Adobe Air

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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.

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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.



With AIR, Adobe intends to provide a versatile runtime-environment that allows existing Flash, ActionScript, or HTML and JavaScript code to be used to construct Internet-based applications that have many of the characteristics of more traditional desktop-like programs. Adobe positions it as a browser-less runtime for RIAs that can be deployed onto the desktop, rather than as a fully-fledged application framework. Either deployment paradigm provides both advantages and disadvantages. A RIA deployed in a browser does not require installation, for example, while one deployed with AIR requires the application be packaged, digitally signed, and installed on the user's local file system. This provides access to local storage and file systems, while browser-deployed applications are more limited in where and how data can be accessed and stored. RIAs store users' data on their own web servers in most cases, but the ability to consume and work with data on a user's local file-system allows for greater flexibility. On the contrary, it has also caused enormous amount of frustrations with issues related to installation to issues concerning incompatibility after upgrade. The latest version, for various reasons, fails to install and various forums on the Internet include with complaints.


In January 2009, Adobe claimed that there were over 100 million installations of Adobe AIR worldwide, and that "the majority of AIR runtime installations occur at the time the first AIR application is installed by a user". The large number of installations is actually because Adobe AIR was included with all downloaded installations of Adobe Reader 9 (released in July, 2008), with no option for exclusion either in the download or in the installation. As of August 2010 Adobe still bundles Adobe AIR (along with the application with the Adobe Reader 9.3 download, with no option for exclusion, and the installation file for Adobe Reader 9.3 also installs Adobe AIR.


"Apollo" 1.0 Betas


Adobe made a public preview release of AIR (then called Apollo) along with a software development kit (SDK) and extension for developing Apollo applications with the Flex framework, on March 19, 2007.


On June 10, 2007, Apollo was renamed to AIR and a public beta release of the runtime was launched. Public beta 2 of AIR SDK was released on October 1, 2007. Public beta 3, was released on December 12, 2007.

Adobe AIR 1.0


Version 1.0 of the Adobe AIR runtime and SDK was released on February 25, 2008.

Adobe AIR 1.1


Version 1.1 of Adobe AIR was released on June 16, 2008. This release included a number of new features including:

Support for additional languages including Chinese Traditional, Chinese Simplified, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish

Support for localizing the name, description local database error messages of the application

A new option that allows an application to be updated from an old certificate to a new one while preserving the identity of the application (for example from a self-signed certificate to a chained certificate)

A new property for detecting the space available on a drive

A new property for detecting whether the hosting operating system's window manager supports transparency


In addition, version 1.1 includes support for Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and 64-bit editions of Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise.

Adobe AIR 1.5


Adobe AIR 1.5 was released on November 17, 2008. New capabilities included:

Support for encrypting the local database

Inclusion of Flash Player 10 features

An updated version of WebKit with performance improvements due to a new JavaScript interpreter

Support for five new languages including Czech, Dutch, Swedish, Turkish and Polish

A Linux version was released on December 18, 2008.

Adobe AIR 1.5.1


Released on February 24, 2009, AIR 1.5.1 was primarily a compatibility update that includes bug fixes and security updates.

Adobe AIR 1.5.2


Released on July 30, 2009, AIR 1.5.2 introduced a number of minor new features and compatibility issues. Some of important fixes included:

When using the full-screen interactive mode an application using the 1.5.2 namespace can capture the keyDown event and call the preventDefault() method of the event

SWF content embedded within an HTML container could now be displayed with certain wmode settings.

Adobe AIR 1.5.3


Adobe AIR 1.5.3 was released on December 8, 2009. It included fixes for a number of compatibility and security related issues. The BBC iPlayer Desktop manager v1.5.15695.18135 is the first version to use AIR 1.5.3.

AIR 2.0


The Adobe AIR 2 public beta was released on November 16, 2009 followed by the beta 2 on February 2, 2010 and the release candidate on May 11, 2010. In addition, Adobe AIR for Android was announced on February 12, 2010. AIR 2 was officially released for Windows, Mac OS and Linux on June 10, 2010 and Android on October 8, 2010. It dropped support for PowerPC Macs.

AIR 2.5


Adobe AIR 2.5 was released on October 24, 2010 at the Adobe MAX 2010 conference.

Development environment


Adobe provides three ways of developing AIR applications:

HTML/Ajax, either via Adobe's own Dreamweaver CS4 (In addition to Dreamweaver CS3), any other HTML editor, or a normal text editor in conjunction with the AIR SDK.

Adobe Flash Builder

Flash CS4


Dreamweaver CS4/CS3 requires an additional extension to compile AIR applications, as does Flash CS3 in the form of an update. The cross-platform nature of the runtime means any HTML editor, coupled with the AIR SDK, can create AIR applications. AIR itself uses the WebKit rendering engine, along with Flash and PDF technologies.

JavaScript frameworks


Adobe AIR applications can be written entirely in JavaScript. Adobe AIR's JavaScript is modified slightly relative to web browsers in that it does not support the dynamic execution of code at runtime in the application sandbox (that is permitted inside the non-application or browser sandbox). According to the Adobe AIR security white paper, this restriction is designed to prevent remote content from attacking a user's system. Due to this restriction, JavaScript frameworks that make use of JavaScript functions like eval() were not initially compatible with Adobe AIR. However, several frameworks including Dojo Toolkit,jQuery, and ExtJS were updated to support Adobe AIR's application sandbox. Some frameworks like MooTools were already compatible.

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