About Adobe AIR

Adobe® AIR™ is a cross-operating system runtime that allows you to leverage your existing web development skills (Adobe® Animate®, Adobe® Flex™, Adobe® Flash Builder™ HTML, JavaScript®, Ajax) to build and deploy Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) to the desktop. AIR enables you to work in familiar environments, to leverage the tools and approaches you find most comfortable, and by supporting Animate, Flex, HTML, JavaScript, and Ajax, to build the best possible experience that meets your needs.

Users interact with AIR applications in the same way that they interact with native desktop applications. The runtime is installed once on the user's computer, and then AIR applications are installed and run just like any other desktop application. The runtime provides a consistent cross-operating system platform and framework for deploying applications and therefore eliminates cross-browser testing by ensuring consistent functionality and interactions across desktops. Instead of developing for a specific operating system, you target the runtime.

AIR dramatically changes how applications can be created, deployed, and experienced. You gain more creative control and can extend your Animate, Flex, HTML, and Ajax-based applications to the desktop, without learning traditional desktop development technologies.

For information about hardware and software requirements for desktop and mobile AIR applications, see AIR system requirements.

For complete information about developing Adobe AIR™ applications, see Building Adobe AIR Applications.

Create an Adobe AIR file

You can create Adobe AIR Animate documents using the Animate Welcome screen, or the File > New command, or you can create an ActionScript® 3.0 Animate File and convert it to an Adobe AIR file through the Publish Settings dialog box.

To create an Adobe AIR file, do one of the following:

  • Start Animate. The Welcome screen appears. If you have already started Animate, close any open documents to return to the Welcome screen. In the Welcome screen, select Adobe AIR 2 (CS5) or AIR (CS5.5).

    Note: If you’ve disabled the Animate Welcome screen, you can display it again by selecting Edit > Preferences and selecting Welcome Screen from the On Launch pop-up menu in the General category.

  • Choose File > New and select Adobe AIR 2 (CS5) or AIR (CS5.5) and click OK.

  • Open an existing Animate file and convert it to an AIR file by selecting Adobe AIR from the Player menu in the Animate tab of the Publish Settings dialog box (File > Publish Settings).

Note:

(Flash CS5 only) If you save a Flash CS5 AIR file in Flash CS4 format, set the Player version to AIR 1.5 manually in the Publish Settings dialog box when opening the file in Flash CS4. Flash CS4 only supports publishing to AIR 1.5.

Preview or publish an Adobe AIR application

You can preview an AIR SWF file as it would appear in the AIR application window. Previewing is useful when you want to see what the visible aspects of the application look like without packaging and installing the application.

  1. Make sure you’ve set the Target setting in the Animate tab of the Publish Settings dialog box to Adobe AIR.

  2. Select Control > Test Movie > Test or press Control+Enter.

If you have not set application settings through the AIR - Application And Installer Settings dialog box, Animate generates a default application descriptor file (swfname-app.xml) for you in the same folder where the SWF file is written. If you have set application settings using the AIR Application & Installer Settings dialog box, the application descriptor file reflects those settings.

To publish an AIR file, do one of the following:

  • Click the Publish button in the Publish Settings dialog box.

  • Click the Publish button in the AIR Application & Installer Settings dialog box.

  • Choose File > Publish.

  • Choose File >Publish Preview.

When you Publish an AIR file, Animate creates a SWF file and XML application descriptor file and packages copies of both, along with any other files you have added to your application, into an AIR installer file (swfname.air).

Note:

(Windows only) Publishing of AIR application fails if the file name contains non-english characters.

Creating AIR application and installer files

After you’ve finished developing your application, specify the settings for the AIR application descriptor and installer files required to deploy it. Animate creates the descriptor and installer files along with the SWF file when you publish an AIR file.

You specify the settings for these files in the AIR - Application & Installer Settings dialog box. Once you have created an AIR file, this dialog box can be opened from either the document Property inspector or the Player menu Settings button in the Animate tab of the Publish Settings dialog box.

Create the Adobe AIR application and installer files

  1. In Animate, open the FLA file or set of files that make up your Adobe AIR application.

  2. Save the Adobe AIR FLA file before you open the AIR Settings dialog box.

  3. Select File > AIR 2 Settings.

  4. Complete the AIR Settings dialog box, and then click Publish.

    When you click the Publish button, the following files are packaged: the SWF file, the application descriptor file, the application icon files, and the files listed in the Included Files text box. If you have not already created a digital certificate, Animate displays the Digital Signature dialog box when you click the Publish button.

