Before you conclude the excitement got the better of me and that I simply imagined the bit about the AIR SDK, consider exhibit A: Mark Doherty. On his own blog, he states “The Packager isn’t a Flash Pro feature, it can ship with other products and is largely formed of open source code.” And at FlashBrighton recently he explained the technical process, which involves generating an AIR executable, then passing those files through some tools that turn it into the iPhone app. To see and hear this for yourself, select the Aral Balkan and Mike Doherty talk at live.flashbrighton.org and fast forward to the 1 hour, 8 minute point.
So why does the FAQ not reflect this? And why does Adobe – with the exception of Mark – only talk about Flash CS5 with respect to iPhone apps? There seems no technical reason for the FAQ to talk vaguely of “…looking at adding this feature to other Flash Platform tools and technologies”, when the tools do not need Flash CS5. My worry here is that the money men of Adobe have won out against the technical folk. CS5 directly makes money for Adobe, whereas the AIR SDK doesn’t and so from a short-term money-orientated perspective, it makes sense to restrict these tools to those that buy Flash CS5. And those that have no use for Flash CS5 be damned.
Hopefully, I’m completely wrong here and the iPhone-supporting AIR SDK will be released at the same time as CS5. If not, it occurs to me that the CS5 license will require careful reading. Why? Well, if the iPhone tools are independent of CS5 and the license doesn’t prevent it, it may well be possible to obtain the tools for free. I’m thinking in terms of downloading the trial of CS5 to get the command line tools as they may work unrestricted and independently of any time restriction on the Flash CS5 drawing tool.
Clearly there is a lot of speculation here. We’ll know for sure soon when CS5 is released.