Adobe AIR Shifts Apps From Web To Desktop

Adobe Systems on Monday released Adobe Integrated Runtime, a software tool that allows users to seamlessly interact with interactive content even when they aren’t connected to the Internet.

Adobe Air’s runtime environment allows developers with access to API (application programming interface) kits from companies to create customized versions of the Web experience — without the browser. Developers with Flash and HTML abilities can take the information structures of a Web site and create an application that users can download to their desktop, which would then operate just like any other desktop application.

This would allow — among other actions — users to drag and drop information from any Web site onto their desktop.

Several companies, including eBay and the the New York Times Co., have already released applications with Air. The Times, for example, unveiled ShifD, which helps readers move content between computers and mobile devices using Ajax (asynchronous Java and XML) technologies.

“ShifD solves the problem of shifting data between all of a user’s Web-enabled devices,” said Michael Zimbalist, vice president, research and development operations for the New York Times Co. “We see a future for device-independent media, with convergence around the user experience and not around any particular delivery platform, which is why Adobe AIR is an excellent choice for ShifD.”

The Air Environment

Adobe Air — along with Microsoft’s Silverlight — are new tools for developers who want to unbundle information from Web sites. Effectively, it democratizes design by allowing anyone with basic Web development skills to create customizable environments for their favorite sites.

For end users, the browsing experience is then integrated on the desktop, allowing users to store histories, seamlessly update current information which can be accessed even when they are offline and drag and drop information from a Web site directly to the desktop.

Denver based-EffectiveUI created just such an application for eBay, said Lance Christmann, the company’s chief interface designer.

EffectiveUI took various developer kits and updated the entire eBay Web experience, enabling users to customize search and bidding pages, drag and drop items of interest to the desktop and sync information from current bids in real-time using Ajax technologies.

“We overhauled the Ebay experience,” Christmann told TechNewsWorld. “From browsing to bidding for things, we had access — from the ground up — to rework that. Because we could use Flash technologies, we created a live, immersive experience that is directly connected to the Internet. But it’s on the desktop.”

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