Passpack is an online password organizer that provided offline access early in its life via Gears.
Last week they announced an Adobe AIR version, and Ryan quickly commented saying:
For a while they were using Gears as a way to store those passwords on the client but they’ve just recently switched over to using Adobe AIR.
One of the reasons given was Safari support for Gears. You have to do a build for Safari which is not what we want, and we are working with the Apple team to clean things up and have a really nice Safari plugin. Unfortunately, Safari doesn’t have a plugin model, so you always feel like you are doing some hack using unsupported mechanisms like Input Managers. Grr, come on Apple, play nice with others! :)
At the same time, Air support for the Encrypted File store (a very nice feature!) doesn’t work on Linux yet (I am sure that will be fixed soon too).
Of course, the solution isn’t Gears vs. AIR. They aren’t really competing here! The Gears users of the product started to get vocal and we quickly saw Gears support added again.
There are two very different use cases:
- Users who want to be using Passpack in the browser, who happen to want to use functionality such as offline, or any other Gears component
- Users who want a desktop-like application, outside of the browser. This is where the AIR application fits in.
So, both can make sense for Passpack. In other cases, one of the choices could make sense.
I also expect to see more joint applications. Gears functionality is working into HTML5 the standard, which will end up in WebKit (as Apple is great in that regard), and AIR uses…. WebKit as its renderer!