Most Flash/Flex developers are by now pretty familiar with the Adobe Air platform. And maybe its a case of “when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail” syndrome, but suddenly the browser doesn’t seem to be enough for the kind of apps I would like to build. The realization couldn’t have come at a better time with so many new cool platforms to play with, and if big company adoption is any measure of the merit of an idea, then web apps that live beyond the browser is the way of the future.
Today a couple of interesting news items came to my attention.
1) Myspace integrated Google Gears into their messaging platform.
This makes Myspace the biggest Gears adopter and with the audience the size of Myspace, the platform has suddenly become relevant again.
For the uninitiated, here is the Gears announcement video from a while back
I use Google Gears (or Gears as apparently it has been renamed today at the Google I/O conference) for Google Reader, but it always surprised me that even GMail hadn’t adopted it. Based on what I read on Techcrunch, MySpace’s main justification was to reduce the load on their servers for pagination and sorting. While they haven’t enabled offline functionality a-la Google Reader, I am sure they will at some time.
This move, while obviously great for MySpace, also is a huge boon to people looking to create OpenSocial applications that would live on MySpace. They can, if not completely depend on, at least use it to lighten the load on their own servers. And these applications living on a different OpenSocial containers may prompt more non-MySpace audience to download Gears.
2) Yahoo launches BrowserPlus
Gears and BrowserPlus are awesome, and there are other technologies that look really interesting. One of these is JavaFX, Java’s stab at a client-side runtime very similar to Flash. The Java Virtual Machine (Java’s equivalent to the Flash Player), is a lot more powerful than the Flash Player itself, although I am not sure how much of that functionality will be enabled from JFX, it still could be an interesting technology to watch, especially after you see the kind of interaction they are hoping to enable (even if the demo below crashes repeatedly)