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Adobe AIR Tour, Stop One .:. kentbrewster.com

Just back from the first stop on the Adobe AIR Bus Tour; here are some quick impressions:

Big Red Bus

In addition to seamless integration with Flash, AIR is very easy for HTML developers to use and understand. You write an XML wrapper around your HTML source, your HTML brings in your CSS and JavaScript, AIR brings everything up in WebKit, and it's running, just like that. I've got a tiny proof-of-concept on my personal site; it's a stand-alone Yahoo! search widget that weighs in at a whopping 4642 bytes. More sample applications are coming online in a steady stream; check out Tweetr, Pownce, and Jack Slocum's ExtJS. Community sites are also popping up; see AIRApps.net, the Adobe Labs Showcase, and the AIR Applications Wiki, for example.

The bus-tour concept is outstanding. They've taken a luxury motor coach, shrink-wrapped it in bright Adobe red, and filled it with everything a hard-working nerd needs--sketchy bandwidth, Guitar Hero, heavily-caffeinated beverages, and sixteen tons of O'Reilly books--to code on the fly. (Remember that scene in Buckaroo Banzai when the Hong Kong Cavaliers pull up? It's sort of like that.)

Oh, and yes, the bus has an API. Feeds include goodies like geolocation, events, videos, weblogs, and Twitter, and they're adding to it constantly. Mike, Kevin, and Daniel are all nice, approachable guys with clear technical expertise, and many of the examples they show are hosted on their own sites. This is a pretty good sign that the outfit you're dealing with "gets" technology evangelism: they're not afraid to allow their people to build their own personal brands.

Tour dates are online; if the Big Red Bus is coming to your town, check it out!

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