Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

A breath of fresh AIR from Adobe

Category: Adobe

>Okay so it was a corny title but I couldn’t help myself.

Adobe has released AIR Beta 2. This release tackles a number of issues and dramatically improves desktop integration. What’s new:

  • System Tray icon/Dock Bar Bounce
  • Synchronous database API
  • Native menus
  • Drag and drop enhancements including bitmap support
  • Windowing improvements such as Z-order control and enhanced Activation and focus support
  • Improved Install dialog look and feel
  • Application-initiated runtime updates
  • HTML security model improvements
  • Mouse support for double-click and scroll-wheel
  • Per-machine runtime installs
  • Performance and memory enhancements
  • XSLT support
  • Support for Windows 2000
  • Hundreds of bug fixes

Full details of these changes can be found in the Developer FAQ.

Security Updates

Adobe spent a lot of time revamping the security model for AIR specifically breaking out security into two sandboxes to allow developers to better manage their security needs:

Capability

AIR Application Sandbox

AIR Classic sandbox

Default access to AIR API’s?

Yes

No

Access to functions written in Application Sandbox that use AIR APIs via SandboxBridge?

N/A

Yes

Can load remote script? For example, <script src=“remote_url”></script>

No

Yes

Can execute cross-domain requests (XHR)?

Yes

Yes

Support for getting strings to code after load event?

  • eval() function
  • setTimeout(“string”, milis)
  • setInterval(“string”, milis)
  • "javascript: " urls
  • attribute handlers on elements such as onclick=“myClick()" that are inserted via innnerHTML
  • creation of script tags and setting textContent

No

Yes

Ajax frameworks will work without any changes?

No

Yes

The AIR HTML Security FAQ goes into great detail about the rationale behind the changes and how they might effect AIR application development.

Important Links

Adobe AIR
http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/air/

Develop with Adobe AIR with HTML and JavaScript
http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/air/develop_ajax.html

Migration instructions (moving from Beta 1 to Beta 2)
http://labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/AIR:Migration

AIR SDK for Building Applications:
http://www.adobe.com/go/getairsdk

Sample Applications:
http://www.adobe.com/go/air_samples

AIR Dreamweaver CS3 extension
http://labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/AIR:Dreamweaver_CS3_Extension

Aptana plugin (beta 2 compatible)
http://www.aptana.com/air/

Posted by Rey Bango at 6:30 am
10 Comments

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3.4 rating from 15 votes

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Linux binary for AIR ?

Comment by ct27stf — October 2, 2007

FYI, a missing word and a typo in the third sentence. Sixth bulleted item should be the end of the fifth item.

Comment by Jc — October 2, 2007

@Jc: Thanks for the help! :D

Comment by Rey Bango — October 2, 2007

@ct27stf

It will exist.. after 1.0 release..

Comment by Pedro — October 2, 2007

“Migration instructions (moving from Beta 2 to Beta 1)” should be other way around.

I am really looking forward to one stable production release :) ..

Comment by Asad — October 2, 2007

Yeah, let’s make sure the Windows and OSX versions are way far ahead of a _possible_ linux version by releasing new features and bug fixes before a linux version is even available. We should start a pool as to when Adobe is going to release a linux version.

Comment by Andy — October 2, 2007

Andy,

Why would changes to the feature set and security model not be part of a Linux port?

Comment by Trevor — October 2, 2007

Off Topic:
Honestly, I have been watching linux support from Adobe for a long time and while they were very dormant for quite a while, in the past year Adobe has brought Flash and Acrobat Reader completely up to date. The last update for Flash was put up with the update for Windows / Mac. The only feature that has been delayed in recent updates was hardware rendering support for full-screen which was released shortly after for linux (a matter of weeks). Honestly, knowing a little bit about linux graphics woes, I can totally understand why.

Due to recent activity, I’m willing to spend some time encouraging Adobe for their obvious efforts with hopes that they continue the great work rather than complaining. After all, how many other companies of that size are giving linux the attention? Here’s hoping they see rewards for it.

On topic:
Great article Rey, downloading the update now to check it out!

Mike.

Comment by Mike Kelp — October 2, 2007

By any chance, does anyone know if you can share a single Air database over a LAN with an Air app, or if that is planned?

Comment by ziggy — October 3, 2007

@All – Per our developer FAQ, we will release a version of AIR that runs on Linux after we ship Mac and Windows version. See: http://labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/AIR:Developer_FAQ#Does_Adobe_AIR_support_Linux.3F

Adobe is very committed to support Linux. In fact, we announced an alpha version of Flex Builder at MAX just yesterday. It’s even available for download (again, it’s alpha quality so except bugs): http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flex/flexbuilder_linux/

@Mike: Generally, the idea of the local database is to store information locally and then synchronize it with a remote server. This can be done in the background, for instance. Adobe sells a product that helps with this called LiveCycle Data Services ES, but you could write the synchronization code yourself. LiveCycle Data Services offer advanced capabilities such as pushing data back to the client automatically.

Since an AIR local database is simply a file on disk, you should be able to access the file on a network drive if it’s mapped to the local file system. However, if two people access the database at the same time (similar to a file), one user might find the local file is locked for editing. The recommended approach then is to store files on your local database and then synchronize to the server.

- Rob
Product Manager, Adobe AIR

Comment by Rob Christensen — October 3, 2007

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