If you like the look of Adobe's Air platform but fancy something a bit more open, check out Titanium.

As reported by BetaNews yesterday, Titanium is a fully open source development environment aimed at desktop, mobile, and web content creators – and clearly an answer to Adobe's proprietary Air platform.

Appcelerator – the company behind Titanium – has launched a public preview of the system, which it describes as “the first open platform for building rich desktop applications.” Provided under the Apache Public License v2, both MacOS X and Windows binaries are currently available with a Linux version due for release in January 2009. As befits an open source package, the full source is also available if you fancy getting a head-start on running a Linux build.

The company has provided a set of desktop applications demonstrating what can be achieved with Titanium – including a Twitter client called Tweetanium, a desktop YouTube interface called Playtanium”, and a simple contact manager which demonstrates the ability to store items on both the client and server sides.

With the current build sitting at version 0.1, the company's chief technology officer Nolan Wright is the first to admit that Titanium is “not yet parallel in features with Air,” but hopes that “we'll be able to move way beyond where Air is, [as] in an open source environment, progress can be made very fast.

If you're interested in developing web applications that can integrate with desktops and – if the project pans out – mobile clients, then Titanium is definitely a project to keep an eye on. However, despite Wright's insistence that “Titanium is still in an early version, but it's ready for developers to start building and running [production] apps” I would counsel caution before relying on the as-yet unproven technology for anything mission-critical.

Any web application developers smacking their lips in anticipation of playing with Titanium, or does Adobe have the market sewn up already? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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