Some Interesting AIR Marketplace Statistics

A little over a year ago, I wrote a Python script to screen scrape the entire Adobe AIR Marketplace, download all the listed AIR applications, crack open the installers, and extract some statistics. My primary interest was how many HTML-based AIR applications were listed versus SWF-based applications, but I recorded some other interesting stats, as well.

I ran the script again the other day (after some updating since screen scraping scripts always break), and here’s what I found:

Statistic Data Description
Total AIR apps on the Marketplace 724 Total number of AIR applications listed on the Adobe AIR Marketplace as of 10/29/2009.
Total testable apps 536 The total number of applications I was able to download and test.121 applications don’t have direct links to their AIR files on the marketplace,and the rest couldn’t be tested because of 404s or network timeouts.
Total SWF-based AIR apps 443 (82.6%) Total number of applications that use a SWF as their main content. There is no distinction between Flash and Flex apps.
Total confirmed AS2 apps 2 Total number of SWF-based applications that use ActionScript 2 rather than ActionScript 3. (I’d be alarmed if this were much higher.)
Total HTML-based AIR apps 93 (17.4%) Total number of applications that use an HTML file as their main content.

Some things to keep in mind about this data:

  • I was only able to test applications that were listed on the Adobe AIR Marketplace. These stats don’t include the (hundreds? thousands?) of AIR applications not listed.
  • I was only able to test applications that have direct links to their AIR files on the Marketplace. 121 applications only have links to their sites rather than links to their AIR apps, so that’s a fair percentage of missing data (16.7%). Maybe I’ll fix that limitation in the future.
  • I don’t have any statistic on “hybrid” apps, or applications that load a SWF as their main content, but then load HTML/JS into an HTMLLoader (or the opposite — HTML apps that load Flash content). I’ve personally written several applications that combine Flash/ActionScript/HTML/JS, and I suspect a substantial portion of the SWF-based applications on the Marketplace are hybrids, as well.

I plan on updating the script to look for any HTML/JS files in the application bundle in order to give an indication of the number of hybrid applications out there. I’ll post the results when I have them.

So my questions for you guys are:

  • Any other statistics you’d like to see?
  • Anything we can do for the HTML/JS/Ajax developers out there to get more HTML-based apps?
  • Will any of the new HTML features in AIR 2 give HTML devs what they need to build on AIR?

5 Responses to Some Interesting AIR Marketplace Statistics

  1. Scott Koon says:

    Two things:1) Clean up the sandbox experience. It’s still kind of a pain to create the bridge and pass stuff across. I’m guessing that the Flash/SWF devs don’t have to deal with that.2) Work on IDE support. Apatana touts support,but it’s basically just the packaging and launching aspect. I don’t really have any concrete examples of what needs to be done here. Being able to edit the app.xml w/o having to touch the XML itself would be nice. Maybe a way to submit it through an IDE to the marketplace? Dunno if that would help much though.

  2. Ed Finkler says:

    I’d be interested to see stats on open source apps, and licenses used.As for getting more JS/HTML devs making AIR apps, I think embracing and working with the JS community, especially those built around popular frameworks, would go a long way. I may not be aware of things you guys are doing/have already done though.A lot of the new features in AIR 2.0 are going to be very useful. The new JS engine is a big win. I do think that not having Web Workers is a shame, and I really wish I could get that in there to do processing without locking the UI.Generally I do think that there’s a bit of a disconnect b/t the JS/HTML community and the level of support Adobe offers in AIR. I think Squiggly is a good example: it’s a great all-in-one solution for SWF apps, but lacks any UI integration work for HTML apps. In an AIR app it’s possible to leverage the libraries, but HTML/JS devs have to do a lot more work.In October of 2007, Mike Chambers said this:”Adobe AIR is as much about JavaScript, HTML, CSS, etc… as it is about Flash / Flex.” years later, that doesn’t seem to follow based on the kinds of support (tooling, libraries, etc) that Adobe offers to devs. And if I filter the talks given at MAX 2009 under the AIR product, I get ~90 sessions/talks listed. Of that number, 2 appear to be aimed at HTML/JS devs. Some don’t mention specifically a tech, but sampling a few slide decks indicates that they consistently assume that the attendees are Flash/Flex developers.I can’t say that this is surprising, given that Flash/Flex is Adobe’s in-house tech, but a consequence of it is going to be this kind of disparity.

  3. Christian…Mine is one of the HTML apps in the marketplace, Shrinkadoo: but I don’t link directly to the AIR file. Might that be something the Marketplace could change? I wouldn’t mind linking straight to the file, but I’d also want people to come to the site for more information. Maybe add a “file” URL, and a “docs” URL, or something along those lines?

  4. I’ll ditto Scott. I like using Aptana to build HTML AIR apps, but it could be improved. I’m not sure how much Adobe works with Aptana on this plugin, but maybe more could be done?Also – the security bridge thing still bugs the heck out of me. 🙂

  5. Dee says:

    I am definitely interested in building AIR apps in Html/js. And I like where Adobe AIR is heading especially with webkit, multi-touch and gesture upgrades but, it does seem like the js community is being left behind.When I do a search for Adobe air almost all the returns searches are for flex/flash developers.I think more real world tutorials and open-source apps would help. A lot of the tutorials for Html/js (that I have seen) are basic introductions to AIR.I would like to see more examples/tutorials of:1. xml/xsl in html/js + air.I have only seen one link with this kind of info : PDF rendering of users content in html/js + air.Example: copying text and images from two or three different files into a page in a air app and rendering a new pdf from that content.3. Flv video player/video gallery in html/js + airFlash video not showing on transparent chrome background; but I read somewhere that this is “partially” fixed:4. Accessing the flash components/as3corelib:I noticed there is an extensive library of AS3 code ( we can access but, there very few examples of uses it.The adobe air1.5 help site only glazes over this stuff.