What’s new in AIR 3: Native Extensions

By far the feature that I am most excited about in AIR 3 is Native Extensions. This feature enables developers to take advantage of existing native code libraries as well as deep native hardware and OS capabilities. This means a whole host of new features that can be integrated into our AIR applications. I still can recall taking with Mike Chambers by the pool at the MAX bash in Las Vegas in 2006 about the ability to extend AIR in the same way XTRAs extend Director. Well 5 years later, I can now do that!

Adobe has released several sample native extensions–Gyroscope, Networking, and Vibration (http://www.adobe.com/devnet/air/native-extensions-for-air.html). As expected, the community has already begun creating their own extensions. There have already been demos of notification solutions, and native map integrations. For mobile development, this functionality will greatly improve the kinds of applications that can be developed. In short, nothing is off limits to your application. You can develop Native Extensions for Android, iOS, OS X, and Windows. Support for the BlackBerry Tablet OS should be available shortly. However, you will have to create specific extensions for each platform you wish to extend.

To learn more about extending Adobe AIR, I would recommend reading Oliver Goldman’s post on the Adobe Developer Connection (http://www.adobe.com/devnet/air/articles/extending-air.html). If you are not attending this year’s Adobe MAX, keep an eye out for the session recordings on Native Extensions.

If you don’t know Objective-C, JAVA, .NET, or some other low-level programming language, now would be the perfect time to find someone who does.

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