Who needs AIR? NY Times does desktop Silverlight app for Mac

The New York Times is porting its excellent Times Reader application to the Mac using Silverlight 1.0:

Times Reader for the Mac is a native Cocoa application, which uses the Safari toolkit and Silverlight to render the pages.

Follow the link for some screengrabs. Adobe’s AIR (which also uses the Safari toolkit) is the obvious choice for this kind of online app; it’s interesting to see the NY Times adapting Silverlight in a similar manner.

I spoke to developer Nick Thuesen about this at Mix07, so this is not news for readers of this blog; though I’d become sceptical about whether it would be delivered because of the delay. Now, I’m surprised that the NY Times is still using Silverlight 1.0 rather than waiting for 2.0.

The Silverlight version appears to have some compromises. In particular, it cannot flow text on the client:

We paginate the pages for the Mac version on our servers (the Windows version does this on the PC). When you sync, we send you pages for the four window and three font sizes described above.

Still, the screens look good and I look forward to trying it – especially as the public beta will be free, whereas you need a subscription for the full release.

There is a high level of hostility towards Silverlight in the comments to the post. Mostly these appear to be religious in nature – ie. Mac users hate all things Microsoft. It does illustrate the difficulty the company has in persuading the world to take its cross-platform ambitions seriously.

Thanks to Ryan Stewart for the link.