Adobe AIR is an environment that allows you to run and program Flash and Flex application to run stand-alone (as opposed to on the web). AIR applications can be created exactly the same way you create Flash/Flex web applications, but you can also take advantage of AIR-only classes to work with things such as the file system and windows. AIR can also be developed with AJAX or HTML, because it has built-in WebKit support. The are lots of advantages to AIR:
- AIR applications can provide both online and offline access to content, because it is a stand-alone application stored on the user's computer.
- AIR can be developed just like any other Flash or Flex application. The only new thing to learn are the new classes, which are not required.
- All AIR apps can run on any platform, as long as the user has installed both Flash and the Adobe AIR runtime. Fortunately, AIR apps can use an install badge that allows users to install all three things at once, with a click of a link on a webpage.
- AIR apps can access the users filesystem, and can save and load any kind of file.
- And much more!
However, AIR has a few cons too:
- Some users don't like downloading and installing programs, and prefer web-based apps that just load.
- Applications are harder to distribute than web apps, so sometimes Flash is a better choice.
- Also, all applications have a higher quality standard than internet applications, so just turning your .FLA file into an AIR package won't cut it!
That's AIR stripped down to the very basics. Hope you found this useful!
In plain english, Air is a program that runs other programs. Air can be installed on windows, mac, or linux. Then, programmers can write one program for Air that will run on any one of those systems.
Programs written for Air can display web pages and do most of the things a web browser can do, plus some additional things that only desktop applications can normally do. Basically, Air allows web programmers to create computer programs that run on the desktop without a browser and can (1) access and retrieve data (text, images, video) from the internet, (2) upload data to the internet, (3) process, play, or display the data on your computer, (4) save data on your computer, and (5) let you continue to enter, process, display, or play data on your system when you are not connected to the internet.
For a made up example of what could be done with Air, a programmer could create a Facebook Air app that might allow you to save your facebook profile information on your computer, give you a custom interface to view or change the profile information, and then let you view or change your profile when you are not connected to the internet, save profile changes to your harddrive, and make the changes to your online profile automatically the next time you connect to the internet. This facebook app could then be put online and downloaded by anyone on a mac, pc, or linux computer as long as they have Air installed. Like flash or acrobate reader, Air is free to download from Adobe.