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Thoughts on development, user-centered design, code, etc. by Paul Robertson

New features in the next Adobe AIR "Athena"

Note: article updated Sept. 18, 2009 with additional features that have been made public since the original post.

…and another update Sept. 22, 2009

…and still another update Sept. 25, 2009

If you were following Twitter during the San Francisco Flash Camp on May 29, you might have seen that Arno Gourdol, Engineering manager for AIR, announced/showed a few features that are going to be in the next major version of AIR code name “Athena”.

Today I found the link to the video of Arno’s presentation ”Flash Camp Update on Adobe AIR,” so even if you couldn’t attend you can learn about those features yourself. The video’s fairly long and the new stuff is near the middle/end, so here are the highlights for you to watch for (sadly the video doesn’t have time markers so I can’t give exact times):

  • He starts the demo a little past the half-way point of the presentation.

  • He shows an app that detects when a drive is mounted/unmounted by listening for the new StorageVolumeChangeEvent.STORAGE_VOLUME_MOUNT and STORAGE_VOLUME_UNMOUNT events. He plugs a USB thumb drive into his computer and, sure enough, the new drive appears in the FileSystemDataGrid in his app.

  • Next he shows a change to the AIR installation process that’s coming in the “Squirter” release, which is a dot release coming out “probably late this summer” according to the video. The change is specifically to the warning dialog that’s displayed when a user installs an AIR app that’s signed by a trusted security certificate.

    Here’s the new version that he showed:

    Arno Gourdol shows the new AIR installation dialog.

    For reference, here’s an example of the current warning dialog. The highlighted items are the parts that are removed in the new dialog. It also looks like the “Install” and “Cancel” buttons have switched places for some reason, and some white space has been tightened up. Other than that the new dialog is the same (as far as I can tell):

Update Sept. 18, 2009

A couple of other new features have been mentioned publicly since I posted this:

  • In an AIR forum post, product manager Rob Christensen mentioned that the next major version of AIR will “provide an API to allow you to open documents” in their default applications. (The examples discussed in the post are opening Word or Excel files in their respective applications.) The code for this feature actually appears in the sample Arno showed at Flash Camp – he just didn’t point it out (look right above his head):

  • AIR principal scientist Oliver Goldman mentioned in a blog post that in his MAX 2009 talk he will be talking about “the new deployment options that will be available in Adobe AIR 2, including the native installer support required to use some of the advanced new AIR 2 APIs.”
  • And of course, Oliver’s quote also makes it explicit that the next major release of AIR is called “AIR 2.” In case that wasn’t so likely as to be obvious.

Update Sept. 22, 2009

Another update: In his Flash on the Beach 2009 presentation ”Advanced Desktop Development with Adobe AIR” Mike Chambers described the following feature (on page 20 of his slides):

NativeProcess API
  • New API in AIR 2.0
  • Can call and communicate with external applications
  • Requires application be distributed as native installer (no AIR files)
  • Cannot execute applications within application directory
  • Must add “extendedDesktop” to support profiles

Update Sept. 25, 2009

At a Flash users’ group meeting in Paris, Mike Chambers announced and demoed “the new raw microphone access feature coming in AIR 2.0.” Source and video: Lee Brimelow