First axiom of user interface design: Don’t make the user look stupid.
In this chapter, you’ll investigate Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), which is a valuable addition to the arsenal of Flex developers for many reasons:
AIR allows you to perform all I/O operation with the filesystem on the user’s desktop.
AIR allows you to sign applications and allows versioning of applications.
AIR offers an updater that make it easy to ensure proper upgrades of the applications on the user’s desktop computer.
AIR comes with a local database, SQLite, which is a great way to arrange a repository of the application data (in clear or encrypted mode) right on the user’s computer.
AIR applications can easily monitor and report the status of the network connection.
The user can start and run an AIR application even when there is no network connection available.
AIR has better support for HTML content.
At the time of this writing, AIR 1.5 has been officially released and AIR 2.0 is in beta. As you can see, AIR 1.5 is a significant step toward providing a platform for desktop application development. However, AIR 1.5 is not a full-featured desktop development environment because of the following limitations:
It can’t make calls to the user’s native operating system.
It can’t launch non-AIR applications on the desktop (except the default browser).
It can’t instantiate a dynamic link library (DLL).
It can’t directly access the ports (i.e., USB or serial) of the user’s computer. ...