Monday, March 29, 2010

Deploying Adobe AIR apps in a corporate environment

So, you have an Adobe AIR app that you need to deploy in your corporate environment, by which I mean a bunch of locked-down Windows and Mac machines on which the end-user does not have admin rights.

As a result of not having admin rights, the end-user CANNOT:

1) Install or update the AIR runtime - see here - Does the Adobe AIR runtime require administrative privileges for installation? - Yes. The runtime requires an administrator privileges to install.

2) Install or update an AIR app - see here - Do Adobe AIR applications require administrative privileges for installation? - Yes. Applications require admin privileges to install just like other native desktop applications.

3) Run the AIR Updater framework - see here - "On Mac OS, to install an updated version of an application, the user must have adequate system privileges to install to the application directory. On Windows and Linux, a user must have administrative privileges."

What you really want to do is silently install the AIR runtime and your AIR app on the end-user's machine, via an enterprise deployment tool. My employer uses Altiris for Windows machines and Casper Suite for Macs.

Well, you can do this (see here), but you have to sign up for Adobe's redistribution program, and it will be some work.

Silently installing is fairly easy. But how do you silently update your AIR app? You don't. See this PDF, page 5: You cannot use the silent installer option to update an installed AIR application. This is because the AIR installer cannot determine whether the version to be installed is newer than the installed version, and it would pose a security risk to downgrade the application.

However, you can silently uninstall your AIR app (though it is complicated), so the "upgrade path" is to uninstall the old version of your AIR app and install the new one.

Over the next few blog posts, I will show how I created installers for Windows and Mac that can silently install and/or update the AR runtime and your app. I got a lot of help from Google and articles by other folks, notably Adobe AIR Application Distribution and Installation. Hopefully, this series of blog posts will be useful.

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