The AIR Application And Installer Settings dialog box is divided into 4 tabs: General, Signature, Icons, and Advanced. For more information on these settings, see the following sections.

General settings

The General tab of the AIR Application And Installer Settings dialog box contains the following options:

Output file

The name and location of the .air file to create when using the Publish command.

Output as

The type of package to create.

  • AIR package - Creates a standard AIR installer file that assumes the AIR runtime can be separately downloaded during installation or is already installed on the target device.
  • Mac installer - Creates a complete Macintosh installer file.
  • Application with runtime embedded - Creates an AIR installer file that contains the AIR runtime so no additional download is required.

Windows Installer

Select this option to compile a native, platform specific Windows installer (.exe) instead of a platform-independent AIR installer (.air).

Name

The name of the main file of the application. Defaults to the name of the FLA file.

Version

Optional. Specifies a version number for your application. Defaults to 1.0.

App ID

Identifies your application with a unique ID. You can change the default ID if you prefer. Do not use spaces or special characters in the ID. The only valid characters are 0-9, a-z, A-Z, . (dot), and - (dash), from 1 to 212 characters in length. Defaults to com.adobe.example.applicationName.

Description

Optional. Lets you enter a description of the application to display in the installer window when the user installs the application. Defaults to blank.

Copyright

Optional. Lets you enter a copyright notice. Defaults to blank.

Window Style

Specifies what window style (or chrome) to use for the user interface when the user runs the application on their computer. You can specify System Chrome (the default), which refers to the standard window visual style that the operating system uses. You can also specify Custom Chrome (opaque) or Custom Chrome (transparent). To display your application without the system chrome, select None. System Chrome surrounds the application with the operating-system standard window control. Custom Chrome (opaque) eliminates the standard system chrome and lets you create a chrome of your own for the application. (You build the custom chrome directly in the FLA file.) Custom Chrome (transparent) is like Custom Chrome (opaque), but it adds transparent capabilities to the edges of the page. These capabilities allow for application windows that are not square or rectangular in shape.

Render mode

Allows you to specify which method the AIR runtime uses to render graphic content. The options include:

  • Auto - automatically detect and use the fastest rendering method available on the host device.
  • CPU - Use the CPU.
  • Direct - Render using Stage3D. This is the fastest available rendering method.

For a list of processors that do not support Direct mode, see Stage3D unsupported chipsets, drivers | Flash Player 11, AIR 3.

Profiles

Which profiles to include when building the AIR file. To limit your AIR application to a specific profile, deselect the unneeded profiles. 

Included Files

Specifies which additional files and folders to include in your application package. Click the Plus (+) button to add files, and the folder button to add folders. To delete a file or folder from your list, select the file or folder and click the Minus (-) button.

By default, the application descriptor file and the main SWF file are automatically added to the package list. The package list shows these files even if you have not yet published the Adobe AIR FLA file. The package list displays the files and folders in a flat structure. Files in a folder are not listed, and full path names to files are shown but are truncated if necessary.

If you have added any AIR native extension files to the ActionScript library path, those files will appear in this list as well.

Icon files are not included in the list. When Animate packages the files, it copies the icon files to a temporary folder that is relative to the location of the SWF file. Animate deletes the folder after packaging is complete.

Signature settings

The Signature tab of the AIR Application & Installer Settings dialog box allows you to specify a code signing certificate for your application.

For more information about digital signatures, see Signing your application and Digitally signing an AIR file.

Icons settings

The Icons tab of the AIR Application And Installer Settings dialog box lets you specify an icon for the application. The icon is shown after you install the application and run it in the Adobe AIR runtime. You can specify four different sizes for the icon (128, 48, 32, and 16 pixels) to allow for the different views in which the icon appears. For example, the icon can appear in the file browser in thumbnail, detail, and tile views. It can also appear as a desktop icon and in the title of the AIR application window, as well as in other places.

The icon image defaults to a sample AIR application icon if no other icon files are specified (Flash CS5 only).

To specify an icon, click an icon size at the top of the Icons tab and then navigate to the file you want to use for that size. The files must be in PNG (Portable Network Graphics) format.

