Workflow for developing a desktop AIR application

The basic workflow for developing an AIR application is the same as most traditional development models: code, compile, test, and, towards the end of the cycle, package into an installer file.

You can write the application code using Flash, Flex, and ActionScript and compile using Flash Professional, Flash Builder or the mxmlc and compc command-line compilers. You can also write the application code using HTML and JavaScript and skip the compilation step.

You can test desktop AIR applications with the ADL tool, which runs an application without requiring it to be packaged and installed first. Flash Professional, Flash Builder, Dreamweaver, and the Aptana IDE all integrate with the Flash debugger. You can also launch the debugger tool, FDB, manually when using ADL from the command line. ADL, itself, does display errors and trace statement output.

All AIR applications must be packaged into an install file. The cross-platform AIR file format is recommended unless:

  • You need to access platform-dependent APIs such as the NativeProcess class.

  • Your application uses native extensions.

In such cases, you can package an AIR application as a platform-specific native installer file.

SWF-based applications

  1. Write the MXML or ActionScript code.

  2. Create needed assets, such as icon bitmap files.

  3. Create the application descriptor.

  4. Compile ActionScript code.

  5. Test the application.

  6. Package and sign as an AIR file using the air target.

HTML-based applications

  1. Write the HTML and JavaScript code.

  2. Create needed assets, such as icon bitmap files.

  3. Create the application descriptor.

  4. Test the application.

  5. Package and sign as an AIR file using the air target.

Creating native installers for AIR applications

  1. Write the code (ActionScript or HTML and JavaScript).

  2. Create needed assets, such as icon bitmap files.

  3. Create the application descriptor, specifying the extendedDesktop profile.

  4. Compile any ActionScript code.

  5. Test the application.

  6. Package the application on each target platform using the native target.

Note: The native installer for a target platform must be created on that platform. You cannot, for example, create a Windows installer on a Mac. You can use a virtual machine such as VMWare to run multiple platforms on the same computer hardware.

Creating AIR applications with a captive runtime bundle

  1. Write the code (ActionScript or HTML and JavaScript).

  2. Create needed assets, such as icon bitmap files.

  3. Create the application descriptor, specifying the extendedDesktop profile.

  4. Compile any ActionScript code.

  5. Test the application.

  6. Package the application on each target platform using the bundle target.

  7. Create an install program using the bundle files. (The AIR SDK does not provide tools for creating such an installer, but many third-party toolkits are available.)

Note: The bundle for a target platform must be created on that platform. You cannot, for example, create a Windows bundle on a Mac. You can use a virtual machine such as VMWare to run multiple platforms on the same computer hardware.