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In Flash Catalyst CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding demonstrates how to create and publish fully interactive Flash (SWF) micro sites, widgets, portfolios, and applications from static Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks artwork—all without writing code. The course covers planning a project, importing and organizing assets, creating interactive components, defining repeating data lists, and publishing final projects. Exercise files are included with the course.
Sometimes you just want to send a file or a project over to a client so that they can look at it. You might also want to send a file to a colleague or maybe even a developer to get their feedback on the project that you're working on. I found that one of the easiest ways to do that is by generating an AIR file directly out of Flash Catalyst. Now Adobe AIR is a free runtime that runs on virtually any platform. It ensures that everything looks the same whether it be Mac or Windows. You don't have to load anything into a Web browser; AIR files playback directly on the desktop.
Let's see how to generate and distribute these files. Once I've completed my project and I've saved it, I will go to the File menu, I'll choose Publish to SWF/ AIR and I'll check only the option for building an AIR application. I'll have the file saved to my desktop and I'll click Publish. This creates a package on my desktop that I can now send to my clients or my colleagues. I'll open up the olive_tour_final folder and I'll see an AIR folder. Inside of that is a single file called olive_tour_final.
It's an installer package, so I would now send this off to somebody else and when they get it on their computer they would double click on it. If Adobe AIR is not already installed on that computer, they'll be prompted to do so and once AIR is installed and running on that computer, they can then install this application. So I'll click over here to install it, and I'll choose to add a shortcut icon to my desktop. I can also choose to have the application start immediately after installation. So I'll click on Continue and I'll now see that my interactive tour plays back directly on my desktop; not inside a browser but right on the desktop.
If I move my mouse cursor around, I'll see that I can interact with it just as I would on the Web. So creating an Adobe AIR file is a great way to take your content and create a single file which I can easily distribute across any platform and which will run directly on the desktop.
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