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Adobe has been getting ahead of itself, hinting at features in future versions of its is Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) development environment while claiming its yet-to-launch platform is now feature complete.

Opening its Max 2007 conference, Adobe claimed to have made significant progress on its Rich Internet Application (RIA) strategy with the release of the second beta test versions of AIR and the Flex Builder 3 run-time engine and software development kit (SDK).

Adobe expects to release the AIR engine and SDK early next year and follow up with a Linux version later in the year.

Adobe's director of product management for platforms Pam Deziel said beta two - and the Flex Builder 3 beta 2 run-time and SDK - are now feature complete.

The company is in a break-neck race to rollout its RIA architecture, faced with challenges to its interface development and applications businesses from Microsoft and Google.

Deziel claimed the second AIR beta is a more robust, feature complete implementation of AIR for Windows and Macintosh with new support for default Windows menus and System Tray icons, Dock bar bounce notifications for the Mac, bitmap drag and drop, support for background applications and systems notifications, as well as enhanced AJAX support and HTML security model.

The run-time now offers developers more of an HTML form control look and feel, with keyboard controls within text box, double-click and scroll mouse support, and a new HTML security model featuring network sandbox and door APIs.

New synchronous APIs for local databases in the second beta will give developers better control of desktop functionality.

Adobe also made available to developers a pre-release version of its planned Adobe Media Player built on AIR and two new portals for AIR developers, including a centralized marketplace where developers can publish AIR applications.

Adobe paraded a string of early adopters at its Max 07 conference in Chicago to reinforce the message AIR is ready for action. AOL, eBay, PayPal, Business Objects, SAP, Yahoo! and Salesforce.com showed off desktop applications developed using AIR, Flex and Flash.

Even as it races to the finish line on its RIA platform, Adobe tipped its hat at features for AIR 2.0. Mobility will be a major area of focus, as developers wish to extend their RIAs to devices.

Further out, Adobe plans to take on Microsoft and Google in the online hosted services realm with the addition of voice, collaboration, imaging and document sharing APIs for developers and a file sharing service that will allow consumers to share and publish documents online.

To that end, Adobe announced Monday a project that will give developers tools for integrating real-time communication services in existing web applications, a new set of collaboration APIs for developers to integrate Adobe components in applications and Adobe Scene 7 open APIs for building in dynamic imaging into applications.

Adobe also announced the acquisition of Virtual Ubiquity, which has developed an online word processor called BuzzWord built using Adobe Flex. BuzzWord will be available on AIR "soon" and will help drive Adobe's online document service vision, the company said.®

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