AIR vs XULRunner

After playing with XULRunner for quite a while, i decided to get AIR and see what is was. There’s been a fair share of hype over both the Runtime Environments, xulrunner had it’s share with the boom of Firefox, and AIR getting attention from various companies, such as twitter.


AIR or the Adobe Integrated Runtime, is an application platform similar to XULRunner, in the mere fact that you can build applications on it and big companies are backing them. AIR supports the use of to types of coding to build it’s applications, these being:

  1. HTML and Javascript.
  2. Flex and flash.

The first option is good, because any web coder could pretty much learn quickly, flash and flex based applications have the down fall that you need propriety software to build them – I stand corrected, thanks David from adobe for the information that there are ways of building flex and flash based programs with out that specific software. AIR supports Windows, Mac OS.


XULRunner is the runtime environment that adds a means of using XUL, the programming language based on XML, and used in Firefox. XULRunner has it’s advantages where you can easily (hopefully), port over Mozilla extensions to run as standalone applications.

XUL and XULRunner both have massive amounts of documentation viewable to anyone freely on the web. XULRunner supports Windows, Unix and *nix based systems, and Mac OS.

First Verdict.

I found out that although AIR supported an option to use HTML and Javascript to build it’s applications, it seemed to lack documentation and had a flaw with the fact that you’d need it’s runtime to run the applications you built with it. XULRunner,on the other hand had large amounts of documentation and applications can be package with the library.

XULRunner I’d have to say was the best platform to try any development work with, it’s platform independent, and relatively easy to code for.


  1. Hello,

    you wrote, “flash and flex based applications have the down fall that you need propriety software to build them”

    this is incorrect. there are multiple free and open source options to create Flex and Flash applications.


  2. @ dmendels:
    Thanks for telling me that, i should look further into adobe technologies such as flash and flex. I’ve amended the post.

  3. Nothing yet huh? @Miksago. It’s a shame Dmendels didn’t mention any..

    I have been search for such a mysterious app for quite sometime; most have been probably poking at swfmill and mtasc.

    Just found opendialect [ ]
    -win32 and *nix support
    – need mono 1.9.1 and/or c#

    Trying it out..

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