The new version of Voddler released 8th March is using Adobe AIR. I can understand why; for one thing they need the code to run outside the browser to be able to force the user to watch the commercials before the film starts (for those that don’t know, you cannot even Alt-Tab to another window or program while the commercials are showing). Interestingly, it’s like not being able to flick to another TV channel in the commercial break, which no one would tolerate…

But that’s another story and potentially another article. This article is about Adobe AIR and RIA (Rich Internet Applications). According to Adobe’s home page “The Adobe® AIR™ runtime lets developers use proven web technologies to build rich Internet applications that run outside the browser on multiple operating systems”. Fair enough.

However, the problem with Adobe AIR is that not only does the AIR runtime require admin access to install on Windows Vista/7, but all the AIR applications do too. In a locked down client environment this means AIR apps will need to be packaged and deployed like any other fat client-side application. One of the RIA principles and main reasons for enterprises moving to web based apps in the first place is to avoid this costly, complex and old-fashion deployment method.

Not that Voddler is something enterprises will deploy, but presumably Adobe Flex is something they will use to develop RIA – especially to achieve browser- and operating systems independency in a world where you outsource, offshore, acquisition, merge, partner and externalize a lot and have no or little control of the target environments in which your apps will run. I have a feeling many foresee the fact that if Flex apps are developed with dependencies to AIR (rather than just Flash) then you may still end up in a scenario where your RIA apps can’t be used due to locked down client environment.

I raised this with Adobe some time ago, and they did admit AIR does not fit the locked-down corporate environments yet, but that they are working on it. So will be interesting to see what they will do in future releases to address this. And yes, title above is exaggerated.