Read an Excerpt
Thanks for grabbing a copy of Adobe® AIR™ Programming Unleashed!
Adobe® AIR™ technology is dramatically changing the landscape of web development. Even prior to its 1.0 release, the excitement around this product even in beta was astounding. With each new build, more and more features were being baked into the Adobe AIR platformpushing the reach of Web technologies further into the desktop world.
If you are a developer who has been locked inside the browser world along with the rest of us, this technology will breathe new life into both you and your projects.
The goals of this book are remarkably simple:
- Make broad strokes through the fundamentals of the Adobe AIR platform to help you get up and running as quickly as possible
- Explain concepts in plain English in an easy-to-read format
- Offer approachable standalone code samples you can download, compile, and execute to see features in action
Personally, I've always had trouble understanding concepts presented in software books on the first pass. Although the authors might be the supreme authorities on a subject, it's conceivable that they sometimes forget what's easy for them is not easy for someone just getting started.
I've done my best to keep the writing on the straight and narrow with regard to simplicity. I sincerely hope it serves you well.
Who Should Read This Book?
This book is for any web developers looking to leverage what they already know and apply those skills in desktop software.
The Adobe AIR platform supports applications developed with HTML, AJAX, Adobe® Flex™, Adobe® Flash®, PDF, or virtually any combination thereof. I should note, however, that this title leans more toward Adobe AIR application development with Adobe Flex serving as the primary citizen.
If you're also new to Adobe Flex, don't worry. The examples presented within the chapters are approachable for newcomers.
Adobe Flex Builder 3 has everything you need to build applications for the Adobe AIR platform. It is a commercial product available in standard and professional versions. However, if you are an educator or student, you can obtain your copy free by visiting this Adobe website:
Standalone software development kits (SDK) are available for both Adobe Flex and Adobe AIR. Both are entirely free. Combined with your favorite IDE, you can build Adobe AIR applications at no cost beyond your own time. In addition, the Flex SDK is now open source! Nightly builds are available to the public. For information on downloads or submitting a patch or to simply peruse the bug database, visit
Adobe AIR is comprised of an SDK and a runtime component installed on the user's machine. It's similar to Adobe Flash, but, rather than operate within the browser context, the Adobe AIR platform offers a suite of native desktop functionality to applications. Another significant difference is that Adobe AIR applications are installed like native applications and offer direct access from the user's desktop.
- Intel Pentium 1GHz or faster processor
- Microsoft Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4; Windows XP with Service Pack 2; or Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise
- 512MB of RAM
Mac OS X Requirements
- PowerPC G4 1GHz or faster processor or Intel Core Duo 1.83GHz or faster processor
- Mac OS X v10.4.910 or 10.5.1 (PowerPC); Mac OS X v10.4.9 or later, 10.5.1 (Intel)
- 512MB of RAM
For Adobe AIR applications leveraging the full-screen video playback features of the integrated Adobe Flash player, the following configurations are recommended:
- Intel Pentium 2GHz or faster processor
- Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4; Windows XP with Service Pack 2; or Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise
- 512MB of RAM; 32MB of VRAM
Mac OS X
- PowerPC G4 1.8GHz or faster processor or Intel Core Duo 1.33GHz or faster processor
- Mac OS X v.10.4.9 or later or 10.5.1 (Intel or PowerPC; Intel processor required for H.264 video)
- 512MB of RAM; 32MB of VRAM
Adobe Flex Builder 3 is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) based on Eclipse in which you can code, build, test, and optimize Adobe Flex applications. It also comes with built-in Adobe AIR support, including debug support that allows developers to quickly launch and test applications without having to package and deploy. Adobe Flex Builder offers a single environment no matter what the nature of your project.
Adobe Flex Builder 3 can be downloaded via the Adobe website:
For information on upgrades and an Adobe Flex feature comparison chart, visit
Development of Adobe Flex Builder 3 for Linux is underway at the time of this writing. For more information, visit
Adobe Flex Builder 3 for Windows (Standard and Professional) Requirements
- Intel Pentium 4 processor
- Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista Home Premium
- 1GB of RAM (2GB recommended)
- 500MB of available hard-disk space (additional 500MB required for plug-in configuration)
- Java Virtual Machine: Sun JRE 1.4.2, Sun JRE 1.5 (included), IBM JRE 1.5, orSun JRE 1.6
- Eclipse 126.96.36.199 for plug-in configuration (Eclipse 3.33.4 recommended for Windows Vista)
- Adobe Flash Player 10 software (see following note)
- BEA Workshop 10.1
- IBM Rational Software Architect 188.8.131.52 (Eclipse 3.3 plug-in configuration only)
Adobe Flex Builder 3 for Mac OS (Standard and Professional)
- PowerPC G4 1.25GHz or Intel processor
- Mac OS X v10.4.710.4.10 or 10.5
- 1GB of RAM (2GB of RAM recommended)
- 500MB of available hard-disk space
- Java Virtual Machine: JRE 1.5 or JRE 1.6 from Apple
- Eclipse 184.108.40.206 (for plug-in configuration)
- Adobe Flash Player 10 software
Note - When installing Adobe Flex Builder 3, the latest version of the Adobe Flash Player 10 is also installed. You can verify the version of the player by visiting Adobe's website: http://kb.adobe.com/selfservice/viewContent.do?externalId=tn_15507.
Adobe Flex 3 SDK
Although Adobe Flex Builder 3 offers a seamless environment for Adobe Flex and Adobe AIR development, they are not mandatory. The Adobe Flex SDK on its own contains everything needed to build Adobe Flex applications from a command line.
In other cases, even if you're developing applications in Adobe Flex Builder 3, you still need to download the SDK if you're planning on using a build process (for example, Apache ANT). The requirements for Adobe Flex 3 SDK are as follows:
Code Samples for This Book
- Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003, Java 1.4 (Sun, IBM, or BEA) or 1.5 (Sun)
- Mac OS X v10.4.x, Java 1.5 (as shipped from Apple) on PowerPC or Intel processor
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 or 4, SUSE 10, Java 1.4 (Sun, IBM, or BEA) or 1.5 (Sun)
- Solaris 9, 10, Java 1.4 or 1.5 (Sun) Compilers only
- 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)
- 200MB of available hard-disk space
Every concept introduced in this book is backed up with a complete code sample. Each of these is available as a standalone Adobe AIR project that can be built and run inside of Adobe Flex Builder.
For your added convenience, all project files have been made available on Google Code. Simply install the Subversion Eclipse plug-in directly into Adobe Flex Builder, point to the code repository, and sync! See Appendix C, "Downloading Source Code for Adobe AIR Programming Unleashed," for instructions on checking out the code files.
Optionally, all code will also be available as a Zip archive at the following location: http://www.informit.com/title/9780672329715.
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