Create, test, and deploy using the command line

You can create a mobile application without Flash Builder. You use the mxmlc, adl, and adt command line tools instead.

Here is the general process for developing and installing a mobile application on a device using command line tools. Each of these steps is described in more detail later:
  1. Compile the application with the mxmlc tool.
    mxmlc +configname=airmobile MyMobileApp.mxml

    This step requires that you pass the configname parameter set to “airmobile”.

  2. Test the application in AIR Debug Launcher (ADL) with the adl tool.
    adl MyMobileApp-app.xml -profile mobileDevice

    This step requires that you create an application descriptor file and pass it as an argument to the adl tool. You also specify the mobileDevice profile.

  3. Package the application using the adt tool.
    adt -package -target apk SIGN_OPTIONS MyMobileApp.apk MyMobileApp-app.xml MyMobileApp.swf

    This step requires that you first create a certificate.

  4. Install the application on your mobile device. To install your application on an Android device, you use the adb tool.
    adb install -r MyMobileApp.apk

    This step requires that you first connect your mobile device to your computer via USB.

  5. Deploy the mobile application to online stores.

Compile a mobile application with mxmlc

You can compile mobile applications with the mxmlc command-line compiler. To use mxmlc, pass the configname parameter the value airmobile; for example:
mxmlc +configname=airmobile MyMobileApp.mxml
By passing +configname=airmobile, you instruct the compiler to use the airmobile-config.xml file. This file is in the sdk/frameworks directory. This file performs the following tasks:
  • Applies the mobile.swc theme.

  • Makes the following library path changes:
    • Removes libs/air from the library path. Mobile applications do not support the Window and WindowedApplication classes.

    • Removes libs/mx from the library path. Mobile applications do not support MX components (other than charts).

    • Adds libs/mobile to the library path.

  • Removes the ns.adobe.com/flex/mx and www.adobe.com/2006/mxml namespaces. Mobile applications do not support MX components (other than charts).

  • Disables accessibility.

  • Removes RSL entries; mobile applications do not support RSLs.

The mxmlc compiler generates a SWF file.

Test a mobile application with adl

You can use AIR Debug Launcher (ADL) to test a mobile application. You use ADL to run and test an application without having to first package and install it on a device.

Debug with the adl tool

ADL prints trace statements and runtime errors to the standard output, but does not support breakpoints or other debugging features. You can use an integrated development environment such as Flash Builder for complex debugging issues.

Launch the adl tool

To launch the adl tool from the command line, pass your mobile application’s application descriptor file and set the profile parameter to mobileDevice, as the following example shows:
adl MyMobileApp-app.xml -profile mobileDevice

The mobileDevice profile defines a set of capabilities for applications that are installed on mobile devices. For specific information about the mobileDevice profile, see Capabilities of different profiles.

Create an application descriptor

If you did not use Flash Builder to compile your application, you create the application descriptor file manually. You can use the /sdk/samples/descriptor-sample.xml file as a base. In general, at a minimum, make the following changes:
  • Point the <initialWindow><content> element to the name of your mobile application’s SWF file:
    <initialWindow> 
        <content>MyMobileApp.swf</content> 
          ... 
    </initialWindow>
  • Change the title of the application, because that is how it appears under the application’s icon on your mobile device. To change the title, edit the <name><text> element:
    <name> 
        <text xml:lang="en">MyMobileApp by Nick Danger</text> 
    </name>
  • Add an <android> block to set Android-specific permissions for the application. Depending on what services your device uses, you can often use the following permission:
    <application> 
        ... 
        <android> 
            <manifestAdditions> 
                <![CDATA[<manifest> 
                    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET"/> 
                </manifest>]]> 
            </manifestAdditions> 
        </android> 
    </application>

You can also use the descriptor file to set the height and width of the application, the location of icon files, versioning information, and other details about the installation location.

For more information about creating and editing application descriptor files, see AIR application descriptor files.

Package a mobile application with adt

You use AIR Developer Tool (ADT) to package mobile applications on the command line. The adt tool can create an APK file that you can deploy to a mobile Android device.

Create a certificate

Before you can create an APK file, create a certificate. For development purposes, you can use a self-signed certificate. You can create a self-signed certificate with the adt tool, as the following example shows:
adt -certificate -cn SelfSign -ou QE -o "Example" -c US 2048-RSA newcert.p12 password

The adt tool creates the newcert.p12 file in the current directory. You pass this certificate to adt when you package your application. Do not use self-signed certificates for production applications. They only provide limited assurance to users. For information on signing your AIR installation files with a certificate issued by a recognized certification authority, see Signing AIR applications.

Create the package file

To create the APK file for Android, pass the details about the application to the adt tool, including the certificate, as the following example shows:
adt -package -target apk -storetype pkcs12 -keystore newcert.p12 -keypass password MyMobileApp.apk MyMobileApp-app.xml MyMobileApp.swf
The output of the adt tool is an appname.apk file.

Package for iOS

To package mobile applications for iOS, you must get a developer certificate from Apple, as well as a provisioning file. This requires that you join Apple’s developer program. For more information, see Prepare to build, debug, or deploy an iOS application.

Install a mobile application on a device with adb

You use Android Debug Bridge (adb) to install the application (APK file) on a mobile device running Android. The adb tool is part of the Android SDK.

Connect the device to a computer

Before you can run adb to install the APK file on your mobile device, connect the device to your computer. On Windows and Linux systems, connecting a device requires the USB drivers.

For information on installing USB drivers for your device, see Using Hardware Devices.

Install the application on a connected device

After you connect the device to your computer, you can install the application to the device. To install the application with the adb tool, use the install option and pass the name of your APK file, as the following example shows:
adb install -r MyMobileApp.apk

Use the -r option to overwrite the application if you have previously installed it. Otherwise, you must uninstall the application each time you want to install a newer version to the mobile device.

Deploy the application to online stores

You can deploy your application to online app stores like, the Android Market, Amazon Appstore, or Apple’s App store.