Tooling for Adobe AIR 2.6

Since we launched AIR 2.6, I’ve seen a lot of questions online about tooling support, so I thought I’d try to clear some things up.

We frequently release the AIR runtime and SDK in advance of releasing new versions of tools (Flash Builder and Flash Professional) for two reasons:

  1. The tools need some additional time to catch up to the SDK. In other words, the tools are downstream of the SDK, so after we’ve added all our features, the Flash Builder and Flash Professional teams need time to add and test support for those features.
  2. Although we could hold off on releasing the SDK until the tools were ready, we figure it’s better to put the runtime and the SDK into developers’ hands as early as possible since, even without tooling support, it is still possible to develop with them (primarily from the command line).

The next versions of Flash Builder and Flash Professional will support AIR 2.6, and will be out the first half of this year. In the meantime, I would encourage Flash Builder users to join the private pre-release program which gives you access to a build of Flash Builder which has support for AIR 2.6. There is currently no pre-release program offered for Flash Professional, although Flash Professional users can still use the AIR 2.6 SDK from the command line.

Although it’s not officially supported, Flash Builder users can also use either Flash Builder 4 or Flash Builder “Burrito” to build AIR 2.6 applications, but with two caveats:

  1. The mobile workflow in Burrito doesn’t work with the 2.6 SDK. You can build 2.6 applications (desktop or mobile), but Burrito won’t automatically deploy them to a device. You will need to use the 2.5 SDK to get device integration, or deploy your application to your device manually (I use the adb tool that comes with the Android SDK).
  2. If you use Flash Builder 4 for AIR 2.6 development, make sure to read the post How to Use AIR 2.6 with Flash Builder 4. (The quick answer is to add the -target-player=11 flag to the compiler arguments.)

We know it’s not ideal to release a new runtime and SDK without also releasing tooling support at the same time, but we feel like getting a new version of AIR out there early is worth the tradeoffs.