Adobe AIR FAQ: Everything You Need to Know

By turning on various blog (thanks Frank) and thanks to discussions with Julius , I realized that, in addition to the extreme interest in Adobe AIR , there is also a lot of confusion, and not without reason. Both developers and users continue to not be clear about what it is, what it is for and how it is developed in Adobe AIR . I decided, therefore, to collect the various discussions in this sort of FAQ to try to clear a little 'what actually lurks behind Adobe AIR.

WHAT '- IN SIMPLE WORDS - ADOBE AIR?

We can summarize Adobe AIR in this way:

  • It performs all the functions of a normal internet browser, such as Internet Explorer or FireFox, but without the restrictions relating to the safety of the latter! Giving full access to both the machine it is installed on both the environment understood as its own container, and then Window.

APPLICATIONS AIR (FILES WITH EXTENSION. AIR) MUST BE INSTALLED ON THE PC TO BE USED?

Yes! Just like you do with a "normal" application. In fact, after installation, the application will appear in the list of installed programs, such as Word esattamento, Skype and other common tasks. Before installing an AIR application, however, you must install the "system" or environment that is able to recognize and process the file. air. You must then install once, Adobe AIR Runtime . Since that time we will be able to install and use the AIR application.
Installing an AIR application, as to appearance, differs from the standard ones - we're used to - just because the tools used to perform the installation is different and its content nell'Adobe AIR runtime. But the functions they perform are exactly the same!

I HAVE TO DOWNLOAD A PARTICULAR VERSION OF AIR FOR MY OPERATING SYSTEM?

When you install the first time the environment ( Adobe AIR runtime ) should you choose to download depending on your system: Mac or PC. AIR applications, however, brought about the environment installed, are "unique" work on any operating system that has previously installed Adobe AIR runtime (currently Mac and Windows - Linux and more in the future).

AIR APPLICATIONS ARE READ AND FAST?

No! Not a chance. The "weight" of an application, among other things, can not be measured by the size of the file. Air (among other things this is a speech in general also valid for common application exe). First of all there is a lightweight application for "definition". As with the normal desktop applications, AIR applications there will be "heavy" and AIR applications "read", depending on the function they perform, and also, depending on how they were developed (such as HTML / Javascript or Flash / Flex) . In addition, the installation file. Compressed air are packages ...! Finally, do not forget that when we run an AIR application that works thanks to the runtime (Adobe AIR runtime - that is installed the first time) that, in the end, is also a "program" that takes up space and resources.

The speed is the same thing! In principle, however, any application "native" will inevitably more "rapid" a AIR application! (See below FAQ about development languages).

DEVELOPING ADOBE AIR APPLICATION?

There are several ways to develop an Adobe AIR application, both for purchase and for free. With time it will also be new, very likely.

Those in charge are:

  • Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 + extension (Free)
  • Adobe Flash CS3 Professional + extension (Free)
  • Adobe Flex

The free ones are (there are others):

Whatever your choice you will still need:

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE FOR DEVELOPING ADOBE AIR?

One of the strengths of Adobe AIR is not to have a proprietary programming liguaggio! To develop an AIR application is sufficient to know or HTML / Javascript or Actionscript. Basically if you are Web developers will find it extremely easy to write AIR applications, could - in fact - even reuse the code that you have already written (both HTML / Javascript Flash) for other applications. In addition, being a real AIR browser, very similar to FireFox or IE, you can develop in Javascript with all the tools written for this language, as prototype.js , scriptaculous.js , Dojo , Yahoo UI , jQuery , etc. ... ;)

WHAT CHANGES - SO - IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN APPLICATION AIR?

As we said Adobe AIR is in all respects a browser! Precisely for this reason it is possible to develop in HTML / CSS / Javascript, and Flash (who knows, tomorrow it could also support Microsoft Silverlight - if someone finds it ;)) without any problem. What changes is the addition of an extension (the air object - a real libreira of "special" objects), accessible from JavaScript is that Actionscript, which allows you to perform all those functions normally absent - both in Javascript that in Actionscript - as tools and languages ​​designed for an Internet browser.

For example, Javascript is used to read the contents of a folder of our HardDisk. By expanding air will be possible to write a JavaScript code that you browse to a folder on our HD and that opens a file!

WHY 'SHOULD I WRITE AN APPLICATION FOR ADOBE AIR?

An AIR application makes sense when you take advantage of the extensions provided by AIR itself. If I turn (without any addition) Web application into an AIR application, this is really insignificant. The application Blogbabel rank in AIR that I have written, for example, it is useless because it does not perform any operation of vital importance Desktop and would work perfectly in a browser - among other thing I want to do ;) ! I've obviously written by way of example, but someone has done similar things thinking about who knows what benefits derive ...

Paradoxically, however, that "nonsense" application that simulates shooting on the computer screen ( Adobe AIR: sparariamo the screen ) takes advantage of some special properties of Adobe AIR! property can not be played in a normal browser: type in a fullscreen transparency (window-less/topmost)!

WHAT FEATURES 'NEW ONES IN DEVELOPMENT WITH ADOBE AIR?

There are various and, most likely, over time it will be also added new ones, as they release new updates of theAdobe Adobe AIR runtime. Among the most important features are:

  • Read and write files on your computer
  • Managing a SQL database that can be used to manipulate local data
  • Managing Windows Desktop with a number of interesting features such as transparency, the possibility of iconizzarle in the taskbar or the tray-icon, ability to manipulate the position and size, creating special windows without title or edges.
  • Viewing PDF Files

CONTRAINDICATIONS AND sore spots?

First of all, for developers, set up the development environment for Adobe AIR requires quite a few steps articulated! In short, apart from Flex, the rest of the environment must be set properly and that takes time and patience!

There are still major differences between the possibilities offered by Adobe AIR depending on the type of development environment you choose. Flex definitely has more advanced functions (such as JPEG compression for bitmap and save the entire library mx.) Questionnaire and affect the activity of many developers need JavaScript and Flash. In practice, it forces the programmer to adopt Flex! And this is not nice! ;)