Adobe has created a new development platform for developers called Adobe Air that allows you to use small applications independent of your web browser.
So why is this important or useful for the everyday computer user?
Well, when you take an app, say Facebook, and run it from Adobe Air, it is totally independent of the chosen web browser. If Facebook crashes or if another tab on the web browser crashes, you don’t have to restart everything.
I discovered Adobe Air when I went to a local DFW Adobe User Group meeting. They kept talking about Air this and Air that, so finally I asked what in the world Adobe Air was.
The explanation I got was that Adobe Air was the ability to take applications on a trip of their own and let them do things by themselves. This sounded kinda cryptic to me, so they said to just go to the Adobe site and check it out for myself.
So when I got home I did and discovered I had already installed Adobe Air when I had installed an app I tried out for Twitter called Twhirl, that lets you run Twitter in its’ own little window and that would let you do a lot more with Twitter than you could through the web browser with the app.
On a Mac, how is it different from using an app in Dashboard?
The important things here are that the apps can run on different types of computers, unlike Dashboard apps. So, if by chance you use a PC at work and a Mac at home, the Adobe Air app would be the same on both machines – platform independent.
So how do I use Adobe Air apps in a real world situation?
First off, it is not the best solution for every task. Some tasks are still better off done in a web browser, like using Gmail. I spent a bit of time going through the available (tons) apps and paring the ones I use down to just 23 apps. Of those, I only use a few on a regular basis.
I use Adobe Air apps for things like using a stopwatch to time certain client events like a client phone call. It’s a real small quick app that does just that, but does it well. Some other apps I use on a regular basis…
Facedesk (for Facebook)
Flickr Desktop Search
Analytics Reporting Suite (Google Analytics – very slick interface)
Snippage (Allows you to make your own apps from the web browser)
RoadFinder (Does both Google Maps and Yahoo Maps at once)
Pixus (Measures screen pixels – great for Web Designers)
HTML Scout (Has all sorts of Web Design helper stuff to inspect pages)
Scoop (RSS reader that can sync with Google Reader – just installed and testing)
All of these apps can be found by going to the Adobe Air Marketplace and searching for your next favorite application. Did I mention that all this is FREE!
Anyone wanna share information on what their favorite Air apps are?