Archive for December, 2008

BBC launches iPlayer desktop on Adobe AIR

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The BBC announced a new version of its iPlayer desktop application that lets viewers stream programs for up to seven days after broadcast or download and watch them for up to 30 days.

As Adobe platform evangelist Andrew Shorten points out his blog post, which has considerably more details, the application was built using the Flex 3 framework, Adobe AIR 1.5 and makes use of the Flash Media Rights Management Server (FMRMS) to DRM-protect content which is downloaded to the user’s desktop. Since it is built using AIR and Flex, it runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems (see our recent Linux announcement).

From the press release:

"Now, the new download manager allows users to view their favourite BBC shows, online or offline, with a high quality solution across operating systems."

Important note: Similar to the web version, The BBC desktop iPlayer is only available to UK audiences and can only be accessed within the United Kingdom. According to this BBC iPlayer help page, they are looking into adding additional region support in the future through BBC Worldwide. Andrew has a few more images on his blog post in case you are curious what it looks like.

Related links:

Tips on resolving application issues for Linux users

We have received a few reports from Linux users having trouble running applications with AIR 1.5. Most of these cases appear related to the fact that the user had previously installed AIR applications using Adobe AIR for Linux beta we made available on Labs (an early release).

In the release notes (.pdf), we mention that you need to reinstall versions of your AIR applications that were installed using the Adobe AIR 1.1 Linux beta. However, we thought we’d try and provide step by step instructions on how to do this and answer a few other questions that we have heard from Linux users.

Do I need to reinstall all of my AIR applications installed using the AIR 1.1 beta runtime before they will work on Adobe AIR 1.5 for Linux?
Yes. AIR Applications installed using the beta version of Adobe AIR 1.1 for Linux must be reinstalled before they will run on Adobe AIR 1.5 for Linux.

Do I need to remove data saved by previous installations of my AIR applications, for them to work with AIR 1.5?
Yes, this data needs to be cleaned up when transitioning to Adobe AIR 1.5. You can do this by removing the folders ".appdata", ".adobe/AIR" and ".macromedia/Flash_Player/www.macromedia.com/bin/air*" from your home directory ($HOME). Do note that this will remove passwords and other saved data stored by AIR applications and will need to be entered again.

How do I uninstall my Adobe AIR applications on Linux?
Adobe AIR applications are installed as a native package (.rpm or .deb) on Linux. To uninstall an AIR application on Linux, use your system’s package manager to search for and remove the application that you want to uninstall.

On Ubuntu 7.10:

  1. Launch "Synaptic Package Manager" from the "System" menubar (System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager)

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  2. Search for the application that you want to uninstall such as "Twhirl" or "TweetDeck"

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  3. Right click on the application in the search results, and click on "Mark for complete removal"

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  4. Click "Apply" to remove the application

On openSUSE 10.3:

  1. Launch the system’s package manager from the start menu (Computer -> Install Software)

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  2. Search for the application that you want to uninstall such as "Twhirl" or "TweetDeck"
  3. Remove the checkmark for the application’s package in the search results

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  4. Click the "Accept" button to remove the application

On Fedora 8:

  1. Launch the system’s package manager from the Start menu (Applications -> Add/Remove Software)

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  2. Search for the application that you want to uninstall under the "Search" tab such as "Twhirl" or "TweetDeck"
  3. Remove the checkmark for the application’s package in the search results

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  4. Click the "Apply" button to remove the application

How do I uninstall the Adobe AIR runtime betas on Linux?

Adobe AIR is installed as an .rpm or .deb depending on your particular system. To uninstall the runtime that was previously installed, search using your package manager (as described above) for "Adobe" or "adobe" and remove all of the packages AdobeAIR_enu", "adobeair_enu", "adobeair1.0-enu" or "adobeair-enu" from your system. Also remove the "adobe-certs" package from your system.

If you prefer using a terminal command line, you could do the following:

On Ubuntu 7.10 (.deb):

  1. dpkg -l | grep "adobe"
  2. sudo dpkg -r <AIR and adobe-certs package names found from previous command>

On openSUSE 10.3 (.rpm):

  1. rpm -qa | grep -i "adobe"
  2. sudo rpm -e <AIR and adobe-certs package names found from previous command>

On Fedora 8 (.rpm):

  1. rpm -qa | grep -i "adobe"
  2. sudo rpm -e <AIR and adobe-certs package names found from previous command>

How do I uninstall AIR 1.5 on Linux?

The easiest way to uninstall AIR from your system is through the "Adobe AIR Uninstaller" menuitem under Applications/Accessories.

