With AIR 1.0 out of the door, I have been trying to follow the reactions on the Internet and I have to say that its very exciting to see the response that AIR has received. But, there has also been a lot of confusion among people about what AIR can do and what it cannot. A lot of this is fueled by people like Mozilla & Microsoft sending out confusing signals about AIR. Before I get into the subject of what AIR is and what it is not, I want to say one thing to all who are out there…
Compare Apples to Apples & not to Oranges. AIR and Silverlight are NOT in the same space at all. Silverlight, on the other hand is a product that is trying to do something that Flash has already delivered for the last 10 years.
AIR: Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), is a cross-operating system runtime environment for building rich Internet applications, using Adobe Flash, Adobe Flex, HTML and Ajax, that can be deployed as a desktop application.
The keywords in the above definition are “runtime” & “desktop“. In contrast to this, for Silverlight, wiki says:
Silverlight: Microsoft Silverlight is a browser plugin that allows web applications to be developed with features like animation, vector graphics, and audio-video playback – features that characterize a rich internet application.
Again the definition is built around the keyword “browser plugin“. I hope this contributes to clearing some of the confusion that seems to be reigning in the web space about AIR along with posts like this. I also sincerely hope that the various foundations, corporations & individuals would stop comparing AIR with Silverlight.