Posted by: edsyrett | 26 July 2008


We followed the lead-up to the release of AIR with interest.

“It gives you access to the local filesystem” they said.

Well, we need access to the ports – either a parallel or a serial port will do – we’re not fussy. We need to send a text stream out to a Zebra label printer.  We hoped that AIR would give us greater control of printers as well.


No joy there then – it seems that AIR only offers the same printing capability as in Flash, i.e. you build up a graphical component and then print it. No extra goodies apart from the aforementioned access to the filesystem.

So if you want access to other facilities on the OS, you’re a bit stuffed. It’s great that AIR just works on Win/Lin/Mac, but as a selling point that’s pretty thin – you might as well write your app in Flex as there’s no real motivation to go for AIR.

There are a couple of possible solutions that Ted Patrick discusses in his blog here.  I don’t believe I should have to work around this problem to this degree.  These solutions seem to me to be made up of monstrous hacks that involve sockets and implementations in different languages.

I’d like to add my voice to the many other developers calling for more functionality in AIR.  We need access to the ports, database connectivity, and the ability to run external programs.  I can’t believe it would be that difficult to create a platform independent API and then implement translation layers in individual RSLs  so that the main  AIR app only loaded up one RSL per platform…???

And we need all that by Friday.  Yes, this coming Friday…..Thanks.



  1. AIR is a run-time environment whereas Flex is an SDK so you can make AIR applications using Flex. And AIR does offer DB connectivity.

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