If you do specify an image, it must be the exact size (either 128x128, 48x48, 32x32, or 16x16). If you do not supply an image for a particular icon size, Adobe AIR scales one of the supplied images to create the missing icon image.

Advanced settings

The Advanced tab allows you to specify additional settings for the application descriptor file.

You can specify any associated file types that your AIR application should handle. For example, if you wanted your application to be the principal application for handling HTML files, you would specify that in the Associated File Types text box.

You can also specify settings for the following aspects of the application:

  • The size and placement of the initial window

  • The folder in which the application is installed

  • The Program menu folder in which to place the application.

The dialog box has the following options:

Associated file types

Lets you specify associated file types that the AIR application will handle. Click the Plus (+) button to add a new file type to the text box. Clicking the Plus button displays the File Type Settings dialog box. Clicking the Minus (-) button removes an item that is selected in the text box. Clicking the Pencil button displays the File Type Settings dialog box and allows you to edit an item that you’ve selected in the text box. By default, the Minus (-) and Pencil buttons are dimmed. Selecting an item in the text box enables the Minus (-) and Pencil buttons, allowing you to remove or edit the item. The default value in the text box is None.

Initial window settings

Lets you specify size and placement settings for the initial application window.

  • Width: Specifies the initial width of the window in pixels. The value is blank by default.

  • Height: Specifies the initial height of the window in pixels. The value is blank by default.

  • X: Specifies the initial horizontal position of the window in pixels. The value is blank by default.

  • Y: Specifies the initial vertical position of the window in pixels. The value is blank by default.

  • Maximum Width and Maximum Height: Specify the maximum size of the window in pixels. These values are blank by default.

  • Minimum Width and Minimum Height: Specify the minimum size of the window in pixels. These values are blank by default.

  • Maximizable: Lets you specify whether the user can maximize the window. This option is selected (or true) by default.

  • Minimizable: Lets you specify whether the user can minimize the window. This option is selected (or true) by default.

  • Resizable: Lets you specify whether the user can resize the window. If this option is not selected, Maximum Width, Maximum Height, Minimum Width, and Minimum Height are dimmed. This option is selected (or true) by default.

  • Visible: Lets you specify whether the application window is visible initially. The option is selected (or true) by default.

Other Settings

Lets you specify the following additional information regarding the installation:

  • Install Folder: Specifies the folder in which the application is installed.

  • Program Menu Folder (Windows only): Specifies the name of the program menu folder for the application.

  • Use Custom UI for Updates: Specifies what happens when a user opens an AIR installer file for an application that’s already installed. By default, AIR displays a dialog box that allows the user to update the installed version with the version in the AIR file. If you don’t want the user to make that decision and you want the application to have complete control over its updates, select this option. Selecting this option overrides the default behavior and gives the application control over its own updates.

Languages settings

The Languages pane alllows you to select the languages that you want your application to be associated with in the application store or marketplace. By selecting a language, you enable users of operating systems in that language to download your application. Note that these language settings do not do anything else to localize your application user interface.

If no languages are selected, the application is published with all languages supported. This prevents you from needing to select every language. The languages listed are those supported by Adobe AIR. Android may support additional languages.

File type settings

Animate displays the File Type Settings dialog box if you click the Plus (+) button or the Pencil button in the Associated File Types section of the Advanced tab to add or edit associated file types for the AIR application.

The only two required fields in this dialog box are Name and Extension. If you click OK and either of those fields is blank, Animate displays an error dialog box.

You can specify the following settings for an associated file type:

Name

The name of the file type (for example, Hypertext Markup Language, Text File, or Example).

Extension

The filename extension (for example, html, txt, or xmpl), up to 39 basic alphanumeric characters, (A-Za-z0-9), and without a leading period.

Description

Optional. A description of the file type (for example, Adobe Video File).

Content type

Optional. Specifies the MIME type for the file.

File Type Icon Settings

Optional. Lets you specify an icon that’s associated with the file type. You can specify four different sizes for the icon (128x128, 48x48, 32x32, and 16x16 pixels) to allow for the different views in which the icon appears. For example, the icon can appear in the file browser in thumbnail, detail, and tile views.

If you specify an image, it must be of the size that you specify. If you do not specify a file for a particular size, AIR uses the image of the closest size and scales it to fit for the given occurrence.

