Browser vs application

http://www.adobe.com/products/air/comparison/


he browser has become the preferred way to deliver many applications because it enables easy deployment across operating systems and simplified application maintenance. Plus, the modern programming languages used in the browser enable rapid application design and development.

The Adobe® AIR® runtime complements the browser by providing the same application development and deployment benefits while adding device integration, local data access, and enhanced branding opportunities. An emerging design pattern for rich Internet applications (RIAs) is to deliver a browser-based version of an RIA in the browser for all users and an RIA on the device (such as desktop or smartphone) for more active users.

Feature   In the browser   Standalone applications
Application delivery Applications can be easily discovered, explored, and used. Installed applications have more persistence, power, and functionality.
Installation No application installation is necessary. Applications are installed seamlessly from the browser or downloaded from a marketplace for installation.
Application updates Applications are updated by pushing new content to a website. AIR provides APIs that allow applications to be updated easily.
Multiple platform support Applications run on multiple operating systems, browsers, and devices. AIR applications are cross-platform, can be contextual, and can be installed and run on multiple platforms and devices.
Programming languages JavaScript is provided by browsers, and ActionScript® is provided by Adobe Flash® Player software. Integrated JavaScript and ActionScript virtual machines are compatible with the browser.
Background capability RIAs can run only in a visible browser window. Applications can run in the background or provide notifications.
Persistence Activity is limited to the browser session. When the browser is closed, information is lost. RIAs are installed and available on the device. They can store information locally and operate offline.
Device integration Applications are sandboxed, so device integration is limited. Applications can access a local file system, device APIs, input methods and mechanisms, and more.
User interface control RIAs run within a browser window that has its own controls, branding, and integration with the device. RIAs have a customizable user interface and device integration, enabling branded experiences.
Data storage Applications have limited local storage, which the browser can destroy. Applications have unlimited local storage and access to a local database, plus encrypted local storage.

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