We need daily builds of AIR

We are on the verge of the the most interesting year in technology – most likely since ’98 when the Internet revolution and browser war and moving to 3-tier changed landscape of the modern computing. The year 2011 will show even more drastic departure from the today’s technologies as we know it. Tablets and phones are getting to the tipping point to replace desktops and most of laptops today – replacing the way we acquire and use information along the way. Using voice, geolocation and gestures instead of typing and clicking changes the usability/UI and brings a different type of users/applications to the game.

Adobe can become THE leading force in this transformation. However, I think a major problem needs to be eliminated from the developers life to make them accept the platform – it’s the release policy. Traditional release policy won’t work even though Adobe is releasing AIR more often than in the past. However, with multitude of the devices coming out daily Adobe needs to offer daily builds and the bugs database in order to stay afloat.

AIR and Flash are VMs and they shield most of the new platform features. They have to be available to the developers as soon as they are available – not a second later – to stay competitive to native platforms. Getting the new AIR run-time via the Market application is way too late!

Developers need to start working on the new features months in advance before the public release – the new run-time has to come with new applications for the consumers. Emulators are nice when the development schedule is planned for years to come, but not for the golden rush scenario we are in now.

Essentially we need much faster way to get DEVICE SPECIFIC APKs for testing as soon as Adobe engineers compile it or at least the daily builds. Rather than finishing Android pre-release program they have to extend it to the labs.adobe.com the same way Flex framework is published so developers can see unreleased builds and verify them with their software/build upon them. Market is a nice idea for consumers but Adobe can be sure that anyone serious about Androis development has rooted devices and can install APKs any way they need to.

It takes months to go from prototype to development/sales cycle to the actual release for any tablet application. Starting late is not an option, but rather a  major problem for AIR on mobile devices.

Anatole Tartakovsky

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