Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR)
Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), also known as Adobe AIR, is a cross-platform runtime environment developed by Adobe Systems for building rich Internet applications using Adobe Flash, Adobe Flex, HTML, or Ajax, that can be deployed as desktop applications.
Overview
AIR is intended to be 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 Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) that can be deployed onto the desktop, rather than 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 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 January 28, 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 due to the fact that 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 February, 2010, Adobe still bundles Adobe AIR (along with the application Acrobat.com) with the Adobe Reader 9.3 download, with no option for exclusion, and the installation file for Adobe Reader 9.3 still installs Adobe AIR without user permission.
Versions:
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:
Adobe AIR 1.5
- Adobe AIR 1.5 was released on November 17, 2008. New capabilities included:
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.
Development environment
Adobe provides three ways of developing AIR applications:
HTML/Ajax, either via Adobe's own Dreamweaver CS4 (In addition to Dreamweaver CS3), another HTML editor or a normal text editor in conjunction with the AIR SDK. Adobe Flash Builder (formerly Adobe Flex 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 HTML 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 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 whitepaper,[clarification needed] 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.
Data options:
AIR has four ways of working with data:
  • Database server via web services
  • Local XML file
  • Local SQLite database shipped with AIR
  • Encrypted local store included with AIR
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