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AIR 2 and Flash 10.1: A Look Inside the Final Releases

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The final releases of AIR 2 and Flash Player 10.1 were just announced, but you'll have to wait until June 15th to get your hands on the final AIR 2 SDK.  Adobe set out to build Flash 10.1 and AIR 2 as cross-platform technology that would run smoothly on any platform (mobile or otherwise).  In the months since i's announcement at AdobeMAX in October, Flash Player 10.1 and AIR 2 have proven that they're up to the task.  They now runs on Mac, Linux, Windows, Android 2.2, and they could even run on the iPhone or iPad if not for the ban.

Flash Player 10.1

Performance and power efficiency were the main goals of Flash 10.1.  The ActionScript virtual machine received some targeted optimizations, and garbage collection was tuned to better amortize its processing over the application's lifetime.   The HTTP dynamic streaming feature adapts the bitrate to your computer's capabilities using standards-based MP4 fragments.  The free tools for HTTP Dynamic Streaming can be downloaded here.  Users of Flash Player 10.1 can also deploy their video more quickly with the Open Source Media Framework.

New RTMP streaming and buffering features allow developers to add stream re-connection logic in ActionScript to re-establish server connection and resume streaming with limited disruption in the video.  Smart seeking makes it easier to hop around the video timeline.  There's also support for multitouch.  

Flash Player 10.1 Major New Features:

    •    New ActionScript globalization APIs
    •    AS3 APIs for multi-touch
    •    HTTP Dynamic Streaming
    •    Hardware-based decoding of the H.264 video format on Windows
    •    Peer Assisted Networking and Multicast through better RTMFP [Real Time Media Flow Protocol] support
    •    Content protection with Adobe Flash Access 2

In Macs, Flash Player 10.1 is a full-fledged Cocoa app that can now leverage Cocoa events, UIs, core audio, and core graphics.  However, for H.264 hardware acceleration on Mac OS X 10.6, you'll have to wait until "Gala" is released. 

You can filter the ActionScript Reference to display APIs for specific runtimes:

Adobe AIR 2

AIR 2 brings tighter integration with desktop computers.  Adobe took requests from developers who worked with AIR 1 and added many of those suggestions to AIR 2.  AIR 2 can find out the default application for opening a document with the Open Document API.  The new Native Process API allows developers to launch and communicate, bidirectionally, with a native process.  The Server Socket API can listen for incoming sockets and build lightweight servers that run locally.  An updated version of WebKit in AIR 2 includes a faster JavaScript engine and new HTML5/CSS3 capabilities.  AIR 2 now supports UDP sockets and can detect mass storage devices.  The final release of AIR 2 is scheduled for the first half of 2010.

AIR 2 Major New Features:

    •    Native Process API
    •    Open documents with the user's default application
    •    Microphone data access
    •    Mass storage device detection
    •    Updated, faster WebKit with enhanced support for HTML5 and CSS3
    •    Multi-touch and gestures
    •    TLS/SSL sockets
    •    Global error handler
    •    New networking support including UDP and server sockets
    •    Screen reader support
    •    (Windows)
    •    Reduced CPU usage on idle
    •    .rpm and .deb installer packages for the runtime on Linux
    •    Native installers for applications (.exe, .dmg, .rpm, .deb)

You can also read the docs for AIR 2.0 and Flash player 10.1.  Download Flash Player 10.1 here.

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