Adobe Air?

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Nubsy
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Adobe Air?

Postby Nubsy » Thu May 26, 2011 10:53 am UTC

Hi all,

I'm working on a project that was originally going to be web based, but then I remembered about Adobe AIR, and decided to give it ago. So in trying to read up on it, it seems like almost everything about it is 2007/2008 or so, with not too much more recently. Is it dead? Kind of dead? Wikipedia shows that the latest release was fairly recently, so I find it kind of strange that there's no recent information on it.

Also, it seems like all I can find is "X AIR Applications You Should Use" instead of actual information. (That's annoying)

So, I suppose the question is, should I just keep what I have web-based or is it worth it to take the code I have and do the little bit of editing it needs to become an AIR app?

Thanks! :)
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Re: Adobe Air?

Postby Parsifal » Fri May 27, 2011 10:51 am UTC

Speaking as a professional web developer, I would use an html 5 / CSS3 / Javascript solution if possible, or an HTML 4 Javascript framework if not, or even Swing/Webstart if I really need a heavyweight (I hate the word rich) client. I can see where there would have been a need around 2007/2008 for an API to rapidly port Flex applications to the desktop, but I wouldn't use Flex or AIR at this point.

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Re: Adobe Air?

Postby akashra » Sat May 28, 2011 11:47 am UTC

I spent six years full time working on Flex and AIR projects, and now, after I've left some of these companies, they seem to be ditching their AIR/Flex versions and moving to other platforms. I'm seeing this in other companies too - I'm not really sure why, but it seems largely to be because of the volatility of the framework - in two years they've gone from 2.x to 4.x with major changes. That's enough to piss off any developer when you've got to keep fixing your applications.

Personally I think the major thing it has going for it is MXML/Declarative form designing, but not much else.
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Steax
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Re: Adobe Air?

Postby Steax » Sat May 28, 2011 12:54 pm UTC

As another developer here, I'll go with jQuery whenever I need any sort of flashy interactivity, or ExtJS whenever a client demands a really "native-UI-like-experience" (they tend to have reasons like "it's easier for people to learn"). I've simply given up with all the other stuff, which just tend to come and go. The great thing about stuff like these javascript libraries is that they're built to solve a problem from day #1. They're not just made for "rich media on the web" or stuff like that.

You can use HTML 5 offline capabilities if you need something that works without an internet connection. All the big browsers (except you-know-which) support it, so you're pretty safe.
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Nubsy
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Re: Adobe Air?

Postby Nubsy » Sat May 28, 2011 6:56 pm UTC

I definitely hear what you are all saying, I had a feeling AIR may not be the way to go. I just want to clarify my situation a bit more, I feel I left out some details that may be important in suggestions.

I'm studying comp sci at uni, and I work in a lab environment (really not my thing, lol). A co-worker and I had an idea for a program/application that would be used in a lab environment that we could hopefully sell to other labs. While I am in comp sci, I'm more interested in web programming/coding rather than languages like C++ (not a fan of C++ at all). So, our plan was to go the website root. The problem I see is that if something were to happen, and I couldn't maintain the site any more, the users would be out of luck. That's really why an AIR app sounded so good, with the sqlite integrated, all their data would be local, and if we ever needed to end the project, the users would still have whatever they had. I could go HTML5, which I would like to, but it would force users to have to upgrade their browsers. While that sounds normal to us, to "not-computer-people", that could be a problem. I'm going to look at ExtJS and see what comes of that because "it's easier for people to learn" sounds like it could be our client-base. Any other suggestions of frameworks or something would be fantastic, as well.


Thanks again.
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Steax
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Re: Adobe Air?

Postby Steax » Sun May 29, 2011 2:42 am UTC

The problem with an AIR app (or stuff like it) is that you'll force people to install AIR, or at least go through the rather strange process of installing an AIR package (not quite as easy as opening a zip file, not quite installing an application, it's a bit weird). I think most computer users nowadays have one of the required browsers for HTML 5 offline functions, or someone could easily walk them through it.

I understand your concerns on the users-get-a-local-copy part, though. Could you be a bit more specific on what data you're working with, and why you wanted it to be an internet-based app when you want users to have local data?
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Nubsy
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Re: Adobe Air?

Postby Nubsy » Sun May 29, 2011 3:16 am UTC

So, without saying too much about it, its an organization app for labs that have plates of samples. So, they would be storing the freezer and shelf location of plates, or however it applies to their lab. Its nothing classified nor would it mean much to anyone outside of each lab, but I could definitely understand users wanting this data locally if possible. The reason I want it to be internet based is because I happen to enjoy web programming/coding. I dunno, I figured if I was going to do this project, I should do it in a way I like.
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Pepve
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Re: Adobe Air?

Postby Pepve » Sun May 29, 2011 12:17 pm UTC

Ha, you're building a LIMS.

Did you ask your users about their data concerns? Why not put it on the web and sell accounts?

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Re: Adobe Air?

Postby Steax » Sun May 29, 2011 1:15 pm UTC

I think storing data on a server is okay for that purpose. Also, since it's a lab, the possibility of stuff getting damaged is high, and the data is relatively critical (don't want a power failure to corrupt a week's of data). Most labs also have good internet connections by nature.

To summarize, I think you have two options.

1. Make things web-based and run them from a server you can maintain. You have a lot of control over security, reliability, data integrity and upgrading your application. Using it is easy and accessible from all platforms and all that jazz. On the flipside, your users can only export data, but no "permanent" way to keep an offline copy of all your features (short of making your code open-source).

2. Make it offline. Your users can use the application wherever and whenever they want, and they fully control their data.


One reason I love using things online is that you're practically taking responsibility over integrity of the application. I can use it from a laptop, and let acid spill on it, a rampaging elephant stomp all over it, drop it from orbit, and let a comet crash into it, and I can just flip open a new device and there's my data. Another reason is you instantly cater for a bunch of devices and operating systems in one swoop (you need to do testing, but most non-fancy things will work off the bat). Your users also can't mess up your app, there's no hard installation process, and moving the app between computers is easy. You also get the ability to update, upgrade, debug, and offer user help, all online, without having to push users to update and whatever.

The tradeoff is the required internet connection, and lack of data portability. You also need to maintain your server and its security and everything.

You can decide from here.
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Nubsy
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Re: Adobe Air?

Postby Nubsy » Sun May 29, 2011 8:50 pm UTC

Pepve: Yes, a LIMS. haha

We don't have customers yet, because we're still in production and working out details, but that was the original plan (and what I think we'll stick with) online and sell registration codes.

Steax: I think we will stick with online. That was my original thing is that I was in 100% control, which I like, it's just that with the web, the future becomes uncertain. Say in 5 or 6 years, we have a handful of customers who paid XXXX amount of dollars to use this system. We'll still need to pay for hosting and stuff for them even if we are no longer collecting new customers, it will get expensive. I mean, we're also in business to make money, as well. This is something for us to figure out ourselves, but still a concern. OK. Staying online it is! I think I'm going to focus on HTML5 though, instead of HTML4. Users can upgrade their browsers and experience the future. lol


Thank you for all the advice everyone, I really appreciate some outside thoughts. :)
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Re: Adobe Air?

Postby akashra » Mon May 30, 2011 10:34 am UTC

I would like to add, however, that I do believe AIR to be a good tool for teaching students, particularly multimedia students, and introduction to declarative UI design.
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