Web Developers Coming To A Desktop Near You

For the first part of my career I fought against being pigeonholed as a web programmer or web developer. Why? I wanted to build serious applications.. real applications that ran on the desktop and consumed large amounts of resources. Of course, eventually I gave up fighting that battle and migrated towards the web application. That turned out to be a very challenging area which was good enough for me. On my own free time I played with various GUI programming techniques and finally in the past several years I’ve had the opportunity to work on some commercial desktop applications and have actually been exposed to a wide variety of different platforms. What’s my point?

Segregation Is Bad!

My point is that there was once a difference between web developers and desktop developers. Not anymore! That’s right. You heard me. Adobe, the company that started out with a portable document format (the PDF) has grown to be one of the largest web technology innovators during this Web 2.0 era. If you are putting graphics on the web then there is a 90% chance you are using Adobe Photoshop. They acquired Macromedia which included the Flash line of products and also the Cold Fusion server products. Now they are launching the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), previously referred to by its code-name of “Apollo”. It is a cross-operating system runtime that allows web developers to leverage their existing web development skills (such as Flash, Flex, HTML and JavaScript) to build and deploy web applications and content to the desktop.

On AIR Bus Tour

BusAdobe is doing an On AIR Bus Tour across the country to promote the API in front of developers. You can check the website to see if they’ll be stopping in a city near you, read the twitter account entries from the bus tour, see the latest flickr images from the bus tour and they even have a live video feed! Interested in the actual bus? Yeah, they have the bus specs there too. Plus you can see who’s riding on the bus. Why? I have no idea.

Let’s Build Some Apps

If you click on the What is AIR? menu option you will have links to all the nitty gritty that will get you down the road to AIR desktop goodness. First of all you’ll have to install the AIR Runtime environment. Then you can download, install and play with some of the Showcase Applications. There are links to learn building AIR applications with either Javascript and HTML or Adobe Flex. There are also links to Documentation, a Wiki, Forums and a mailing list. Go ahead and get your AIR groove on! You’ll be glad you did when you see the next section.

Coding Contest – Grand Prize Valued $100,000

MoneyShow me the money! To kick things off with a bang Adobe has opened the Adobe AIR Developer Derby. Entries will be judged on innovation, visual design and appeal, usability, and application of Adobe AIR functionality in several different categories. Here are the prizes that are up for grabs:

Grand Prize / Best of Show
The Best of Show winner will receive the trip of a lifetime, a travel certificate valued at up to US$100,000, to be used for the travel of your choice!

Five category winners will each receive “The Ultimate Development Environment” to power your Adobe AIR development (and play) for years to come:

  • A Mac Pro 8Core with 4 gigs ram, 1.5 TB (2x750GB) of storage.
  • (2) Dell 2707WFP 27″ widescreen monitors.
  • (1) one Sony Playstation 3.
  • (1) $200 gift certificate to Amazon.com.
  • (1) Herman Miller Aeron chair.
  • (1) Bose Quiet Comfort 3 noise canceling headphones.
  • (1) copy of Adobe Flexâ„¢ Builderâ„¢ version 3, Macintosh edition.
  • (1) copy of Adobe Creative Suite® 3 Master Collection for Macintosh.
  • And one squishy stress ball.

Plus each winner also receives:

  • A trip and conference pass to the Adobe MAX 2007 annual user conference.
  • Your application showcased on Adobe.com for the world to see.

See You At The Races!

So are you up to the challenge? I know I am! $100,000 vacation… no thanks. I want that Mac Pro and the PS3! Don’t forget the squishy stress ball. 😉