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Alternatively, you could search for and remove the package "adobeair1.0" from the system (using the system’s package manager (e.g. Synaptic on Ubuntu)). If you prefer using a terminal command line, you could do the following:

On Ubuntu 7.10:

  • sudo dpkg -r adobeair1.0

On openSUSE 10.3:

  • sudo rpm -e adobeair1.0

On Fedora 8:

  • sudo rpm -e adobeair1.0

How do I uninstall AIR applications installed with AIR 1.5 on Linux?
Uninstall AIR applications exactly the way you would uninstall other applications on your system. The procedure is the same as outlined at the beginning of this post.

Why am I unable to install an AIR application through an install badge on a web page?
You will need to get the latest version of the Flash Player (10.0.15.3) to install AIR applications through an install badge.

Will AIR run on newer versions of Linux distributions? For example, Adobe AIR’s system requirements say Ubunutu 7.10, but I am running 8.10.
While we have not tested fully against newer versions of these distributions, we believe AIR should run fine in most cases. If you run into an issue, please send us a bug description using our feedback form and we will look into addressing it in a future version. For a list of our supported Linux distributions, please see our System Requirements page.

Will AIR run on Linux distributions not listed in your system requirements? For example, Red Hat Enterprise Linux?
Although we focused testing AIR against Fedora 8, Ubuntu 7.10, and openSUSE 10.3, it’s likely that AIR will run on other Linux distributions as well. For more information on the libraries required by AIR, see the Packages required to run Adobe AIR 1.5 for Linux technote. For a list of our supported Linux distributions, please see our System Requirements page.

Adobe AIR 1.5 now available for Linux

A month ago, at our MAX conference in San Francisco, Adobe announced the immediate availability of the Adobe AIR 1.5 runtime and SDK for Mac and Windows. However, since the beginning of the AIR project when the AIR runtime was originally known by its code name Apollo, it has been our intention to bring the runtime and SDK to the Linux community as well. Earlier this year we posted a public beta on Adobe Labs and collected feedback from thousands of users on forums, blogs, Twitter posts, and our team’s feedback form.

Today, we are very pleased to announce the availability of AIR 1.5 for Linux. Thousands of AIR applications such as Twhirl (a popular Twitter client), AOL’s Top 100 Videos, and Parleys.com, are now available to millions of Linux users. This announcement also means that web developers can now use the AIR SDK to create a single desktop application that works on Linux, Mac, and Windows without any changes.

Important note: In order to take advantage of the badge install feature of AIR, you will need to update to the latest version of the Flash Player for Linux (10.0.15.3).

Update: We made a follow-up post that answers a few frequently asked questions related to Adobe AIR for Linux including how to resolve an installation issue some users are experiencing. .

As Linux users are well aware, Linux is available in many different distributions. We decided to focus on three open distributions: Ubuntu, Fedora, and openSUSE based on feedback from the community. Please be sure to visit our updated system requirements page for additional information about the versions of distributions we are supporting.

Many of us here at Adobe are Linux fanatics and our commitment to the Linux community is stronger than ever. Adobe is a member of the Linux Foundation and collaborates with other members of the foundation to help improve Linux. In the past couple of months, at a product level, the Flash Player team not only simultaneously shipped Flash Player 10 on Mac, Windows, and Linux, but they also made an alpha version of Flash Player 10 available for 64-bit Linux distributions on Adobe Labs. Since the Flash Player is included inside of the AIR runtime, AIR 1.5 does natively not support 64-bit Linux distributions at this time. If you are interested in seeing AIR for Linux support 64-bit distributions, I’d like to encourage you to participate in the Player 10 64-bit prerelease forums and send a note to our team if you would like to see this support in AIR.

We’ve also posted a new tech notes describing how to run Adobe AIR on a 64-bit Linux operating system:

Our team would like to welcome your feedback on AIR 1.5. If you believe you are encountering a bug, please be sure to review the release notes (.pdf) and the user forums. If there is a specific bug or feature request that you would like to let us know about, please drop us a note by filling out the feedback form on our website. Thank you to the community of Linux developers and users that made this possible!

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Adobe AIR powered cyn.in desktop fuses instant messengers and web based collaboration

The cyn.in desktop client is a beautiful new Adobe AIR application designed to improve collaboration between teams. The application, created by Cynapse, includes a variety of powerful features designed to make communication and collaboration easy between teams including:

  • An "Activity Stream" for viewing events
  • Integrated search
  • Instant, threaded discussion for any item in the cyn.in desktop
  • One click status messages

cyn.in is open source, but it can be purchased as a hosted service or as an enterprise appliance. You can read more about the announcement on the Cynapse blog. Also, there is a brochure (pdf) that provides additional details about this product. Congratulations to the team at Cynapse for releasing an exciting new product!

