May 24th, 2012

Introduction to Building Desktop Applications with Flex 4

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Written by: Nouman Naveed
adobe air technology stack diagram

Adobe Integrated Runtime, also known as Adobe AIR, is a cross-platform runtime environment developed by Adobe Systems for building Rich Internet Applications (RIA) using Adobe Flash, Adobe Flex, HTML, and Ajax, that can be run as desktop applications or on mobile devices. The runtime supports installable applications on Windows, Linux, Mac OS and some mobile operating systems such as BlackBerry Tablet OS, iOS and Android, or the BBC IPlayer Desktop. The initial release was in Feb,2005 and gained popularity slowly in the community.

Exploring the AIR Development Toolset

The Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR)

  • is a cross-operating system runtime
  • allows Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) to run on desktop applications
  • leverages existing web development skills to build desktop software

Understanding the the runtime application

  • user interact with AIR applications in the same way they interact with native desktop applications
    • AIR leverages familiar user interaction models
  • AIR is installed once on the user’s computer
  • AIR applications are installed and run inside the runtime
  • AIR applications behave like any other desktop application


Working with existing technologies

  • AIR enables you to work in familiar environments
  • AIR leverages the tools nd approaches you already know to build the best possible user experience
    • Flash / Flex ActionScript
    • HTML / JavaScript / CSS / XML (Ajax)
    • PDF can be leveraged with any application
      technologies and features in adobe air

Understanding the applicataion stack

  • AIR is a runtime engine, with little or no visible interface
  • AIR wraps your application to provide operating system access
    adobe air technology stack diagram

Understanding the benefits

  • You develop AIR, not any specific operating system or browser
  • AIR provides a consistent cross-operating system platform and framework
  • AIR eliminates cross-browser testing by ensuring consistent functionality nd interaction across desktops

Understanding Adobe AIR 2.0

  • Enhanced features include local database encryption
  • Flash Player 10 support, including support for Pixel Bender, advanced text layout, device fonts, 3D effects, dynamic sound generation, and much more
  • WebKit update, including SquirrelFish JavaScript interpreter

Understanding the Adobe AIR SDK

The Adobe AIR SDK provides tools to develop AIR applications using any text editor, and compile them from the command line

  • Schema and template for application descriptor file
  • Default icons for AIR applications
  • Framework for AIR APIs An extension to the existing Flex framework
  • Template for AIR application installation badge
  • Command-line tools for building and deploying AIR application

Looking at Flash Builder 4

  • Flash Builder 4 is an integrated development environment which supports AIR application development with tools including
    • AIR project wizard
    • Automatic creation and configuration of the application descriptor
    • Compilation and debugging tools for AIR applications

Reviewing the Adobe AIR tools for Flash Builder 4

  • The AIR SDK is build into Flash Builder 4, providing access to
    • AIR Projecct creation wizard
    • AIR Debug Launcher (ADL)
    • AIR Developer Tool (ADT)

Creating AIR projects

  1. Create a Flex project
  2. Set the application type to Desktop application
    • Automatically creates the application descriptor
    • The application descriptor uniquely identifies an application and defines serveral additional properties
  3. Running or debugging applications from the project will happen through AIR Debug Launcher (ADL)

About the Author

Nouman Naveed
My name is Mohammed Nouman Naveed. I work and play with Flash Platform technologies and has experience of 11 years. Consulting and Training is part of my job. I am Adobe Certified Instructor, Adobe User Group Manager, Adobe Certified Expert and Adobe Community Champion.


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