Enhanced developer workflows in AIR 3.3!

It took some doing but it’s finally out! AIR 3.3 packs in a lot of features, and by lot I mean a LOT. Especially for iOS developers. We have been focused improving the development experience for iOS for quite some time now and it shows. Let’s see what’s new in AIR 3.3 for iOS.

We have in built support for iOS 5.1(finally!). The runtime is now built with iOS SDK 5.1. The captive SDK is also version 5.1. The captive sdk now includes all public frameworks and dynamic libraries, not just the ones used by the runtime itself. This means you will not need to use the -platformsdk to package against the iOS SDK 5.1 anymore. Not even if your native extension uses a framework or library not used by the runtime.

In case you do need to specify an external sdk for any reason, you can now do so on Windows as well. Till AIR 3.2, the -platformsdk option was available only on Mac. It is now available on Windows also.

Another feature greatly in demand was support for debugging over USB. Now you finally have it on both Mac and Windows. Debug away!

And now we come to my favorite feature – iOS simulator support. While the ADL simulator is improving day by day, we are aware that it has a long way to go to catch up with the iOS simulator in terms of delivering the iPhone experience – especially when testing iOS specific features or native extensions. AIR developers can now use the iOS simulator just as well as the native developers. We have introduced two new targets in ADT – ipa-test-interpreter-simulator and ipa-debug-interpreter-simulator. Use these to package your application for testing on the simulator. If you are building native extensions, build your native library for simulator and use the platform name iPhone-x86 instead of iPhone-ARM when packaging your ANE. Not only will you not need to have a device handy to test your code, packaging for simulator is also a lot faster. ADT also lets you install your app on the simulator.

The authoring tools have not had the time to incorporate these features. Let’s hope they do so soon.

These were just the enhancements to the developer workflows for iOS. AIR 3.3 delivers a whole lot of other features as well. Check out complete list in the release notes.