Users Deploy on Adobe AIR

NASDAQ, AOL and The New York Times are among the companies outlining their use of the Adobe software.

SAN FRANCISCO - With the release of Adobe's Adobe Integrated Runtime, the company is highlighting several well-known enterprises that have opted to use the technology to deploy rich Internet applications.

At its Adobe Engage event here Feb. 25, representatives from NASDAQ, AOL and the New York Times will be on hand to demonstrate how their organizations are using the Adobe AIR runtime. Adobe AIR is a cross-operating system runtime that lets developers combine HTML, Ajax, Flash and Flex to deploy RIAs to the desktop. Meanwhile, Adobe Flex is a cross-platform, open-source framework for creating RIAs. Adobe Flex 3 is a complete application development solution for creating and delivering cross-platform RIAs within the enterprise, across the Web and on the desktop.

The NASDAQ Instant Market Replay application is built on Adobe AIR and gives users instant insight into all trading activity in the market at any time during the day. For example, users can query when a stock trade happened and view the data as if they were watching the market in real time. The application gives professional traders and brokers a tool to verify whether their transaction pricing was the best available. The application also enables regulators to better enforce industry compliance by easily receiving, visualizing and analyzing precise data, Adobe officials said.

AOL developed a Top 100 Music Videos application on top of Adobe AIR. The application gives users the ability to browse and play the top 100 music videos from AOL Music, search for more artists and view related artist content. The software also takes advantage of local system resources enabling features such as integrated bookmarking, personalization and sharing, Adobe officials said.

For its part, The New York Times Co. is launching the beta of ShifD, a new RIA developed with Asynchronous JavaScript and AIR. ShifD provides a seamless transition for users sharing content between computers and mobile devices. ShifD solves the problem of moving data between a desktop and mobile environment when users change devices, giving people an easier way to consume media on the go. The New York Times is also developing a sophisticated blog reader on Adobe AIR, the company said.

Robert Blatt, vice president and general manager of AOL's personal media products, said AOL chose Adobe AIR and Flex because "consumers want the immediacy and connectivity of a Web application with the richness and usability of a desktop application. For AOL's Personal Media applications, this challenge is compounded by the fact that consumers' assets - photos, videos, music and other files - start on their PC and need to be moved to the Internet in order to be easily and safely stored or shared."

Blatt said Adobe's Flex and AIR technology solve both issues his company faces. "These technologies provide tremendous user interface and visual presentation capabilities," he said. "With the newly released user interface for Xdrive, we are giving consumers the benefits of an online Web service that possesses the richness and ease of use of a desktop application. Adobe's AIR technology allows Xdrive to directly access consumers' desktop devices and file systems, bringing the desktop computer directly into the application, and erasing the divide between online storage and desktop storage."

Meanwhile, Claude Courbois, associate vice president of market data distribution for the NASDAQ, told eWEEK that "AIR supports more robust data processing on the client side than we could have achieved in a browser. This made it possible for us to share the workload of creating a replay and other analysis with the user's desktop. It greatly reduced the amount of work we needed to do on the server side. In fact, we stage our data as simple flat files on Amazon S3. No need for a database or complicated server software."

Courbois also said that "AIR enables us to begin our application user interface with standard Flex 3 components. We made modifications to those components for our particular application, but it helped to start with tools that were already available and tested."

The components NASDAQ built can now be shared across Web properties, "enabling us to share the maintenance cost of the application components across multiple products," he said. "We also like the fact that our application continues to operate if the user gets disconnected from the Internet or if their connection slows down. They can continue analyzing a market event because all the analysis and visualization is occurring on the user's machine."

Michael Zimbalist, vice president of research and development operations at The New York Times Co., said the premise of ShifD is that a user can seamlessly shift content from one Web-enabled device to another. While at the desktop, users drop content, including notes or to-do lists, recipes, books, places and links to read later into the application accessible on another computer or their mobile phone. When a user is away from his or her computer, he can add content to his ShifD account by sending an SMS to a ShifD shortcode or through the mobile ShifD page.

For the beta launch of ShifD, users can add and save content through ShifD in three categories: Notes, to save everything from grocery lists to the book titles; Links, such as links to news articles or links to sites from around the Web to be viewed later; and Places, including addresses with corresponding maps, the company said.