Perspective on the AIR 2.7 Release

Yesterday we shipped the AIR 2.7 release. Although a relatively minor release in the grand scheme of things, this one is an important milestone for the Flash Runtime. It marks the culmination of an enormous effort over the past two years to bring AIR to mobile devices.

It has not been a straightforward path. Our first work targeted the first generation iPhone, which included a couple of major challenges. First we had to craft an alternate compilation strategy for ActionScript, since using just-in-time compilation, our usual strategy, was not permitted. Then we had to try to achieve reasonable performance on what was a slow device.

Further bumps along the way included scrambling to support the iPad, being forced off of iOS entirely, and switching our focus to the quickly-evolving Android platform. For all their similarities, Android and iOS often taken different approaches under the covers which made, and continues to make, the creation of cross-platform APIs a real challenge.

Of course, bringing AIR to iOS and Android wasn’t simply a matter of porting the code, either. We also added a variety of new APIs to accommodate the different features found in mobile devices. That list includes major additions like Geolocation, Accelerometer, CameraUI, CameraRoll, and StageWebView. Smaller enhancements supported screen orientation, soft keyboards, and other mobile-specific capabilities.

For me, the 2.7 release brings us to an important milestone. AIR is now clearly a viable platform for building applications across the PlayBook, Android, and iOS, with thousands of AIR-based applications available in various marketplaces. We’ve rounded out a basic set of mobile-specific APIs, and, with the iOS performance enhancements in this release, eliminated performance as a barrier to adoption. Moving to mobile was a mad scramble; now we’re there.

With 2.7 out the door, we’re shifting our attention from merely moving to mobile to pushing the envelope. That AIR is a cross-platform runtime is no reason for us to compromise on capabilities, performance, or tools, and you’ll see that in our upcoming releases. The technologies that will drive the next generation of AIR are already in the works, running here behind closed doors. We look forward to sharing these with you in the months to come.

7 Responses to Perspective on the AIR 2.7 Release

  1. superabe says:

    Congratulations on the release. Great work on Air 2.7.
    Any chance we will be able to run H.264 videos in AIR on IOS anytime soon (by end of year perhaps)?

    • Oliver Goldman says:

      Yes, there’s a chance.

      • JP says:

        How about Airplay and Dolby Digital passthrough support?

      • Hi Oliver, thanks for your post.
        What do you mean by a change?
        How big is this? The reason why I am asking is basically because I don’tknow whether to wait until Air 2.7 on iOS has support for H26,4 or directly rewrite my entire application in CocoaTouch (a port of http://lienzo.yoteinvoco.com).
        Any clues on if this will actually happen somewhen not too much later than the end of 2011?

        Thank you so much!

        PS: My app basically needs to take a video, and play it with some additional functions, for which I have to overlay some components on top of the video, something which cannot be achieved with the WebStageView 🙁

  2. Great story, thanks for sharing it. AIR is really becoming an important technology, keep up your great work!

  3. AIR has been a great success on the project I’ve used it for. Thanks!

    As future releases approach, please don’t forget us old-school desktop developers! A more efficient, configurable and end-user-friendly installer would be a great thing to see.

  4. Sascha Ahmann says:

    Great release! Now the performance bottle-neck is getting smaller. However, are there any plans yet to integrate native (netstream) h.264 video streaming support? Along with that goes aac audio. I would be happy to know if this is on the roadmap, and when to expect those. Thx!