Posts in Category "AIR"

Why does AIR install only on rpm/deb based Linux distros?

AIR applications are not web applications running outside the browser, but are full-fledged desktop applications with their own windows and access to the filesystem, clipboard and other system resources.
Being desktop applications, they should also integrate well with the system’s package manager (instead of being simply extracted to a directory). On Windows, this corresponds to “Add/Remove Programs”. On Linux, this means the likes of Synaptic or Pirut. This makes it easy for users – since they use the system’s package manager to uninstall other applications, it should be no different for AIR applications. AIR also depends on the package manager for version management of applications (and of the runtime itself) and to ensure that required dependencies are fulfilled.
Since rpm and deb are the most popular package formats, we chose to focus on them. They have been widely adopted, are used in several popular Linux distributions and are not specific to a distro. Who knows which formats will be popular by the time the next version of AIR is released!
Though AIR’s installer is available as a self-extracting executable and AIR applications are distributed as .air files, both of these get installed on the system as native rpm/deb packages. We’re considering alternative distribution formats – If you have an idea or suggestion, please let us know.

Tutorial – Using Flex Builder Linux with AIR 1.5.1

This article is based on the earlier tutorial about AIR Beta + Flex Builder, but is updated for the latest release of AIR (1.5.1).
The primary changes are:
1. Use AIR 1.5.1 SDK instead of AIR Beta SDK
2. Use Flex SDK 3.3 instead of Flex SDK 3.1

Some changes are required to get Flex Builder to use the latest AIR SDK for Linux. This is a step-by-step guide to get things up and running.
1. Ensure that you have Sun JRE >= 1.5 in your PATH (This can be verified with “java -version”)
2. Install Eclipse (cpp or java) >= 3.3 to $HOME/eclipse
    – Download Eclipse IDE 3.4 from http://www.eclipse.org/downloads/ (if you do not already have Eclipse >= 3.3)
    – Update: Use Eclipse IDE 3.3 (instead of 3.4), to enable the mxml editor (syntax highlighting and more) (from http://www.eclipse.org/downloads/packages/release/europa/winter)
    – cd ~
    – tar zxvf ./eclipse-cpp-ganymede-SR2-linux-gtk.tar.gz
    – This extracts eclipse under ~/eclipse
3. Install Flex Builder alpha 4 Eclipse plugin
    – Download the Flex Builder installer from http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/flexbuilder_linux.html and launch it
    – chmod +x ~/flexbuilder_linux_install_a4_081408.bin
    – ~/flexbuilder_linux_install_a4_081408.bin
    – Choose $HOME/eclipse as the “Existing Eclipse Folder”:
FlexBuilderEclipse.png
    – Choose “Proceed with caution” if prompted
FlexBuilderEclipseWarning.png
4. Install Flex SDK 3.3
    – Download Flex SDK 3.3 from http://opensource.adobe.com/wiki/display/flexsdk/Download+Flex+3
       – Choose Build 3.3.0.4852, Adobe Flex SDK dated Feb 5, 2009
    – Unzip it to a new folder (“3.3″) under ~/Adobe_Flex_Builder_Linux/sdks:
    – cd ~/Adobe_Flex_Builder_Linux/sdks
    – mkdir 3.3
    – cd 3.3
    – unzip ~/flex_sdk_3.3.zip
5. Install AIR 1.5.1 SDK under Flex SDK 3.3
    – Download Adobe AIR 1.5.1 SDK from http://www.adobe.com/products/air/tools/sdk/ to $HOME
    – Untar it to the folder created above
       – cd ~/Adobe_Flex_Builder_Linux/sdks/3.3
       – tar jxvf ~/air_1.5_sdk.tbz2
    – Rename bin/adl to bin/adl_lin and bin/adt to bin/adt_lin (These are what Flex Builder expects)
       – cd bin
       – mv adl adl_lin
       – mv adt adt_lin
6. Set the newly installed SDK as default
    – Launch eclipse
       – ~/eclipse/eclipse
    – Window -> Preferences -> Flex -> Installed Flex SDKs
    – Click on Add
    – Select ~/Adobe_Flex_Builder_Linux/sdks/3.3 as the “Flex SDK location”. Click OK.
AddFlexSDK3_3.png
       – Choose “Flex 3.3″ as the active SDK by selecting its checkbox. Click OK.
FBPrefs3_3.png
We’re done!
To verify that the setup is correct:
1. Create a new AIR application
    – Create a new Flex Builder project (through File -> New)
    – Choose a project name, choose “Desktop application (runs in Adobe AIR)” as the application type. Click Finish.
    – If you see the message “Could not open the editor: Assertion failed”, right-click on the .mxml file in the Flex Navigator panel and select Open with > Text Editor. You can then edit the mxml file, though without syntax highlighting and other features of the mxml editor.
2. Edit the new application’s .mxml file
    – Change the line:
       <mx:WindowedApplication xmlns:mx=”http://www.adobe.com/2006/mxml” layout=”absolute”>
       to
       <mx:WindowedApplication xmlns:mx=”http://www.adobe.com/2006/mxml” layout=”absolute” title=”{NativeApplication.nativeApplication.runtimeVersion}”>
3. Run the application (Ctrl-F11)
4. The application’s window will show up. Check the title of the window. It should be “1.5.1.8210” (latest AIR SDK) if everything was set up correctly.
The application can be packaged as a .air file through File -> Export -> Flex Builder -> Release Build.
1_5_1_8210.png

