Some weeks ago I've spoken about clean code and speed coding, that tried to allude to the fact of how writing code that is clean helps you write code quicker and better. Everything focused around Twitulater and how well its development was going, but today I'd like to give mention of another very important reason development is going so well. Adobe AIR.
Personally the biggest problem I've ever had with desktop development was building the GUI's; since I'm not an IDE kind of guy my life is really made miserable by having to add all the event listeners, positioning items etc. In Adobe AIR I just do it the way I'm used to.
Ever developed a really cool application for Linux and then wanted to have it run on Windows? Or maybe you're a windows kind of guy, but your public is suddenly starting to switch to better platforms? What do you do?
Well up until now you had to build from scratch, or worse, take great pains in porting your software over to another platform. But Adobe AIR theoretically deals away with all of this. Since all the porting pains are done for you by Adobe so all you have to do is develop your application on a system and there is a big chance it will run everywhere. Sure there might be some issues with certain features, but those can be quickly amended.
Users in general are quite fond of Adobe AIR and prefer installing apps that run on Adobe AIR than native applications. This is because running a native application always poses a certain level of risk, if you don't trust the issuer then they could be doing pretty much anything to your system or maybe they're installing a bunch of crap alongside their app. So for small-time developers it's much better to work under an umbrella system like AIR.
What this does to users is they can be certain the application won't mess with them too much and most of all it's easy. Most Adobe AIR applications can be installed automatically right from the browser where the download and installer running are completely transparent to the user. Another reason I believe users prefer AIR to native applications is that most small-time applications look like crap whereas with AIR nearly everything has a decent look to it.
Because users love Adobe AIR so much and because there are already so many applications developed for it there is a large target audience for these kind of applications. People want and need a whole bunch of small, quick and painless applications which would be too cumbersome to use if they were native. Think widgets and dashboards and that Vista thing. Why are all of these popular? They enable a simple way of displaying critical information without anything cluttering up the user experience or their taskbar or whatever.
AIR fills that niche rather nicely, so if you have something of the kind to develop then there's a big chance your users will already have AIR installed and won't think twice about installing yet another such application or they will be lured into the AIR world by its simplicity. Even before I started working on Twitulater I asked my followers if they'd prefer it to be native or AIR and the response was resoundly in favour of AIR.
So there you have it, five reasons you, as a developer, should use Adobe AIR. Join me in a few days when I will try to find five reasons why not to use it, because every coin has three sides.
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