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Building Desktop Applications For The Web With Adobe Integrated Runtime

  • March 18, 2008
  • By Marcia Gulesian
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Click here for a larger image.

Figure 7: Buzzword (the web version)

There are some great Buzzword features. One is real, working what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) document formatting: people can actually view, edit, and then print a document from the web without affecting its formatting. Contrast this with Google Docs and most other online word processors, where text appears differently across web browsers and computer screens—which leads to confusion about how final drafts will appear in print. Buzzword also features in-line notes, where users can leave notes for each other in reference to particular sections of text.

Whether or not Buzzword will be attractive enough to get Microsoft Office users to switch over in great numbers is questionable: The program may end up joining so many other "lite" word processors of the past in the digital dustbin. However, the attractiveness of online document collaboration has not escaped Microsoft, who recently announced its Office Live Workspace as a way of offering online collaboration while still requiring users to hang on to Microsoft Office. With Buzzword, Adobe gets to bolster its own PDF-centered document workflow, as well as promoting its own development frameworks for the next-generation of Web-based applications.

Built on Adobe's Flex development platform (which takes advantage of the ubiquitous Flash player), Buzzword's fonts and typography easily match the fidelity of Microsoft Word.

And, Buzzword is integrated with a new Adobe service called Adobe Share. This is a file-sharing app that is geared towards document sharing. You get one gigabyte of storage free and you can embed a Flash preview of your documents into any web page, from which anyone can download and print a PDF.

With Share you can:

  • Send documents without email attachments.
  • Access your documents from anywhere.
  • View all the documents you have shared or received in one place.
  • Post a link to your document on a wiki or blog.

  • Embed a Flash preview of your document on any web site.
  • Limit access to a document to a list of recipients.



Click here for a larger image.

Figure 8: Assigning a [possibly different] role to the other [distributed] users with whom you share a document.

Note: Google has recently parried AIR's offline option with Google Gears, which allows Web applications to be taken offline, similar to Buzzword.

Conclusion

Because RIAs improve the way people find and manipulate content, complete transactions, and consume multimedia content, these technologies are ideal for improving the user experience for information workers. Moving forward, RIA technologies such as Adobe Flash and Flex, Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), Ajax, the Curl RIA Platform, Laszlo Systems OpenLaszlo and Webtop, Microsoft Silverlight, Nexaweb's Enterprise Web 2.0 Suite, Oracle WebCenter, and Sun JavaFX will be used to augment or may even replace traditional enterprise portals and Microsoft Office as Information Workplaces front ends.

References

About the Author

Marcia Gulesian is an IT strategist, hands-on practitioner, and advocate for business-driven architectures. She has served as software developer, project manager, CTO, and CIO. Marcia is author of well more than 100 feature articles on IT, its economics, and its management.





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