4 October 2010
In short, RIAs help people. RIAs enable users to break away from a technology that ties them to a specific implementation and give them the freedom to experience the same functionality on almost any platform in the way that is most comfortable for them. The applications I highlight in this article do exactly that. From a music player that lives online and an application that dramatically cuts development time for Adobe AIR applications, to a tool that enables users in the same organization to collaborate on best practices for project workflows, these examples show how powerful applications can be deployed in a cross-platform manner to virtually any user on the Internet.
Grooveshark is a music sharing and recommendation service that is built on the Adobe Flash Platform. This application has an amazing amount of functionality for an ad-supported site. It offers radio stations you can listen to, recommendations for songs you might like, the ability to search and play songs you have uploaded, as well as purchase options for the songs you are listening to.
One of the most impressive things about Grooveshark is that it can quickly and efficiently handle a large amount of data. You can search for a song from a huge library of music, and the results come up quickly. In addition, the user interface organizes all this data in such a logical way that you can quickly navigate back and forth between search results as well as songs that have been recently played.
Grooveshark is available to use today in both a free (ad supported) and paid version.
Adobe AIR Launchpad
Technology: Flex, Adobe AIR
Adobe AIR Launchpad is a great application that makes it even easier to create your own rich Internet applications. One of the hardest things for many developers who are trying to get into AIR application development is learning how to work with new APIs that they haven’t previously worked with. The APIs include embedded database and drag-and-drop file interaction, as well as detecting window close events and many others. AIR Launchpad from Adobe helps developers get over this initial hurdle and just get some code that works.
The tool walks you through a series of questions about the application you want to create. At the end of this process, you are presented with a file that can be imported into Adobe Flash Builder with the needed code to get your application started. This takes the hassle out of the boilerplate code associated with an AIR application such as the application configuration file and needed hooks into native APIs. In addition, if you request it, the application can also contain sample code that shows you how to integrate with many of the AIR specific APIs.
AIR Launchpad is in beta and is available to download and use from Adobe Labs.
Technology: Flex, Adobe AIR
Adobe WorkflowLab is a great new tool that enables individuals and organizations to track a project through its phases or to outline a best practice workflow for an activity. For each task in the workflow, you can assign resources, add links, and add annotations to clearly delineate the responsibilities of that item. In addition, items in the workflow can be grouped into categories (such as design, development, and testing).
As with many RIAs, this application is particularly helpful with collaboration. Workflows can be saved and sent to other individuals. In addition, they can also be shared online where users can collaborate on a single workflow. Finally, once the workflow is complete, it can be printed and distributed across an entire team.
Adobe WorkflowLab is in beta and is available to download and use today.
These applications demonstrate the power of cross-platform development and deployment. While some people claim that native development on each platform is the best approach, these applications show how a single application can bring a consistent user interface and experience across machines that run PC, Mac or Linux operating systems. This power helps enable you to stay a step ahead of your competition by building on the solution that makes it easier to get to market. And with new tools like the one code named Melrose from Adobe, monetizing these applications is easier than ever.