Adobe’s Mike Chambers has revealed a new feature in AIR 2.0, the desktop runtime based on Flash.
At the Flash on the Beach conference in Brighton, he showed the NativeProcess API. You can “call and communicate” with external applications.
There are several restrictions, for security reasons. The application must be distributed as a native installer, not as an AIR download, and it cannot execute applications within its own directory.
Another new feature is that you can also open the default application for a specified file. For example, you could have your application generate a spreadsheet and open it in Excel on Windows or Mac (if Excel is the default handler for a spreadsheet). This feature works in any AIR application, though again the file cannot be within the application directory. There is also a blacklist of disallowed file types.
I am sure there will be debate about the security implications; it will be interesting to examine the new capabilities in more detail.
This strikes me as a useful new feature, significantly extending the capabilities of an AIR application.
I’m sure this is would have been the most requested feature by far – that AIR should be able to launch files in their native apps and run other applications or processes securely.