Publish AIR Applications with Flash CS5

In Adobe Creative Suite 5, the Adobe AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) platform gives designers and developers a way to use their existing skills to create cross-platform desktop applications. AIR applications have several advantages over the use of standard Flash projectors; AIR applications can work with the operating system, files, and other applications without the restrictions faced by projectors in the past.

Before you get started, download and install the Adobe AIR runtime from the Adobe web site. Then follow these steps to publish your movie as an AIR application:

  1. Open a document in Flash CS5 that you want to publish as an AIR application.

  2. Choose File→Publish Settings and select the Flash tab at the top to view Flash movie (.swf) publish settings.

    If the Flash tab isn’t available, make sure that Flash (.swf) is selected on the Formats tab.

  3. Locate the Player drop-down menu and select Adobe AIR 2 as the player type.

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  4. Click the Settings button directly next to the Player drop-down menu.

    The AIR 2 Application & Installer settings dialog box opens.

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    A number of options and settings are available:

  • Output file: Choose a filename and location for your published AIR application. The Mac Installer (.dmg)/Windows Installer (.exe) check box provides an alternative installation file type for the Mac and Windows platforms. If you’re unsure which one to use, leave this option deselected.

  • File name: The name of your file as displayed by the AIR application installer.

  • App Name: Your application displays this name (Super Picture Viewer, for example) when it’s installed and when it’s running on your desktop.

  • Version: This option indicates which version of an application is installed or running. Attach a version number so that users can distinguish between installations as you create updated releases of your application.

  • App ID: This identifier is often used to distinguish one company’s applications from another, or even several applications from the same publisher. A common naming scheme is the “reverse DNS” scheme, such as com.mycompany.mycoolapp. If your company is at coolwidgets.com and your app is The Picture Widget, for example, your app ID might be com.coolwidgets.picturewidget.

  • Description: In this area, you can provide a description of your application — for example, “The Picture Widget lets you view and organize your mobile phone snapshots quickly and easily.”

  • Copyright: Enter your copyright information here (for example, 2010 Cool-Widgets.com).

  • Window Style: This setting determines how your application is “framed” within the operating system environment. You can use the default system windows (System Chrome); your own, custom frame, or even no frame (Custom Chrome — opaque or transparent).

  • Included Files: This panel shows all files to be packaged and included in the AIR application, typically a .swf file and an application manifest (.xml) file. If your application depends on other files (such as external audio or video files), you can add them here as necessary.

  1. Enter or modify the AIR 2 Settings and then click the Publish button.

    A dialog box appears, prompting you to choose a digital certificate for signing your application.

    A digital certificate is a verification of the publisher’s authenticity (that’s you!). You can create a digital certificate yourself, or Flash creates a temporary (AIRI) file until you do. A certificate is only necessary to publish a working AIR application.

  2. Click the Create button on the far right side, and in the dialog box that opens, fill in the information necessary to create your own, self-signed certificate.

  3. Enter information for the publisher name, organization unit, organization name, country, and password, and then click Browse to choose a save location.

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  4. Click OK to create and save your certificate.

    This step returns you to the digital signature dialog box, where your new certificate is already selected.

  5. Reenter the password you chose when you created your certificate and click Publish.

    A dialog box notifies you that your AIR file has been created.

  6. Click OK to exit the Application & Installer Settings dialog box and then click OK to close the Publish Settings dialog box.

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