Hopefully this is the right forum? Else please redirect.

In a previous century, I used a text editor to hand-craft HTML, javascript, CSS, PHP (on MySQL), and so on; but as a self-taught hacker. Returning after some years in other areas, I figure someone can tell me a faster methodology to achieve the following:

Challenge: Rapid development of a complex, relatively rich, data-driven app that will function as a website and also as a stand-alone app for disconnected users. Therefore I'm thinking Adobe Air.

The open issue: What development environment, particularly for the front end? Andrew Tetlaw's great article (on SitePoint under article/css-desktop-adobe-air) tempted me toward hand-coding again, but is there not a faster way by now?

I have these [conflicting] requirements:
- Fast development, shallow learning curve
- Only a medium-skilled programmer
- Adobe Air integration
- Cheap (there is a recession on, or I wouldn't have to do this myself!)
- *Full* programmatic control (eg, interface elements dynamically controlled by data values)
- Back-end development also needed (eg, generating XML files + Word docx documents on the fly from the current dataset)

So I am considering maybe Adobe Flex Builder[?] + Adobe Air.

The bottom line: I know I am ignorant. Am I exploring the right direction, or would you point me elsewhere?

Thanks in advance