Setting the correct MIME type for AIR applications on web servers

The Developer Release Notes for AIR 1.5.1 mention the following:

For client browsers to recognize an AIR application when being downloaded, the web server hosting the AIR application needs to map the application/vnd.adobe.air-applicationinstaller-package+zip MIME content type to the “.air” extension. For example, for an Apache web server, add the following to the AddType section:
AddType application/vnd.adobe.air-application-installer-package+zip .air

You can do this in the web server configuration (e.g. httpd.conf or .htaccess for Apache).
Some webservers have an incorrect default value of the MIME type for AIR applications: e.g. Some versions of Apache serve AIR applications with the following MIME type: application/vnd.adobe.apollo-install-package. This MIME type was prevalent when AIR was still in its Beta phase. Unless the MIME type is corrected on servers, there would be a mismatch when a user downloads an AIR application and tries to open it right away.
The following screenshots (Ubuntu Linux 8.10, Firefox 3.0, AIR 1.5.1 installed) highlight the problem encountered by users if the MIME type is not correctly set on the web server.
When clicking on a .air file in the browser, the following dialog is presented. Note the absence of AIR’s icon next to the file’s name (AIRDashboard.air)

ServerMIME1.png

The download list shows the download as failed:

ServerMIME3.png

and the application installation does not begin:

ServerMIME2.png

If the web server is configured with the correct MIME type, the same sequence is as follows:

ServerMIME01.png

 

ServerMIME02.png

 

ServerMIME03.png

If you administer a web server, please ensure that the correct MIME type has been added for .air files. If you are a user and encounter the problem highlighted above, do let your web server administrator know.

New Adobe AIR Marketplace

AdobeAIRMarketPlaceBanner.png
Adobe AIR Marketplace is a central resource that allows developers to make their applications available to millions of potential users and makes it easy for consumers to find them.
The new AIR marketplace was launched a few days ago and features a brand new look and several new features. Do check it out!
Related links:

Installation Issues with AIR 1.5 on Linux?

We’ve been scouting blog posts, tweets and news articles and it seems that some users are facing problems trying to install AIR apps with the 1.5 Linux release.
If you had installed an AIR app with the Beta release of AIR, there’s some cleanup required before you can use the app with AIR 1.5.
We’ve put up a FAQ about installation issues on the AIR team blog – If you’re unable to use your favorite application with AIR 1.5, do have a look. After the requisite cleanup, TweetDeck 0.20, twhirl 0.8.7 etc. work great!

twhirl_0_8_7.png

Writing cross-platform AIR applications

We’ve seen a significant number of AIR applications making some common mistakes that result in these apps running fine on one platform (e.g. Windows), but being broken on others (Linux and Mac).
Charles Ward has put together an excellent article on the Adobe AIR Developer Center, highlighting best practices to make sure your application works well on all supported platforms.
I strongly recommend all AIR developers to go through the article.

AIR 1.5 Released (Win/Mac)

Aligned with Adobe MAX 2008, we’ve just released AIR 1.5 for Windows and Macintosh. This release includes the following new features:
– Flash Player 10 features including 3D effects, pixel bender, new drawing API, dynamic media streaming, dynamic sound API, and more
– Updated WebKit HTML engine with greatly improved JavaScript performance
– Encrypted local SQL database support
– JavaScript debugging support
– Support for five additional languages (Swedish, Dutch, Czech, Turkish, and Polish)
– Updated DRM engine
The Linux version is expected soon.

Tutorial – AIR Beta SDK with Flex Builder on Linux

Update: An updated tutorial, for AIR 1.5.1 SDK, has been posted at http://blogs.adobe.com/ashutosh/2009/03/flex_builder_linux_with_air_15.html


