Initial Impressions of Adobe Durango

Adobe , AIR , Flex , RIAs Add comments

In an earlier entry, I mentioned the announcement at MAX of Durango, a framework for allowing end-users to build AIR applications out of shared components. I took some time last night to check it out, and here's what I learned...

First off, the components that make Durango work are Flex-based, so if you like to create AIR applications using HTML/CSS/JavaScript, it doesn't look like you can make use of Durango.

Durango allows a developer to make the Flex components they build (whether visual or non-visual/service-based in nature) reusable in other AIR applications. The 10-page long PDF file on the Durango page on Adobe Labs explains how to add Durango functionality to components. It also explains how to configure your AIR application such that it can either donate Durango-enabled components, receive Durango-enabled components, or do both.

The installation package available on Adobe Labs lets you experience Durango in action. Once the install is complete, you are then able to create a blank AIR application (one set to receive Durango-enabled components) simply by choosing the "New AIR Application" option now enabled in your OS (on Windows, you can simply right-click on the desktop to get to that option). Then you can open one of 4 sample AIR apps included in the install (all of which are set to donate their Durango-enabled components) and put it in "reuse" mode. Once the sample app is in reuse mode, the Durango-enabled components can be clicked and dragged onto the window of the blank AIR app you created, and now that component also exists in your AIR app, and you can save the changes to the AIR app. Certain properties of the component can be coded in such a way that the user can change them in the new AIR app, allowing for some customization of the borrowed component.

All in all, it seems like a fairly straightforward idea for making components reusable. The big question is whether or not end-users will utilize this feature. Folks who use a lot of separate AIR applications may see some value in taking bits and pieces from multiple apps and combining them. And it remains to be seen how AIR developers will feel about allowing the components they worked so hard to build to be taken and repurposed by other developers.

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