Adobe AIR Launchpad – Gone MOBILE!

October 25, 2010By 6 Comments

Version 2.0 of Adobe AIR Launchpad Beta is now available. It includes support for the creation of AIR Mobile projects as well as some other important updates (start a new project or switch back and forth between mobile or desktop AIR projects without restarting the app)!

This new version allows you to create mobile projects based on the AIR for Android APIs and Flex Hero (codename for next version) SDK’s. With the new main menu you can select Desktop or Mobile for your project base and it will generate a ZIP file and directory folder containing all of your chosen options and samples that can be directly imported into Flash Builder. The Desktop option still targets the Flash Builder 4 IDE but the generated projects from the Mobile menu option are targeted for the Flash Builder Burrito IDE which is also still in development (get the Preview Release and development guides here!) I’ve tested with this Preview version of Flash Builder Burrito and I was very impressed overall by the stability and features already supported. I run it concurrently with Flash Builder 4 (and occasionally Flex Builder 3) and have not had any issues, so don’t hesitate to grab it and at least play with it and see what’s to come (and dabble with some mobile while you’re at it)!

Developers should note that the development of an AIR mobile application is quite different and further justifies a need for a tool like Adobe AIR Launchpad to aid developers in quickly getting up to speed with mobile development. The projects generated from the Mobile menu option are based on the new Spark MobileApplication tag and will include a first home view (using the new Spark View class) so you can see how to push and pop views based on the samples selected from the Mobile options (one view created per sample). In a Mobile AIR application you don’t define the content for the UI in the main application class, but instead create views. The Flex SDK automatically adds a ViewNavigator container object as a child in the MobileApplication that is used to push and pop views as desired. This is all totally new but Adobe AIR Launchpad contains a working example of how this is done in your generated project. The generated project also shows the use of other new Spark classes and options created to support mobile (MobileIconItemRenderer, navigationContent, splashScreenImage, how to set content on the ActionBar and more). Note that the generated samples for the mobile project option are created in the ‘views’ folder (as opposed to ‘samples’ folder for an AIR desktop project).

Probably the coolest thing about this is you can import your new generated mobile project into Flash Builder Burrito and run it on either the emulator or your device right from the IDE and immediately play with the samples. The following screenshots are from a generated working mobile project created by the Adobe AIR Launchpad running on a Nexus One:

The new Flash Builder debug configurations now allow you to debug your application as it is running on your phone and output is written to the console just as it is when you run an application on the desktop (wicked cool)!! If you don’t have a device to debug it on yet, you can also just run it in the emulator from the run/debug configurations in Flash Builder IDE so you can get started on mobile development immediately! No more command line and slow emulation (which you may have seen if you previously tried this); response time with the emulator is dramatically improved. Below is a screenshot of the debug configuration dialog from Flash Builder Burrito:

The Flex Mobile Project option will automatically default to a new mobile theme which is new in Flex Hero. This theme includes larger and more optimized fonts and UI components right out of the box. You can modify the styles on the application as you would any other as long as you’re aware that it’s within the Flex mobile theme and some styles may not yet be available. See the Flex Hero and Flash Builder Burrito docs for more details. The screenshots of the running mobile app on the Nexus One above show an example of some of the Spark components with the mobile theme.

Also, if you are not aware of it yet, there are various permissions required now in the AIR app-descriptor.xml file for the Android manifest. Launchpad will determine the permissions needed based on options and samples selected and set them for you. I also put in informative tooltips to help explain each option to get you going quickly without having to pore over Android docs. The screenshots below show an app-descriptor manifest and application MXML code generated by Launchpad:

I’ve been working feverishly to get as much in this release to coincide with MAX as possible but will still be adding new updates (and bug fixes) in the weeks to come and as the Flex SDK features are added and changed. You can download it now from Adobe Labs and it will auto-update as I continue to put out changes. If you get an immediate auto-update notice (to version 2.01), please go ahead and do the update as I made some changes and fixed some important things over the weekend after that AIR file was posted. Note that iOS specific support will be added in the near future as well!

I’d be happy to take suggestions on new features or hear about bugs you might find here on my blog or on the official Adobe AIR Launchpad Beta Forum.

Also, be sure to check out the new Tour de Mobile Flex (with source) James Ward recently created and made available today to see another great example of mobile development!

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  1. Bob Chesley says:

    How cool is this! Nicely done.

  2. Jeff says:

    This tool is one of the most helpful to come out of adobe labs. Thanks a ton!

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