Adobe AIR

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Adobe AIR (formerly Adobe Integrated Runtime) is a cross-platform runtime system developed by Adobe Systems for building desktop applications and mobile applications, programmed using Adobe Animate, ActionScript and optionally Apache Flex. The runtime supports installable applications on Windows, OS X and mobile operating systems including Android, iOS and BlackBerry Tablet OS. It also originally ran on Linux, but support was discontinued as of version 2.6 in 2011.

Adobe AIR is a runtime environment that allows Adobe Animate content and ActionScript 3.0 coders to construct applications and video games that run as a stand alone app and behave similar to a native application on supported platforms. A Flash Player or HTML5 application used in a browser does not require installation, while AIR applications require installation from an installer file (Windows and OS X) or the appropriate App Store (iOS and Android). AIR applications have unrestricted access to local storage and file systems, while browser-based applications only have access to individual files selected by users.[1]

Adobe AIR internally uses a shared codebase with the Flash Player rendering engine and ActionScript 3.0 as the primary programming language. Applications must specifically be built for Adobe AIR to use additional features provided, such as multi-touch, file system integration, native client extensions, integration with Taskbar or Dock, and access to accelerometer and GPS devices.[2] HTML5 applications may run on the WebKit engine included in AIR.

Notable applications built with Adobe AIR include eBay Desktop, Pandora One desktop,[3][4] TweetDeck,[5] the former Adobe Media Player,[5] Angry Birds,[6] and Machinarium,[7] among other multimedia and task management applications.[8] According to Adobe, over 100,000 unique applications have been built on AIR, and over 1 billion installations of the same were logged from users across the world, as of May 2014.[9][10] Adobe AIR was voted as the Best Mobile Application Development product at the Consumer Electronics Show for two consecutive years (CES 2014 and CES 2015).[11][12]


Using AIR, developers can access functionality including text, vector graphics, raster graphics, video, audio, camera, and microphone capability. Adobe AIR also includes additional features such as file system integration, native client extensions, desktop integration and access to connected devices. AIR enables applications to work with data in different ways, including using local files, local SQLite databases (for which AIR has built-in support), a database server, or the encrypted local store included with AIR.

Developers can access additional functionality by building AIR Native Extensions, which can access full device functionality being programmed in the native language.[13]

Desktop features

On desktop platforms, AIR supports:

  • Window management – Opening multiple windows, minimizing, maximizing and resizing AIR windows.[14]
  • Menu bar – Adding a native menu bar to AIR windows, with sub menus and custom menu items.[15]
  • File management – Discovering drives, files and folders on the PC, creating and deleting files, renaming, copying and moving files.[16]
  • Console applications – Executing native applications with command-line arguments, and receiving feedback via standard I/O & error streams.[17]
  • Multithreading – Managing multiple threads, to execute ActionScript 3 code in the background without freezing the user interface.[18]
  • Web browser – View HTML web pages with full CSS and JavaScript support within applications, with the integrated WebKit-based web browser.[19]
  • Clipboard access – Programmatically copy or paste text, bitmaps or files into the system clipboard.[20]
  • Drag-and-drop – Allows users to drag text, bitmaps or files into AIR applications.[21]

Mobile features

On mobile platforms, AIR supports many mobile hardware features:

3D Graphics

In 2011, the addition of Stage3D allowed AIR apps access to GPUs for hardware acceleration. Several third-party frameworks have been developed to build upon the functionality of Stage3D, including the Starling Framework and Away3D. These frameworks are also compatible with AIR, and provide vital performance improvements to AIR apps published for mobile devices.

AIR Native Extensions

AIR apps can be augmented in functionality with the usage of AIR Native Extensions (ANEs). Native extensions are plug-in code libraries that contain native code wrapped with an ActionScript API,[26] allowing developers to access native features not otherwise usable in AIR, such as Apple Game Center or Google Cloud Messaging.

Native extensions may be developed by anyone using publicly available tools;[27] some are distributed for free or even as open source, while others are sold commercially.[28]

Native extensions may be programmed in the native language on each platform, allowing access to the full set of platform APIs provided by the developer. (C++ for Windows, Java for Android, Objective-C for iOS).[13]


AIR is a cross-platform technology and AIR applications can be repackaged with few or no changes for many popular desktop and mobile platforms. Different installation options exist for each platform.

AIR applications may be published with or without the AIR runtime. Applications packaged with the AIR runtime are larger in file size, and are known as "captive runtime" applications.[29] If the runtime is not embedded in the app, it must be installed separately.