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Build an AIR Application and Compete in the Ribbit $100,000 Killer App Challenge

Ribbit announced a potentially lucrative new contest called the $100,000 Killer App Challenge. This contest will award $100k in prize money to developers in five categories who submit applications that use Ribbit technology. This is a great opportunity to build an application using Flash, Flex, and/or Adobe AIR that not only shows off your developer skills, but also presents the chance to put a few dollars in your pocket.

Daniel Dura, a platform evangelist at Adobe and one of the judges for the challenge, has additional details on his blog as well. Be sure to read the official rules and regulations to make sure that you qualify.

Monetizing Applications with Adobe AIR

At Adobe MAX in Milan, I presented a session titled "Monetizing Applications with Adobe AIR." The goal of the talk was to provide an overview of known business models used by AIR developers to support the development of their applications. As part of the presentation, I also examined case studies that describe how developers are attempting to monetize and market their AIR applications. My slides are embedded below using Acrobat.com and also available for download (.pdf).

One company that continues to inspire me in this area is Storybook Anytime, creators of Sam’s Interactive Reader. Not only have they created an application that includes a content marketplace of interactive children’s books, but they recently released a companion Facebook application that drives new users to install the AIR-based desktop application. It’s a great example of how to use viral marketing to promote a desktop application using a new distribution channel. Quite impressively, content in their marketplace has been translated to Spanish as well.

Towards the end of the talk, I also highlight a few Adobe products that can help you build and monetize your Adobe AIR applications including:

  • Adobe Flash Media Interactive Server
    A high-performance streaming media server that supports multiway applications, including webcam chat, online games, VoIP, and a range of other interactive possibilities. Features include DVR functionality, Edge server caching, access control APIs, plug-ins, custom video services, and server-side video recording, including new support for H.264 format.
  • Adobe Flash Media Rights Management Server
    Helps protect Flash Video or H.264 (FLV or F4V) video files that are streamed or downloaded to a user’s machine and enforces usage permissions to support business models such as online rental or advertising-funded viewing.
  • LiveCycle Data Services ES
    A framework for building real-time applications that includes a data services API for synchronizing and managing data. LiveCycle Data Services is particularly valuable for AIR applications that need to run offline and quickly synchronize data back to a remote database when a user returns back online.
  • ColdFusion
    ColdFusion 8 makes it easy to create web services, such as application API’s, that can help manage the data and business logic layers of your AIR applications.

There are numerous other products Adobe is working on that can help you build your applications and we’ll be highlighting some of those technologies in upcoming posts on this blog. For example, Flex Builder 3, Dreamweaver CS4, Flash CS4. Fireworks CS4, and the Flex SDK are all powerful tools that can help you quickly build out your AIR applications.

My goal is to keep this presentation up-to-date. If you have thoughts on this presentation such as topics you would like to see covered, please feel free to leave a comment.

New Text and Layout Framework for Adobe AIR

Adobe Flash Player 10 added support for an amazing new text and layout engine bringing print-quality publishing to the web. With the release of Adobe AIR 1.5, this new engine is also available to developers building desktop applications since Flash Player 10 is included inside of the AIR runtime.

To make it even easier to work with this new text and layout engine, Adobe has released the Text Layout Framework on our Labs website, which delivers advanced, easy-to-integrate typographic and text layout features for advanced and creative typography. This framework works inside of the browser using Flash and outside of the browser using Adobe AIR. It is also extensible. There is a great sample application at the top of the Labs page that demonstrates some of the new features of this library (see screen shot below).

Features of the Text Layout Framework include:

  • Bidirectional text, vertical text and over 30 writing systems including Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Lao, the major writing systems of India, and others.
  • Selection, editing and flowing text across multiple columns and linked containers, and around inline images
  • Vertical text, Tate-Chu-Yoko (horizontal within vertical text) and justifier for East Asian typography
  • Rich typographical controls, including kerning, ligatures, typographic case, digit case, digit width and discretionary hyphens
  • Cut, copy, paste, undo and standard keyboard and mouse gestures for editing
  • Rich developer APIs to manipulate text content, layout, markup and create custom text components.

For more information on this technology, be sure to visit the Labs website where you can find release notes and download information. This is a Labs release and the team would appreciate hearing your feedback.
I’m looking forward to seeing how developres and designers take advantage of this powerful new library.

Signing applications on Adobe AIR

One of the most important features of AIR is the signing of applications, which allows users to know who built an application so they can decide whether to install. Adobe strongly recomends the use of a certificate issued by a well-known, trusted certificate authority (CA) for any application that is going to be distributed to the public.

The Adobe Developer center has a number of great articles that will take you through the all of the steps to digitally sign your AIR application.

One of the first steps to take is to acquire a certificate. To help make that easier, one of the most popular CAs, GlobalSign, is offering an end of year promotion for their certificates.