What Is Adobe AIR and Do I Need It?

Updated April 17, 2017

Adobe AIR is a development tool for creating stand-alone web applications that combine HTML, JavaScript, Adobe Flash, ActionScript and graphical resources. These applications do not require a web browser either as a development environment or as a deployment platform. They typically run on mobile phones, tablet computers and netbooks as well as desktop systems.

Development Capabilities

First released in 2008, Adobe AIR enables software developers to reuse existing code to create consistent user experiences across a wide range of devices. The tool's visual development environment can integrate the output of applications in the Adobe Creative Suite into projects built on the open-source Flex framework. These applications incorporate graphical assets, component prototypes and skins, script development and Flex's specialised variant of XML. Adobe AIR applications can be prototyped and developed quickly. Both the Software Development Kit and the user run-time application (required to run AIR applications) are available as free downloads.

Meeting Specialized Needs

Adobe AIR applications can help developers and companies meet focused, specific needs, such as booking hotel reservations, notifying users of social media updates or providing employee contact directories for in-house use. It can integrate with large data sets to keep local information synchronised on a user's computer, phone or other device.

Need-Driven Software Adoption

If you want to use an application built on the Adobe AIR technology or are interested in developing applications based on it, you'll find the technology useful. If Adobe AIR enhances an existing user experience, such as a social media website or photography sharing portal, your evaluation of the added functionality will determine whether you opt to use it. If it provides a function that is mandated in your workplace, that need will drive your adoption of the software.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Mott has been a writer since 1983. Mott has extensive experience writing advertising copy for everything from kitchen appliances and financial services to education and tourism. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English from Indiana State University.