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The "air." prefix is just a shortcut made available for AJAX applications. A reference to air.FileStream is the same as flash.filesystem.FileStream.
You don't need to use the debugger to see the output of trace() statements. If you debug your application via 'adl' (available in the SDK) then trace output is, by default, sent back to the terminal window from which adl is invoked.
Oliver Goldman | Adobe AIR Engineering
The prefix is of course a nice shortcut, but if not documented in such a way as to be easily found, I would argue that it should not be included in examples. I reached the API from the link in the 'For Flash' section of this page:
http://www.adobe.com/support/documentation/en/air/#flash If it's documented elsewhere in an AJAX context, that's great, but that's a perspective that I as a Flash developer would not share.
I've spent considerable time looking for documentation on debugging via ADL (I assume it's the AIR Debug Launcher? I found one place in the developers guide where it's spelled out but no details on what it is, and how to invoke it. I currently test my program using Control=>Delete ASO files and Test Movie. It gives me the message "Exporting Flash Movie (progress bar), and then about 80% of the time it gives me a message telling me that the "Adobe AIR Debug Launcher" has crashed once it hits the first function call using the AIR api. Am I already doing as you suggested? I condition/commented out all of my trace back when AIR was still BETA as this was what was suggested by the AIR Engineers on the support boards then.
Excellent. I thank you indeed.