4 Replies Latest reply on May 4, 2008 1:06 PM by

    Switching from Director to AIR


      I have been using Director for many years and was
      think about trying to switch over to AIR. I am in
      the process of updating an old Director project
      with Flash embedded in it and have run across a
      few issues that I cant seem to solve with AIR.

      1) AIR does not seem to be able to launch external
      exe files. Launching Word, Excell, PTT and other
      applications from AIR seems problematic. I read
      somewhere about launching files through a browser
      but it was unclear to me how to do this.

      2) I dont see a clear way to port data to a Word
      form. My old Director project could control Microsoft
      applications through a vbScript Xtra. I could pass
      data from the Flash interface to a Word form through
      the Director Xtra.

      One solution suggested would be to write data from
      Flash in binary and creating a Word file this way.
      It seemed a long way to go creating and formating a
      Word form this way if it the Director solution is much
      easier and direct.

      Another solution offered was that AIR could copy data
      to the clipboard and somehow the Word form could use
      a macro to copy the data from the clipboard. The problem
      with this solution is that the client does not want
      any macros in the Word forms for security reasons.

      3) AIR runtime needs to be installed for an AIR file
      to run. For the last Director project, there was a lot
      of security applied to the end users' laptops by their
      company. This prevented anything from being written
      to the C: drive without administrator's priveleges. To
      get around this and installer was made to install the
      Director project to the desktop since Director is a
      self contained exe and everyone had rights to install
      to the desktop. I'm not sure how AIR can get around
      this issue.

      4) AIR cant seem to provide a list of all the windows
      open on the desktop. It does have built-in functions
      like orderToBack() and orderToFront which puts all
      AIR windows in front or behind all desktop windows.
      It must have some way of detecting all windows on
      the desktop if it can do this but the functionality
      seems to be a protected feature.

      So far I have only tried to develop AIR apps with
      Flash. Maybe Flex would offer more solutions since
      it seems to have some different features. AIR seems to
      have the potential to deliver many different solutions.
      Regretfully, so far I havent been able to get around
      the above obstacles.

      Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

        • 1. Re: Switching from Director to AIR
          Joe ... Ward Level 4
          1. To open a file in the default browser use:
          var excel = new air.URLRequest("test.xls");

          2. I don't think there is a direct way for AIR to interact with a Word form. (You might be able to achieve the same end result using a PDF form, but it sounds like you need a more general way to control Office applications, which isn't a use case supported by AIR.)

          3. Yes, AIR must be installed and the AIR app also needs to be installed. Companies put such security policies in place for a reason. In the long run, it's probably best to find a secure compromise with the security folks rather than circumventing those policies. A future version of AIR -might- contain the ability to create a self-supporting executable that runs without installation of the runtime or the application.

          4. Not supported. You can only access the windows of your own application.
          • 2. Re: Switching from Director to AIR
            Thanks! I really apprectiate your comments!
            • 3. Re: Switching from Director to AIR
              Czajka Level 1
              kfalan, there have been other threads concerning the issue of running the AIR application from a CD (search for "shu player") . Find them, and post your comments or add you comments to the Adobe wish list.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Switching from Director to AIR
                Thanks Czajka for the Shu Player tip. It looks very interesting. However, right off I'm not sure how it would be an advantage to use Shu over Flash/Director solutions. I guess Shu will allow for the fact that AIR is able to tap many web technologies, but so is the Flash/Director solution, especially if the many Xtra plug-ins for Director are used.

                I'm still on the fence about switching over to AIR from Flash/Director. It looks like things are heading that way though so I might not have a choice.

                Also, I posted my comments to the feature wish list as you suggested.