In the Web world, distribution is simple: Simply upload your files to a server and send the link out to the world. If you come across a major bug in your application a week after deployment, fix it and reupload your files — problem solved. In the desktop world, things are a little different. Instead of simply sending a link to somebody to view your application, first the person needs to download the link, Adobe AIR must be installed if it isn't already, and then your application needs to be installed.
This raises some important questions, though. How can you create a seamless way for users to download your application? Once users have downloaded your application, what happens if you make some important changes that need distributed?
Before distributing your application for the first time, you need to put some thought into planning for the future. Whenever you fix bugs or add new features, you need an easy way to distribute your changes to users who have already downloaded and installed your application. Fortunately, the AIR framework does include some capabilities for installing updates, though it is up to you to come up with a system for detecting and distributing these updates so that they can be installed. The next section details how you can accomplish this.
Building an update system for your application requires a little bit of planning up front, but is fairly straightforward to implement. The process is divided ...