In January 2009, Adobe claimed that there were over 100 million installations of Adobe AIR worldwide, and that "the majority of AIR runtime installations occur at the time the first AIR application is installed by a user".[30] In May 2014, Adobe claimed that over 100,000 unique applications were built on AIR, and over 1 billion installations of the same were logged from users across the world.[9][10]

Desktop platforms

The latest version of Adobe AIR, version 28, contains Adobe Flash Player 28, and is available for Windows 7 and later, as well as OS X 10.9 and later.[31] Official support for desktop Linux distributions ceased in June 2011 with version 2.6.[32]

Platform Installer file support App Store support
Windows .air, .exe and .msi[29][33] None
OS X .air and .dmg[33] With captive runtime[34]
Android .apk[35] Google Play[35]
iOS .ipa[36] iTunes Store[36]
PlayBook .bar[37] BlackBerry App World[37]

Mobile platforms

Adobe AIR applications can be published as native phone applications on certain mobile operating systems, such as Android (ARM Cortex-A8 and above[38]) and Apple iOS.[39]

Application development

Adobe AIR runs applications within a contained Flash Player instance. It runs web applications via WebKit rendering engine. Multiple instances of the browser can be started within a single AIR application, but JavaScript content executes with some security limitations.

AIR does not provide direct access to native GUI elements such as navigation bars or controls. Native extensions can be used to access additional native resources.

Development tools


The AIR SDK is available as a free standalone download for software developers to make AIR applications.[40] SDK users do not need to install any commercial software to use the SDK, although several options are available. AIR apps can be compiled from the command line using the AIR compiler included in the SDK; the compiler can also be called from an IDE to eliminate the need for the command line.

AIR can also be used with Adobe Flex.[41] Flex is an integrated collection of stylable graphical user interface, data manipulation and networking components, and applications built upon it are known as "Flex" applications. Flex GUIs are defined in MXML, similar to how Android and Microsoft Visual Studio define GUIs; however, Flex does not give access to native GUI components.

AIR applications built without the Flex framework allow greater flexibility and performance, and are known as "pure ActionScript" applications.[42][43][44] Video games built on the AIR platform are typically pure-Actionscript projects. Various open-source component frameworks are available for pure ActionScript projects, such as MadComponents, that provide UI Components at significantly smaller SWF file sizes.[45][46]


Adobe distributes three commercial software products for developing of AIR applications in ActionScript:

Third-party development environments that target the AIR runtime are also available, including:

Adobe Flash Builder is the premium tool for Flex application development, since it includes an integrated drag-and-drop user interface builder, not found in competing tools like FlashDevelop.[47]

JavaScript applications

Adobe provides for AIR HTML5 and JavaScript development with Adobe Dreamweaver CS5, although any other HTML editor or text editor can be used.[48]

Adobe AIR can run a subset of JavaScript, with no ability to dynamically execute code when running in the application sandbox. According to Adobe, this restriction is designed to prevent malicious remote content from attacking a user's system.[49] Because of this restriction, JavaScript frameworks that make use of dynamic JavaScript functions like eval() were not initially compatible with Adobe AIR. However, several frameworks including Dojo Toolkit, jQuery, and ExtJS were updated to run in Adobe AIR's application sandbox. Some frameworks like MooTools were already compatible.

Dreamweaver CS4/CS3 requires an additional extension to compile AIR applications,[50] as does Flash CS3 in the form of an update.[51]

Release history

"Apollo" 1.0 betas

Adobe made a public preview release of AIR (then called Apollo) along with a software development kit (SDK) and extension for developing Apollo applications with the Flex framework, on March 19, 2007.

On June 10, 2007, Apollo was renamed to AIR and a public beta release of the runtime was launched. Public beta 2 of AIR SDK was released on October 1, 2007. Public beta 3, was released on December 12, 2007.


Adobe AIR 1.0

Version 1.0 of the Adobe AIR runtime and SDK was released on February 25, 2008.

Adobe AIR 1.1

Version 1.1 of Adobe AIR was released on June 16, 2008. This release included a number of new features including:

  • Additional languages including Chinese Traditional, Chinese Simplified, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish
  • Ability to localize the name, description local database error messages of the application
  • A new option that allows an application to be updated from an old certificate to a new one while preserving the identity of the application (for example from a self-signed certificate to a chained certificate)
  • A new property for detecting the space available on a drive
  • A new property for detecting whether the hosting operating system's window manager allows transparency

In addition, version 1.1 works on Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and 64-bit editions of Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise.[52]

Adobe AIR 1.5

Adobe AIR 1.5 was released on November 17, 2008. New capabilities included:

  • Ability to encrypt the local database
  • Inclusion of Flash Player 10 features
  • An updated version of WebKit with performance improvements due to a new JavaScript interpreter
  • Five new languages including Czech, Dutch, Swedish, Turkish and Polish
  • A Linux version was released on December 18, 2008.[53][54]

Adobe AIR 1.5.1

Released on February 24, 2009, AIR 1.5.1 was primarily a compatibility update that includes bug fixes and security updates.

Adobe AIR 1.5.2

Released on July 30, 2009, AIR 1.5.2 introduced a number of minor new features and compatibility issues. Some of the important fixes included:

  • When using the full-screen interactive mode an application using the 1.5.2 namespace can capture the keyDown event and call the preventDefault() method of the event
  • SWF content embedded within an HTML container could now be displayed with certain wmode settings.

