New York Times Reader – Why AIR?
This morning, the New York Times launched a new desktop application for reading their newspaper built on Adobe AIR. At first glance, you may ask, “What’s the big deal? – I can read the New York Times online already”. When I first heard about this application, I asked the same question!
I’ve seen a few applications that have been deployed as AIR applications that honestly should have been deployed as a web app. I’m much more particular about who I let in my programs menu than my bookmarks list. I blogged about this a few months ago when Pizza Hut launched their new AIR application – http://gregsramblings.com/2008/05/28/to-air-or-not-to-air-pizza-hut/
I’m happy to report that the New York Times reader is great example of an AIR app built for AIR for the right reasons. The best reason can be illustrated in a quick screen shot from the new app’s settings page:
As you can see, the New York Times Reader application works offline. I can store up to 7 issues of the New York Times on my machine and read them anytime I want, even when I don’t have an internet connection. For example, you can download the application now and start reading yesterday’s issue of the paper. The crossword puzzle also works offline and remembers your progress.
The application itself is fantastic. It utilizes the new Text Layout Framework available in Flash Player 10 and AIR 1.5 so it can do much cleaner text display than a regular web page. The page is dynamically formatted specifically for your screen size. If you have a large screen, you get more columns and larger pictures. If you have a smaller screen, it compensates very nicely with fewer columns and smaller images. Download it and view some news and re-size the page a few times. You’ll be amazed.
Don’t forget to check out the crossword puzzle – it has some interesting features of its own.
Because it’s built on Adobe AIR, it works on Windows, Mac OS and Linux.
I hope we see more applications like this soon. You can download a copy from here.
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