3 Replies Latest reply on Jun 22, 2009 7:35 PM by dbraun

    Considering the switch to AIR Dev. Need some basic info please.

    dbraun

      Hi, I've been developing applications for stand alone, offline touch screen kiosks using Flash and Multidiminsional Media's "Zinc". For various reasons, I'd like to move away from Zinc and go "All Adobe".

       

      Here's mainly what I was using Zinc for.

       

      1. Reading and writing to a local, MDB (MS Access) database file
      2. launching local MPG2 and WMV video files
      3. scheduling automatic system shutdowns/restarts
      4. Printing to a local printer without a Windows diolog popping up

       

      Based on what I've learned so far, here on the quesitons I have based on the numbered list above:

       

      1. AIR can read/write to mySQL Lite. However, what about these senerios:
        • The "Wilderness and Game Commission" from some state has an enormus database of all their state's flora an fauna. I ask them to export it in "mySQL Lite" format. Will I be able to use AIR to read this database? Are there other requirements for AIR's implementation of mySQL Lite?
        • Suppose we have a "Registration" app on a kiosk that collects addresses and emails from users. Now we have this address/email database file written by my AIR app inside of the storage directory. What can I do with this file? With Zinc+MDB file, I needed only to hand this file over to someone with MS Acces skills to do whatever needs to be done with the data. MS Access won't open the file made by the AIR app. What are my options?
      2. AIR works great with MP4 (H.264) files. However, I could use very old/inexpensive hardware to run MPG2 files in Zinc (which uses directx to open an instance of Windows Media Player, sans WMP interface.) Per my testing, these same machines will not run a similar quality MP4 video. Am I overlooking another AIR option?
      3. Can AIR do this? Maybe with launching a BAT file?
      4. We often have a thermal printer in our kiosks. Zinc provided a way to print something without the pesky Windows print dialog. Does AIR provide a similar solution?

       

      Thanks for any information addressing any of these requirements.

        • 1. Re: Considering the switch to AIR Dev. Need some basic info please.
          adobe_paul Adobe Employee

          1. AIR can read/write to mySQL Lite. However, what about these senerios:
            • The "Wilderness and Game Commission" from some state has an enormus database of all their state's flora an fauna. I ask them to export it in "mySQL Lite" format. Will I be able to use AIR to read this database? Are there other requirements for AIR's implementation of mySQL Lite?

          The database engine that's built into AIR is actually "SQLite" (http://sqlite.org/) not "mySQL Lite". It has nothing to do with MySQL, and I haven't found an easy way to export data in SQL between different databases.

           

          The best way I've found for batch exporting/importing data using AIR is to export the data in some text format such as CSV, tab-delimited, or XML, then writing code to import that data into the AIR app.

           

            • Suppose we have a "Registration" app on a kiosk that collects addresses and emails from users. Now we have this address/email database file written by my AIR app inside of the storage directory. What can I do with this file? With Zinc+MDB file, I needed only to hand this file over to someone with MS Acces skills to do whatever needs to be done with the data. MS Access won't open the file made by the AIR app. What are my options?

          SQLite is a fairly popular database library/engine but in the majority of cases it is used as an embedded database -- in other words, it's used internally by an application rather than as a file that's shared among users. For instance, Firefox uses SQLite behind the scenes for bookmarks, history, etc.; Adobe Lightroom uses SQLite behind the scenes for it's image catalogs; and so forth. Not that you can't use a SQLite database as the "file format" for your application, and share those db files between users of your application. That's one of the intended use cases of the database for AIR, although in fact I don't know of any case where someone's actually done that.

           

          Some developers have written tools for administering SQLite databases and for viewing/editing data in them. For instance, my personal preferred tool for creating/managing AIR SQLite databases is "Lita":

          http://www.dehats.com/drupal/?q=node/58

           

          However, Lita is not nearly the same as Access, in that Access provides not only the database engine but also a scaled down app development platform, including forms, reports, VB code, etc. As far as I know nobody's created anything that complex for SQLite databases (AIR-specific or otherwise).

          So I guess it depends a lot on what "do whatever needs to be done with the data" means. If you want a tool that people can use to open a SQLite database file created in AIR, that has some sort of report-builder functionality ... as far as I know that doesn't exist. The exception would be if the person creating the reports knows SQL, in which case they could use Lita or another tool such as my own "Run!" AIR SQLite query runner tool:

          http://probertson.com/projects/run-air-sqlite-query-testing-tool/

           

          But of course there could be a SQLite-based Access-like application out there that I don't know about.

           

          1. AIR works great with MP4 (H.264) files. However, I could use very old/inexpensive hardware to run MPG2 files in Zinc (which uses directx to open an instance of Windows Media Player, sans WMP interface.) Per my testing, these same machines will not run a similar quality MP4 video. Am I overlooking another AIR option?

           

          AIR can use any of the video formats supported in Flash Player. In addition to H.264, it also supports FLV video, including On2 VP6 and Sorenson Spark encoded video.

          1. Can AIR do this? Maybe with launching a BAT file?

          It sounds like part of this question got cut off. However, I can say that an AIR app can't launch a BAT file (or any other executable), if that answers your question.

           

           

          1. We often have a thermal printer in our kiosks. Zinc provided a way to print something without the pesky Windows print dialog. Does AIR provide a similar solution?

          No.

          • 2. Re: Considering the switch to AIR Dev. Need some basic info please.
            Jeff Swartz Level 3

            Also, Adobe AIR applications cannot schedule automatic system shutdowns or restarts. (Nor can they invoke a BAT file to do so, as Paul notes.)

            • 3. Re: Considering the switch to AIR Dev. Need some basic info please.
              dbraun Level 1

              Thank you very much for this useful information.