"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

a-DOH-bee *doesn't* hurt the web (mostly)

Via Phil Windley, someone (not sure who) continues to get it wrong...

The Web is under attack by proprietary platforms like Air, Silverlight, etc. They have clear and obvious advantages but they have one big disadvantage: their lack of openness. Nick says that we need to accelerate the inclusion of the capabilities of these closed platforms in open standards and browsers. "We need more stuff in the browser faster." Mike says that the competition of Web browsers has led to improvements like Javascript being 10x faster now. Joshua thinks that stories about the threat to the Web are highly overrated. The Web has made great strides over the last few years.
Adobe AIR runs webkit, javascript, etc. just like many other applications. And it has the general ability to connect to HTTP servers, mail servers, XMPP servers, etc. So to claim that "the web is under attack by proprietary platforms like AIR" makes no sense to me.

Sure, AIR is not "a browser" out of the box. That's a good thing. It is an application development platform. Browsers (in the traditional sense) are not good at that.

Clearly the browser implementers are finding ways to become more like AIR, out of necessity. Browsers are not the end of evolution, neither is AIR. They are each points along the way to whatever comes next.

8 comments:

Stefan Tilkov said...

What's the standard UI layer I program when I use Adobe Air? What's the equivalent to HTML and the DOM? What other platforms can I run my Adobe Air application on?

This sounds very proprietary to me.

Patrick Logan said...

"the standard UI layer"

AIR has two choices, on equal footing to each other: flash/flex or html/javascript (rendered using webkit).

You can run on various versions of Windows, on Mac OSX, and on ia32 and 64-bit Linux.

Sounds very open to me.

Stefan Tilkov said...

Maybe I wasn't clear. I'm really not trying to be an ass hear, just interested to be educated. IIUC, I can program an application that uses Air, but it will require the proprietary Air runtime to work. Is this not the case? If so, it's exactly similar to the situation with Java before it was open sourced. Right?

John Dowdell said...

Thanks, Patrick. That closed "open" mindset is a difficult problem....

jd/adobe

Anonymous said...

Just try replacing "Adobe AIR" in your statement with "Microsoft Windows".

Patrick Logan said...

"Just try replacing "Adobe AIR" in your statement with "Microsoft Windows"."

Sure, if you want to go all RMS on me, then AIR might not be open enough for you. It's a heck of a lot more open than Windows or MSFT's Silverton.

Patrick Logan said...

"I can program an application that uses Air, but it will require the proprietary Air runtime to work. Is this not the case? If so, it's exactly similar to the situation with Java before it was open sourced. Right?"

It's more open than the original Java situation, I'd suppose. Many part of AIR are open in terms of APIs, standards, and even source. Some parts are more closed, primarily the core Flash runtime. But Adobe is making good progress toward opening more, using a lot of open source, and contributing back to open source.

Certainly it does not currently "hurt the web" and is well down the open road.

trevor said...

If you are tired of the proprietary platform that Adobe Air and Microsoft Silver Light bind you to, than you should check out Appcelerator Titanium. Appcelerator Titanium is an open source version of those 2.

see it and download it at www.titaniumapp.com and also check out www.appcelerator.org

if you have feedbacks or comments on Titanium App or Appcelerator than post at www.appcelefeedback.blog.com

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.