Adobe just released AIR 2.7. I’d just like to walk through the new features of this runtime to highlight the most significant ones for Enterprise projects. Adobe AIR is used by many organizations for internal employees. It can bring some productivity features such as the drag and drop of files from the desktop to the application. Some customers are also using AIR to enable offline/online data synchronization (this particular case should become a hit on tablet devices). I also recently met two companies which are using AIR to display live notifications on users desktops (toast notifications), or toolbars that sit on the right of the screen. As you can see, this runtime is not only used for media campaign or social apps. You can discover nice AIR apps on the Adobe Showcase page: http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplatformruntimes/gallery/
Here are my favorite features of AIR 2.7 as an Enterprise developer:
It runs fast on iOS
iOS devices, and especially the iPAD, are used by Enterprise customers and managers for more than a year. A lot of companies invested large amounts of money to distribute their own applications on the Apple Store. 85% of them used external agencies to develop iOS apps. Thanks to AIR 2.7, and thanks to the upcoming update of Flex (just give us few days), Enterprise developers will be able to reuse their skills and tools to develop and deploy Flex applications on iPhone, iPad and iTouch devices. In addition, they will be able to execute the same project on Android devices and on the BlackBerry PlayBook. This is a unique value proposition on the market, and more operating systems will be targeted in the future. My previous posts were already using AIR 2.7, and you can appreciate how fast Flex applications run on iOS.
AIR Runtime to SD card
Some users were complaining about the size of the AIR runtime. On some Android devices such as the Google Nexus One, it would take a significant part of the internal memory. Now you can just move the runtime to the SD card without impacting the performance of your applications.
Acoustic Echo Cancellation
I’m a big fan of real-time live collaboration as I’m convinced that the next generation of Enterprise apps will include more and more video chat features, Voice over IP options… You can check my previous posts about LiveCycle Collaboration Service. It will show you how to enable a live video chat adding 10 lines of code to your existing Flex projects. AIR 2.7 will automatically enable echo cancellation, noise suppression, voice activity detection and compensation of microphone levels. Without using your headset, you’ll experience first-class video chats. Combining AIR 2.7 on Android and LiveCycle Collaboration Service, you should be able to rewrite Skype in a day and sell it to MicroSoft (just kidding).
I have been playing with the iOS packager for several month. It’s a great technology but it takes several minutes to package an ipa file. This impacts my productivity as sometimes I just need to debug my application on the device (and not in the AIR emulator). AIR 2.7 ADT introduces a new technology to quickly package your app as an ipa. It will take few seconds to get the file and deploy it on your iOS device. Your application will run a little bit slower with the interpretor mode then with the classic mode. Use it to debug your apps, and then export a release build to distribute a performant ipa file.
The month of June is not over. We promised an update of Flex and Flash Builder. Both we’ll leverage AIR 2.7 features… Stay tuned.