While the media has beat us to the punch with countless “on AIR” puns (and the list of companies using the word air grows), we completed work to make the Dojo Toolkit compatible with Adobe AIR in time for its recent launch.

What is AIR?

It’s a platform for web app deployment that’s somewhat similar to a browser: web applications are deployed to the desktop using AIR, giving web applications some of the capabilities of desktop apps while retaining the ability to use web app development tools like the Dojo Toolkit.

Why is that important?

In my previous thinking outside the browser box blog post, I mused that “The proliferation of JavaScript, HTML, and CSS is rapidly spreading to every area of software development, because open web standards are powerful and relatively easy to comprehend.” The lines between desktop and web are eroding, and that’s a good thing. Developers should be able to get the benefits of what they need without having to make significant compromises or choices between desktop or web. And once AIR adds compatibility and support for the Google Gears API, things will get even more interesting.

Sexy demos of the Dojo Toolkit on AIR?

It’s early, and there isn’t much to show yet. That will change soon, and there’s currently a technology demo available from WebAssist that shows a basic Facebook app for the desktop.

How did we know how to make all of these changes to the Dojo Toolkit in time for the AIR release?

Adobe provided assistance, both in the form of their developer beta program and in the form of an engagement to expedite the efforts. We’ve recently launched our Support services covering the Dojo Toolkit, DWR, Cometd, and other web technologies. While the Adobe work was done before we actually rolled out our support services, it’s a good example of the targeted help we can offer.

Why use the Dojo Toolkit inside of AIR and not Flash or Flex?

Given the way Adobe has developed AIR, the answer is the same as it is for traditional web applications…pick and choose the technology that you’re comfortable with and provides the feature set you need. Frankly, Flash makes certain things possible that you cannot do with Ajax, and vice versa. We happen to bet heavily on Ajax because it is part of the Open Web. Like most browsers, AIR is an environment where both Ajax and Flash work well.

What’s the effect on the Dojo Toolkit?

We have documentation and download links at the Dojo Toolkit website. The changes won’t affect anything for non-AIR Dojo Toolkit apps. One point of interest is that there are some fundamental changes to the way JavaScript developers need to think about eval and dynamic loading of JavaScript inside this environment, and by documenting the changes we needed to make, we hope it will be easier for you to write code that will work without airror with AIR.

Sorry, we couldn’t resist.