Why AIR, not web?

A big dilemma I faced when choosing the platform for the interactive textbook were the pros and cons between a Flash AIR application and a HTML5/Javascript website.

Features that can be implemented on both are many; both can:

  • have user account and local storage
  • animate visuals
  • link to 3rd party APIs from YouTube and Google Images
  • present dynamic content from an online database
  • integrate social networking Facebook and Twitter

Creating the project on a web host and taking advantage of WordPress plugins admittedly is easier and is a more established method of carrying out many of these features. Though a critical point where a web project falls short is that it needs Internet. There are various offline modes being worked on in terms of HTML5 and browser specific local storage modes, but these are either conceptual or experimental, and in no way stable enough to support a full blown application.

The interactive textbook needs to function offline so users can continue their work if Internet becomes unstable or if one doesn’t exist at all. An AIR application can be downloaded to the users choice of device and only requires a connection for 3rd party interaction and on the first startup to download the most recent version of data from the online database.

For these reasons, I have decided to remain on a Flash development platform. In the future however, perhaps in 5-10 years, a web version running on native HTML script could be more efficient and accessible.

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