onAIR London: packed venue and a great day

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OnAIR tour logoI attended Adobe’s onAIR event in London yesterday, and I’m pleased to report that it was a great day; well worth attending. Andrew Shorten, a Platform Evangelist at Adobe, provided the keynote (more of an introduction to what the day would bring) and generally organised the day. So many thanks to him for doing such a good job (though I didn’t win any of the prizes he gave away, so I won’t thank him too much ;))

The event covered creating AIR applications using Flash/ Flex and HTML/ JavaScript, security considerations, the APIs that provide access to the local file system and let you control window styles (chrome as the presenters called it) etc and rounded off with some amusing demonstrations from Lee Brimelow.

I met up with a good friend of mine, Laurence Barry, who had a moment of Flickr fame when he appeared in the centre of the “London venue is packed” photo. I’ve enhanced the image below to extend his moment of vague fame for a another day or so:

I missed out on the glory due to someone in the foreground blocking me, so have added a subtle blue arrow to show where I am in the picture.

Currently AIR applications install and run on Windows PCs and Macs. A version for Linux is in the pipeline., though no release date was offered. As ever, the Adobe employees refused to speculate on when/ if AIR might appear on other platforms.

Laurence raised a very good point regarding AIR though, that I hadn’t really thought about: what actually is it for? To explain: once people were happy with desktop applications. Then the web came along with its Ajax and Flash features and Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) became the rage. Yet almost as soon as RIA technologies take off, here is Adobe offering a product that enables those RIAs to be turned back into desktop applications. So why not just build a desktop application, using .NET/Mono, Java etc, rather than using technologies that were never really designed for application development?