TechCrunch ran an article on 26th February titled ‘Adobe AIR Vs Microsoft Silverlight: It?s All About Numbers‘ which kind of compared them both as being quite similar, but it struck me that it’s really not a fair comparison.
There’s a big difference between AIR and Silverlight at the moment. It’s fair to say Microsoft will push Silverlight forwards quickly but there’s no fair comparison between them just now, it’s far closer to compare Flash and Silverlight for the time being as AIR features a lot more than Silverlight.
Flash and PDF have huge market share and AIR brings those plus regular HTML/CSS/JS web development into one runtime as well making easy cross-platform offline / online application development.
Competition = good
It’s certainly good that there’s some competition in the market but AIR’s incorporation of various open source projects such as Webkit as well as the fact that Adobe have open sourced a lot of their own code such as Flex and Flash Player code will hold a lot of mindshare of developers. While AIR is not 100% open source it’s certainly a lot more attractive on several levels, not least being able to create Apps whether you’re used to HTML/JS, Flash or Flex.
Competition is good, and the fact the MS are developing web development apps to challenge Dreamweaver is a good thing. Dreamweaver is a great program but it needs to keep progressing to provide the tools that developers need.
One aspect that Dreamweaver (Adobe / Macromedia) has done a good job with is support for multiple server platforms such as their own ColdFusion but also PHP and JSP development. I’m not sure we’ll see any of Microsoft’s ‘Expression’ development apps support PHP and JSP any time soon! This multiple server platform support is something Adobe need to keep supporting as it’s definitely one thing that will separate their tools from Microsoft’s offerings.