Developing cross-platform Adobe AIR desktop applications

This weekend I decided to spend some time developing my first cross-platform Adobe AIR desktop application. My first impression of Adobe Air was: Wow! It takes only a few minutes to see how easy and powerful this platform is. What’s great about AIR is that you can build Rich Internet Applications that run across operating systems (Win/OSX/Ubuntu) on the WebKit HTML engine and are easily delivered using a single installer file. You can also build desktop applications in JavaScript, a language that nearly everyone is familiar with.

What’s really cool about Adobe AIR is that the extension for Dreamweaver lets you transform a web-based application into a desktop application. Users can then run the application on their desktops and, in some cases, without an Internet connection. I already have a couple of these applications running on my Ubuntu desktop.

Also, Adobe AIR has an embedded database SQLite, which is an SQL92 & ACID compliant database engine with support for storing databases of up to 1TB. You can use this embedded database in your AIR Apps, and send SQL queries to it using JavaScript!

For a quick, hands-on illustration of how Adobe AIR works, read the following tutorials:

What’s free, looks like a Mac and is actually Linux?

The answer is gOS, a lightweight, web-heavy operating system that anyone can use.

The emphasis in gOS is on web apps and everyday tasks like browsing the web and checking e-mail. Under the hood, gOS is based on the solid Linux distribution base of Ubuntu 8.04.1, but aside from that familiar startup sound, you’re unlikely to notice the Ubuntu underpinnings.

gOS instantly launches Google Gadgets for Linux on startup, introducing over 100,000 possible iGoogle and Google Gadgets to the desktop. Google Documents, Calendar, and Mail launch in Mozilla Prism windows to closer resemble desktop applications. The newest release of WINE 1.0 is included to now support thousands of Windows software.

Collaboration on steroids

Confluence, the world’s most widely used enterprise wiki, announced expanded integration with Microsoft Office and SharePoint that introduces Confluence to the masses. The latest release includes a host of goodies for business users looking to flex their productivity muscles and improve collaboration.

Confluence 2.9 includes a new alternative that makes editing a wiki page much simpler for everyone. Confluence users can now edit wiki pages directly from Microsoft Excel, Word or PowerPoint, via an exclusive new plugin called Office Connector.

More info: Confluence 2.9 Released

Google gives away a free web application security scanner

Google announced the release of ratproxy, a passive web application security assessment tool that they’ve been using internally at Google. This utility, developed by their information security engineering team, is designed to transparently analyse legitimate, browser-driven interactions with a tested web property and automatically pinpoint, annotate, and prioritize potential flaws or areas of concern.

The proxy analyses problems such as cross-site script inclusion threats, insufficient cross-site request forgery defences, caching issues, cross-site scripting candidates, potentially unsafe cross-domain code inclusion schemes and information leakage scenarios, and much more.

Find out more

Is this the future of Web application development?

Drag and drop widgets to build Web applications, in minutes, with minimal code.

WaveMaker Visual Ajax Studio is an easy-to-use visual builder that enables the drag & drop assembly of scalable, web-applications using Ajax widgets, web services and databases. WaveMaker Studio will look and feel especially familiar to client/server developers who are used to working with visual tools. WaveMaker’s Studio enables data-driven and web-services based applications to be quickly created without complex code, forms, patterns or portal frameworks.


  • Drag & Drop Assembly
  • LiveLayout
  • Push to Deploy: One-touch application deployment
  • Visual Data Binding
  • SOAP, REST and RSS web services
  • Leverage existing CSS, HTML and Java
  • Deploys a standard Java .war file
  • It’s free!

See it in Action

Web Applications: Spaghetti Code for the 21st Century

The software industry is currently in the middle of a paradigm shift. Applications are increasingly written for the Web rather than for any specific type of an operating system, computer or device. Unfortunately, the technologies used for Web application development today violate well-known software engineering principles. Furthermore, they have reintroduced problems that had already been eliminated years ago in the aftermath of the “spaghetti code wars” of the 1970’s.

In this paper, Tommi Mikkonen and Antero Taivalsaari, investigate Web application development from the viewpoint of established software engineering principles. They argue that current Web technologies are inadequate in supporting many of these principles. However, they also argue that there is no fundamental reason for Web applications to be any worse than conventional applications in any of these areas. Rather, the current inadequacies are just an accidental consequence of the poor conceptual and technological foundation of the Web development technologies today.

Web Applications – Spaghetti Code for the 21st Century (PDF)

Search your code for vulnerabilities

I’m a big fan of PHP_CodeSniffer and I think it’s a great development tool, it ensures that you write code that is easy to read and maintain. But, what about making sure that the code you write is secure and doesn’t have any vulnerabilities?

Right, there’s another tool for that…

PHP Security Scanner is a tool written in PHP intended to search PHP code for vulnerabilities. MySQL DB stores patterns to search for as well as the results from the search. The tool can scan any directory on the file system.

Check out the Website