Adobe Fires Volley in RIA Contest

The company's AIR and Flex 3 are the latest players in its rich Internet application contest with Microsoft.

SAN FRANCISCO-Adobe Systems is advancing its platform for rich Internet applications with the release of Adobe AIR and Adobe Flex 3 software.

Developers and designers use Adobe's RIA technologies to rapidly create and deploy rich, branded content and applications, according to Adobe officials. The release of Adobe Integrated Runtime signals the next wave of Adobe RIA innovation by bridging the real-time, dynamic capabilities of the Web with the computing power and data capabilities of the desktop, they added.

Adobe will showcase the technology at its Adobe Engage event here Feb. 25. Dubbed as an "annual 'conversation' on the future of applications and the Web," Engage sounds a lot like Microsoft's Mix, which Microsoft also characterizes as a "'conversation' about the future of the Web." Microsoft Mix '08 will be a week after Adobe Engage, March 5-8 in Las Vegas.

Leading enterprises across industries such as entertainment, finance, media and retail, as well as social networking companies, are using Adobe RIA technologies. Deutsche Bank, Nasdaq, the New York Times Co. and others use Adobe's technology for RIAs.

Read more here about those enterprises using Adobe's AIR.

"Adobe has been focused on improving the Web experience and delivering the underlying technologies to produce more interactive and expressive Web sites and applications, and the Adobe technology platform for RIAs hits right at a key need companies have today," IDC analyst Al Hilwa said in a statement.

Adobe also is delivering new applications built with Adobe Flex and deployed on Adobe AIR, such as Adobe Media Player, which is now in beta release. Adobe Media Player is a fusion of TV and the Internet that allows users to watch their favorite shows anytime and anywhere. Adobe also offers Buzzword, an online word processor that has built-in collaboration capabilities.

Adobe AIR, Adobe Flex and the Adobe Flash Player software are the foundation of the Adobe technology platform for RIAs, the company said. Adobe RIA technologies include tools, frameworks, servers, services and run-times that work together seamlessly, enabling the creation of engaging experiences with the greatest reach. Adobe AIR enables developers to create RIAs on the desktop using the skills and Web technologies-such as HTML, AJAX, PDF, Adobe Flash and Adobe Flex-they already employ.

Applications deployed on Adobe AIR have the advantages of browser-based RIAs, such as speed of development, ease of use and access from virtually anywhere. Yet they also have the benefits of desktop applications, such as the ability to read/write local files, work with other applications on a user's computer and maintain local data storage on the desktop, Adobe officials said.

Flex is a free, open-source framework for building RIAs. Adobe Flex Builder 3, an Eclipse-based development tool, accelerates Flex application development and includes new capabilities for deploying RIAs on Adobe AIR. Adobe Flex Builder 3 integrates with Adobe Creative Suite 3 software, making it easy for designers and developers to work together more efficiently. The Adobe Flash Player reaches more than 98 percent of Internet-enabled PCs and hundreds of millions of mobile and set-top devices, the company said.