I found the AIR Platform to be both powerful, and very easy to develop with. You really just have to spend a few minutes to see how easy it is!
Step 1 – Install Adobe AIR & the Adobe AIR SDK
If you haven’t done so already, head over to Adobe to download and install the Adobe AIR Runtime, and the Adobe AIR SDK.
When you install the Adobe AIR SDK, you will want to add it’s
bin/ directory to your environment path.
Step 2 – Create Some Directories
Next we need to create some directories for our code, create the following directories:
/appname/ /appname/source/ /appname/source/icons/ /appname/build/
Step 3 – Create an Application Descriptor
Your application descriptor is an
XML file that sets some properties for your application.
Let’s call this file
application.xml and place it in
<application xmlns="http://ns.adobe.com/air/application/1.0"> <id>com.example.appname </id> <version>1.0 </version> <filename>AppName </filename> <initialWindow> <content>index.html </content> <visible>true </visible> <width>600</width> <height>600</height> </initialWindow> <icon> <image16x16>icons/appname-16.png</image16x16> <image32x32>icons/appname-32.png</image32x32> <image48x48>icons/appname-48.png</image48x48> <image128x128>icons/appname-128.png</image128x128> </icon> </application>
It should be pretty obvious what to put for all the values, the icon values will be used as your application icon, you can omit these if you don’t really want to create the PNG’s, but it’s kind of cool to see your own icons.
There are a lot more optional tags you can add, check out the
templates/descriptor-template.xml file in the Air SDK.
Step 4 – Create your Application
The next step can be as detailed as you like, but really all you need to do is create an
<html> <head> <title>My Window Title</title> </head> <body> <h1>Hello World</h1> </body> </html>
/appname/source/ folder for those assets, and use them just like you would in a normal web application.
Step 5 – Test your Application
You are probably getting pretty anxious to test your new Adobe AIR application, to do that it’s pretty simple.
Open up a command prompt, or shell and navigate to
/appname/source/ then run the following command:
If all goes well your application should launch. There is a good chance however that you ignored my suggestion to add the
airsdk/bin directory to your system environment path, in which case you got something like
adl not found. If that is the case then simply append the full path to your SDK bin to the command, for example:
Step 6 – Package Your Application
Once you have tested your application, or are ready to show your friends, or just want see how your icon looks in the Dock you are ready to packing your Air Application.
This step will be a bit cumbersome the first time because all Adobe Air application code must be digitally signed. Code signing, is a bit like using SSL, you get a certificate from a trusted source, and then people will know who wrote the application. This is important because the Adobe AIR platform allows you to access local files, and do all sorts of things that could really screw things up.
Chances are you really just want to show your new application to a few people, and not the entire world. If that’s the case then you can easily create a self signed certificate. It is important that the Certificate is not placed in your
source directory, so let’s place it in the root of our application:
adt -certificate -cn SelfSign -ou Dev -o "Example" -c US 2048-RSA cert.pfx password
Now once we have a code signing certificate we can create an Air application Package. Change directories back into
source and run:
adt -package -storetype pkcs12 -keystore ../cert.pfx ../build/AirTest.air application.xml.
You should now have an
AppName.air file that you can send to your friends, or simply run it on your own computer.