Monday, July 16, 2007

web-three-point-oh dept.

Here's a potentially high-profile site that claims to use Adobe AIR extensively: Pownce seems suspiciously like a web-based IM system. Does the world need another Instant Messenger, you might ask? So did I, but perhaps the delivery and usage model is novel, so I have queued up for an account.

Pownce, incidentally, was started by Kevin Rose (current age: 30 years), founder of digg, Internet tech celebrity podcaster and entrepreneur.

AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) is an interesting piece of technology that should go head-to-head against Micro$oft's recently announced Silverlight technology. These 'integrated runtime' APIs are really the generation-next of AJAX, one step above the Google Web Toolkit and (not too sure about this) Google Gears. Essentially, they provide a language independent API for generating animation and other rich content objects that was the previous domain of Flash.

It seems that, in the coming years, all applications, in one form or the other, will be built as "webapps". That is, they could be either desktop or browser based, but they will have a significant Internet-based component. Naturally, webapp developers should be increasingly drawn towards these technologies that provide easier development models and hide the nittygritties of asynchronous application design for the Internet.

Both offerings differ a little in approach though. The AIR philosophy seems to be to let developers use existing web technology like Flash etc. to build browser-independent desktop web applications that can also provide offline storage capability. Silverlight, on the other hand, leverages .NET runtime technology to allow developers to build browser plugins that are more integrated with the host OS and that provide richer offline functionality.

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