze DS in December.
The attraction to Adobe's platform makes a lot of sense. They offer an end-to-end solution, and Flex and AIR makes the question of desktop vs. online a deployment decision, and not a development decision. Write the application once in Flex, and deploy to the web or to the desktop with AIR with very few code changes. That sort of flexibility is very attractive to many developers.