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Overview of Adobe AIR

From: Building Mobile Apps for Multiple Devices with Flash Professional

Video: Overview of Adobe AIR

I'd like to now give you an overview of the Adobe AIR Runtime. It's very powerful, but what is it? Well, it's actually a cross operating system in runtime. So the runtime that goes on say for instance, a Windows machine and maybe a Mac machine, and that runtime allows you to run your content whether it's HTML content, JavaScript, Flex, Framework, or even Flash content on these different platforms, all using this Adobe AIR Runtime. Now that's the Desktop model but you know what, you can also use AIR for mobile devices.

Overview of Adobe AIR

I'd like to now give you an overview of the Adobe AIR Runtime. It's very powerful, but what is it? Well, it's actually a cross operating system in runtime. So the runtime that goes on say for instance, a Windows machine and maybe a Mac machine, and that runtime allows you to run your content whether it's HTML content, JavaScript, Flex, Framework, or even Flash content on these different platforms, all using this Adobe AIR Runtime. Now that's the Desktop model but you know what, you can also use AIR for mobile devices.

So you can again create an app, put it on an Android device, put it on an iOS device, and it's that same content on these different operating systems. But not only that you can tap into the specific capabilities of the device. So you can use multi-touch. So again, if you are going to pinch and zoom, you can use accelerometer. All of the capabilities of the device you can tap into and use basically in your app. Very exciting! Take for instance, AIR for Android.

How this works is basically you can package up your SWF file into the Adobe AIR for Android app. Android 2.2 is required. But once the person installs it if they don't have the AIR Runtime it will prompt the user to install it. It is free, but it is required if you make an app that is made with AIR for Android. Really easy to do and pretty seamless on the user's part and that's basically what's required. When it comes to AIR for iOS devices, so whether it's the iPad, iPhone, iPod what happens there is it actually converts your content into a native app.

So no AIR runtime is required. In fact, it's indistinguishable from any other app on the iPad for instance. So again, that's great. It makes it a native app. You can consider it like a Captive Runtime. It doesn't need the runtime at all on iOS devices. But also what we have with AIR 3.0, that 3.0 runtime allows us the ability to make apps for Android devices without requiring the runtimes.

So it's a Captive Runtime, basically takes the runtime, packages it up with the app, and you can distribute it and the user won't ever get that prompt saying that they need to download the AIR Runtime, because it's already part of the app. So it's exactly how iOS apps work. Well, you can do it now for Android. Another thing to mention here as well are Native Extensions. So you can go ahead and tap into the very specific native capabilities of a device, maybe you want to use a Credit Card Reader and you are going to attach that to your phone and make an app that reads that content, you can do that.

Native Extensions will allow you to tap into that Java functionality or whatever the case maybe even for any sort of iOS device. So very cool things coming out with each release of the AIR Runtime. So you want to keep abreast on everything going on there, but the true power is enabling you to make apps that work across devices, and you only have to write at once.

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