Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Flex/AIR and "Form Factor"

I found a very well-written article from InsideRIA discussing Flex, AIR, problems, solutions, challenges, etc. I highly recommend checking it out.


Here's an excerpt:

"For many years web browsers have struggled to provide proper support for standards defined by the W3C. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape, etc all had quirks that made it so developers often had to introduce browser specific code to achieve consistency. This problem inflated the amount of work designers and developers had to do to make something work. They had to maintain browser specific code that could often double the size and complexity of the project

The Flash Player emerged from this struggle as a runtime that offered full consistency along with very advanced capability. Consistency was never sacrificed for capability by the Flash Player team though, and that turned out to be the key to why the Flash Player is so successful. No forking.

So at the end of the day, the Flash Player allowed developers to "write once, run anywhere" on the web.

Cross-Platform software development on the desktop has always been a daunting task. Operating Systems offer much more capability to an application than a web browser offers a web application. Operating Systems for the most part have not been developed against any standards like web browsers have. Vendors tend to achieve consensus by copying each other and as a result of the process of natural selection, standards tend to emerge over time.

AIR is truly amazing because not only does it abstract all the dominant operating systems to developers, it also takes web standards to them as a model for development. While AIR's capabilities are still a little limited at this time, it is poised to offer a true "write once, run anywhere" for applications running on the desktop.

Write once, run anywhere is a serious reason to adopt a software development toolset and runtime. It means that one version of the software will be written, and maintained. Awesome!.."

Go to the full article

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