Experimenting with Adobe AiR

July 12, 2008
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I was under a false impression. I’ve been using Twhirl for my Twitter client needs as it was the most feature complete client i could find. Twhirl requires the Adobe AiR runtime to work. I thought that AiR was a wrapper around Flex to allow desktop installation of Flex. What I didn’t understand was that AiR is a runtime to allow Flex, Flash and HTML/AJAX apps to be hosted as a windowed desktop application. Interesting…so AiR isn’t necessarily about Flex, but for all three platforms.

HTML/AJAX you say? Silverlight 2 is hosted on HTML. Could I do the scandalous thing and make my Silverlight 2 application run as an AiR application? It was to the SDK I ran.

With the AiR SDK in hand, I followed their walk-through to create my first small AiR app.  Its an interesting model that creates AiR apps out of a bunch of resources. So, in theory Silverlight could work. Silverlight.js, .xap files, and other resources are just files.  It should work…but it doesn’t. The problem is that when hosted in AiR, the Silverlight ActiveX object doesn’t want to be created.  I am not sure if this is an issue with AiR or Silverlight. I’ve seen examples of other web-friendly ActiveX (or object tags) working (e.g. PDF Viewer) in AiR, so my guess is Silverlight 2.

I didn’t expect to get much in the way of examples from other people, but I did expect to find some good community support for AiR…but even the Adobe public forum for AiR had zero messages (I think its broken, not empty).

So I plead to my readers: if any of you know of any good AiR resources (developer-to-developer preferred), please add a comment here.  It’d be cool to actually get this to work.