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The main differences are:
(as you mention) AIR applications are cross platform and can run on Windows, Mac, and Linux
AIR takes care of installation and updates
You get a slew of APIs not available in a Flash projector, including
--Local database support
--Complete file system access
--Control over the window that your app is running
--Various interactions with the operating system like drag-and-drop, menus, system tray or dock icons
--Fewer security restrictions (possibly, I'm not sure which restrictions are relaxed for projectors)
--Built-in HTML environment
thanks for the answer, but i guess i wasn't very clear about what i wanted to ask:)
well.. i'm quite new to adobe air... i just read a few things about it and watched a video tutorial, but i am quite familiar with flash, and some of the things you said there aren't related to flash, i think... the built in HTML... this is in Flex, right?
maybe you didn't understand my question or i wasn't very specific... i wanted to know why shoud i export a .fla project to .air instead of .swf or .exe? i mean, i relate exclusively to flash, not flex or ajax application... just flash application...
As Joe was saying, AIR applications have many more capabilities that are not available to Flash content published as an exe. All of the features he lists are available in AIR, but not in Flash content published as an exe. And they are available in AIR regardless of how the content is authored (in Flex, in Flash, etc).