To specify an icon, either click the folder for the icon size and select an icon file to use or enter the path and filename for the icon file in the text box next to the prompt. The icon file must be in PNG format.

After a new file type is created, it is shown in the File Type list box in the Advanced Settings dialog box.

Failure to create application and installer files

The application and installer files fail to be created in the following instances:

  • The application ID string has an incorrect length or contains invalid characters. The application ID string can be from 1 to 212 characters and can include the following characters: 0-9, a-z, A-Z, . (dot), - (hyphen).

  • Files in the Included Files list do not exist.

  • The sizes of custom icon files are incorrect.

  • The AIR destination folder does not have write access.

  • You have not signed the application or have not specified that it is an Adobe AIRI application that will be signed later.

Signing your application

All Adobe AIR applications must be signed to be installed on another system. Animate provides the ability, however, to create unsigned Adobe AIR installer files so that the application can be signed later. These unsigned Adobe AIR installer files are called an AIRI (AIR Intermediate) package. This capability provides for cases in which the certificate is on a different machine or signing is handled separately from application development.

Sign an Adobe AIR application with a pre-purchased digital certificate from a root certificate authority

  1. Choose File > AIR 2 Settings and then click on the Signature tab.

    This tab has two radio buttons that allow you to either sign your Adobe AIR application with a digital certificate or prepare an AIRI package. If you sign your AIR application, you can either use a digital certificate granted by a root certificate authority or create a self-signed certificate. A self-signed certificate is easy to create but is not as trustworthy as a certificate granted by a root certificate authority.

  2. Select a certificate file from the pop-up menu or click the Browse button to locate a certificate file.

  3. Select the certificate.

  4. Enter a password.

  5. Click OK.

For more information on signing your AIR application, see Digitally signing an AIR file.

Create a self-signed digital certificate

  1. Click the Create button. The Self-Signed Digital Certificate dialog box opens.

  2. Complete the entries for Publisher Name, Organization Unit, Organization Name, Country, Password, and Confirm Password. For Country, you can select from the menu or enter a 2-letter country code that does not appear in the menu. For a list of valid country codes, see http://www.iso.org/iso/country_codes.

  3. Specify the type of certificate.

    The Type option refers to the level of security that the certificate carries. 1024-RSA uses a 1024-bit key (less secure), and 2048-RSA uses a 2048-bit key (more secure). The default is 2048-RSA. 

  4. Save the information in a certificate file by completing the Save As entry or clicking the Browse button to browse to a folder location.

  5. Click OK.

  6. In the Digital Signature dialog box, enter the password you assigned in the second step of this procedure and click OK.

To have Animate remember the password you used for this session, click Remember Password For This Session.

If the Timestamp option is unselected when you click OK, a dialog box warns that the application will fail to install when the digital certificate expires. If you click Yes in response to the warning, time stamping is disabled. If you click No, the Timestamp option is automatically selected and time stamping is enabled.

For more information on creating a self-signed digital certificate, see Digitally signing an AIR file.

You can also create an AIR Intermediate (AIRI) application without a digital signature. A user cannot install the application on a desktop, however, until you add a digital signature.

Prepare an AIRI package that will be signed later

  • In the Signature tab, select Prepare An AIR Intermediate (AIRI) File That Will Be Signed Later, and click OK.

    The digital signature status changes to indicate that you have chosen to prepare an AIRI package that will be signed later, and the Set button changes to a Change button.

If you choose to sign the application later, you will need to use the command-line AIR Developer Tool included with Animate and with the AIR SDK. For more information, see Building Adobe AIR Applications.

Add or remove a version of the AIR SDK

You can add new releases and custom versions of the AIR SDK to Animate. Once added, the new SDK appears in the player target list in the Publish Settings.

To add an new verision of the SDK:

  1. Download the new AIR SDK folder.
  2. In Animate, choose Help > Manage AIR SDK.
  3. In the Manage AIR SDK dialog, click the plus "+" button and then browse to the new AIR SDK folder. Click OK.
  4. Click OK in the Manage AIR SDK dialog box.

The new SDK appears in the Player Target list in Publish Settings. The lowest acceptable SDK version should be greater than the version included with Animate.

To remove a version of the SDK:

  1. In Animate, choose Help > Manage AIR SDK.
  2. In the Manage AIR SDK dialog, select the SDK you want to remove.
  3. Click the minus "-" button. Click OK.

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