Some changes are required to get Flex Builder to use the new AIR Beta SDK for Linux. This is a step-by-step guide to get things up and running.
1. Ensure that you have Sun JRE >= 1.5 in your PATH (This can be verified with “java -version”)
2. Install Eclipse (cpp or java) >= 3.3 to $HOME/eclipse
    – Download Eclipse 3.4 from http://www.eclipse.org/downloads/ (if you do not already have Eclipse >= 3.3)
    – cd ~
    – tar zxvf ./eclipse-cpp-ganymede-linux-gtk.tar.gz
    – This extracts eclipse under ~/eclipse
3. Install Flex Builder alpha 4 Eclipse plugin
    – Download the Flex Builder installer from http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/flexbuilder_linux.html and launch it
    – chmod +x ~/flexbuilder_linux_install_a4_081408.bin
    – ~/flexbuilder_linux_install_a4_081408.bin
    – Choose $HOME/eclipse as the “Existing Eclipse Folder”:
FlexBuilderEclipse.png
    – Choose “Proceed with caution” if prompted
FlexBuilderEclipseWarning.png
4. Install Flex SDK 3.1
    – Download Flex SDK 3.1 from http://opensource.adobe.com/wiki/display/flexsdk/Download+Flex+3
       – Choose Build 3.1.0.2710, Adobe Flex SDK dated Aug 15, 2008
    – Unzip it to a new folder (“3.1″) under ~/Adobe_Flex_Builder_Linux/sdks:
    – cd ~/Adobe_Flex_Builder_Linux/sdks
    – mkdir 3.1
    – cd 3.1
    – unzip ~/flex_sdk_3.1.0.2710.zip
5. Install AIR Beta SDK under Flex SDK 3.1
    – Download Adobe AIR SDK from http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/air_linux.html to $HOME
    – Untar it to the folder created above
       – cd ~/Adobe_Flex_Builder_Linux/sdks/3.1
       – tar jxvf ~/adobeair_linux_sdk_b1_091508.tbz2
    – Rename bin/adl to bin/adl_lin and bin/adt to bin/adt_lin (These are what Flex Builder expects)
       – cd bin
       – mv adl adl_lin
       – mv adt adt_lin
6. Set the newly installed SDK as default
    – Launch eclipse
       – ~/eclipse/eclipse
    – Window -> Preferences -> Flex -> Installed Flex SDKs
    – Click on Add
    – Select ~/Adobe_Flex_Builder_Linux/sdks/3.1 as the “Flex SDK location”. Click OK.
FlexBuilderAddFlexSDK.png
       – Choose “Flex 3.1″ as the active SDK by selecting its checkbox. Click OK.
FlexBuilderPreferences.png
We’re done!
To verify that the setup is correct:
1. Create a new AIR application
    – Create a new Flex Builder project (through File -> New)
    – Choose a project name, choose “Desktop application (runs in Adobe AIR)” as the application type. Click Finish.
2. Edit the new application’s .mxml file
    – Change the line:
       <mx:WindowedApplication xmlns:mx=”http://www.adobe.com/2006/mxml” layout=”absolute”>
       to
       <mx:WindowedApplication xmlns:mx=”http://www.adobe.com/2006/mxml” layout=”absolute” title=”{NativeApplication.nativeApplication.runtimeVersion} – {NativeApplication.nativeApplication.runtimePatchLevel}”>
3. Run the application (Ctrl-F11)
4. The application’s window will show up. Check the title of the window. It should be “1 – 6590″ (new AIR SDK) and not “1.0 – 20080320″ (old AIR SDK) if everything was set up correctly.
The application can be packaged as a .air file through File -> Export -> Flex Builder -> Release Build.


Update: An updated tutorial, for AIR 1.5.1 SDK, has been posted at http://blogs.adobe.com/ashutosh/2009/03/flex_builder_linux_with_air_15.html

Does the AIR Beta work for your Linux distribution?

Although the list of supported distributions (Ubuntu 7.10, Fedora 8, OpenSuSE 10.3) is small compared to the total number of Linux distros out there, we expect AIR to run fine on a lot more of them.
It is not possible for us to exhaustively test all features on all distributions – we depend on you for this feedback. To ensure that AIR runs on as many distributions as possible, implementation of AIR features is based on standard specifications (such as the FreeDesktop specs). More and more distributions, window managers and desktop environments now adhere to these.
It would also be great to have feedback about other devices that run Linux, such as OLPC XO, EEE PC and Samsung Q1U.
System requirements are listed as part of the release notes.
We’d like to know if the latest release on labs works for your favorite distribution – please go ahead and post the result in a comment below.

Adobe AIR for Linux Beta is out!

We just released the beta version of Adobe AIR for Linux on Adobe Labs!
This Labs release of AIR has all features implemented for Linux, except support for DRM and badge installations. Major new features include support for system tray icons, keyboard shortcuts, localization, internationalized input (IME support), filetype registration, SWF and PDF in HTML, multi-monitor support, fullscreen mode, encrypted local storage, support for V4L2 cameras and printing.
The list of supported distributions has also been updated to:
1. Ubuntu 7.10
2. Fedora 8
3. OpenSuSE 10.3
Any AIR application that works on Windows/Mac AIR release version 1.1 should ideally work on Linux too, except if it uses DRM features. Let us know if you face any issues.
Release notes provide more details about system requirements, installation instructions and any known issues.
Go get some fresh AIR and let us know how it works out for you!
airlinux_fma_557x232.jpg