Adobe AIR 1.5.3

Adobe AIR 1.5.3 was released on December 8, 2009. It included fixes for a number of compatibility and security related issues. The BBC iPlayer Desktop manager v1.5.15695.18135 is the first version to use AIR 1.5.3.


AIR 2.0

The Adobe AIR 2 public beta was released on November 16, 2009 followed by the beta 2 on February 2, 2010 and the release candidate on May 11, 2010. In addition, Adobe AIR for Android was announced on February 12, 2010. AIR 2 was officially released for Windows, Mac OS and Linux on June 10, 2010 and Android on October 8, 2010. It dropped the ability to run on PowerPC Macs.

AIR 2.5

Adobe AIR 2.5 was released on October 24, 2010 at the Adobe MAX 2010 conference.[55]

AIR 2.6

Adobe AIR 2.6 was released on February 24, 2011 for Android devices.[56] Another update was released on March 22, 2011 for updated iOS interoperability.[57]

AIR 2.7

Adobe AIR 2.7 was released on June 14, 2011.[58] Ability to run on Linux was dropped.[59]


AIR 3.0

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.0 on October 3, 2011.[60] AIR 3.0 added the ability to run on native 64-bit CPU architecture and use hardware accelerated graphics rendering, captive runtime, native extensions, JPEG-XR image format, LZMA compression for SWF files, and H.264 encoding.[61]

AIR 3.1

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.1 on November 11, 2011.

AIR 3.2

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.2 on March 28, 2012.[62]

AIR 3.3

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.3 on June 8, 2012.[62]

AIR 3.4

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.4 on August 21, 2012.[62]

AIR 3.5

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.5 on November 6, 2012.[62]

AIR 3.6

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.6 on February 12, 2013.[62]

AIR 3.7

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.7 on April 9, 2013.[62]

AIR 3.8

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.8 on July 24, 2013.[62]

AIR 3.9

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.9 on October 8, 2013.[62]

AIR 4.0

Adobe released Adobe AIR 4.0 on January 14, 2014. It was released to beta on October 30, 2013, code named Jones.[62]

Synchronized version numbers with Flash Player

Adobe applied a new numbering scheme for the Flash products versions to synchronize them with the version numbering of the Flash Player, starting from Flash Player 13.[63]

AIR 13.0

Adobe released Adobe AIR 13.0 on April 8, 2014.[62] It was numbered 13 to synchronize itself with the version numbering of Flash Player.[64]

AIR 14.0

Adobe released Adobe AIR 14.0 on June 10, 2014.[62]

AIR 15.0

Adobe released Adobe AIR 15.0 on September 9, 2014.[62] It includes improvements to Stage3D technology, AIR Gamepad enhancements, and a new packaging engine for iOS apps that reduces compile times from minutes to seconds.[65]

AIR 16.0

Adobe released Adobe AIR 16.0 on January 13, 2015.[62]

AIR 17.0

Adobe released Adobe AIR 17.0 on March 12, 2015.[62]

AIR 18.0

Adobe released Adobe AIR 18.0 on June 9, 2015.[62]

AIR 19.0

Adobe released Adobe AIR 19.0 on September 21, 2015.[62]

AIR 20.0

Adobe released Adobe AIR 20.0 on December 8, 2015.[62] Android SDK (API Level 21) has been upgraded in the AIR Runtime, applications built using this AIR SDK and later will only support Android OS 4.0 or greater.

AIR 21.0

Adobe released Adobe AIR 21.0 on March 10, 2016.[62]

AIR 22.0

Adobe released Adobe AIR 22.0 on June 16, 2016.[62]

AIR 23.0

Adobe released Adobe AIR 23.0 on September 13, 2016.[62]

AIR 24.0

Adobe released Adobe AIR 24.0 on December 13, 2016.[62]

AIR 25.0

Adobe released Adobe AIR 25.0 on March 14, 2017.[62]

AIR 26.0

Adobe released Adobe AIR 26.0 on June 13, 2017.[62]

AIR 27.0

Adobe released the Adobe AIR 27.0 on September 12, 2017.[62]

AIR 28.0

Adobe released the Adobe AIR 28.0 on December 12, 2017.[62]

AIR 29.0

Adobe released the Adobe AIR 29.0 on March 13, 2018.[62]

AIR 30.0

Adobe released the Adobe AIR 30.0 on June 7, 2018.[62]

AIR 31.0

Adobe released the Adobe AIR 31.0 on September 11, 2018.[62]

AIR 32.0

Adobe released the Adobe AIR 32.0 on December 11, 2018.[62]


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  62. 62.00 62.01 62.02 62.03 62.04 62.05 62.06 62.07 62.08 62.09 62.10 62.11 62.12 62.13 62.14 62.15 62.16 62.17 62.18 62.19 62.20 62.21 62.22 62.23 62.24 62.25 62.26 62.27 62.28 Flash Player and Adobe AIR feature list”. Adobe Systems. . November 13, 2012閲覧.
  63. Jones Beta Release Notes”. . January 10, 2014閲覧.
  64. Jones Beta Release Notes”. . January 10, 2014閲覧.

External links

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