Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Adobe AIR - clueless...

Now, aside from the recently announced vulnerability in various Adobe products that is addressed in the current release (1.5.3) of Adobe AIR, it seems that Adobe coders still show little awareness of the environment in which they operate.

Proof of this is given in the following tale...

I decided that I'd swap around my Windows 7 licenses - I have a FPP Windows 7 Ultimate (from Beta testing the product) and numerous Windows 7 Pro upgrades (via MAPS).  Originally, as I was beta testing mainly on my desktop, and during beta testing we had access to Win 7 Ultimate (and Home Premium for an upgrade test, but I'll ignore that) I therefore decided that I'd run my Ultimate license on my desktop and Pro on the laptop.  Now I've decided to swap them around as we'll be implementing DirectAccess here soon and this requires Win 7 Ultimate or Enterprise to take advantage of it, so having Ultimate on my laptop makes a lot more sense than on my desktop as it lives in the office.

So, as one of the applications I use is TweetDeck, I went to reinstall that on my freshly rebuilt desktop PC running Win 7 Pro x64 using the online installer on TweetDeck's home page.  No go - it bombs out with the following error message after AIR requests elevation and successfully installs:

Sorry, an error has occurred.

The application could not be installed because the AIR file is
damaged. Try obtaining a new AIR file from the application
So I figured I'd look further into this.  I uninstalled AIR manually, downloaded the AIR installer and installed it successfully (it asks for elevation during the install procedure, as expected).  So fine, AIR installs two different ways, as expected.
Then I downloaded the TweetDeck AIR application and went to install that - double clicking on the app (or right-clicking and choosing Install) gives the same result and same error message - the AIR file is apparently damaged.
So, I noticed that the AIR package doesn't ask for elevation during the install unlike the AIR product itself.  Hhmmm, does this mean that Adobe's AIR fails to recognise that it is running in a Windows 7 (and Windows F^HVista would also see the same issue) environment and because it fails to prompt for elevation, it fails the install?  Maybe...
I went back to the TweetDeck page, but this time after opening MSIE with "Run as administrator" and agreeing to the elevation request.  The TweetDeck AIR pachage installed without any issue.  Go Adobe!  :(
This means that, because of the poor design of Adobe AIR, it won't install any packages properly in a normal and secure Windows 7 (or F^HVista) environment (ie one with UAC enabled).  Also, because AIR isn't an application you can run yourself, you can't run it elevated to have it install any packages properly.  Go Adobe - brilliant effort.  Extra Brownie Points for you this time!  :(  And not only that, Adobe can't even get their error message right - the AIR file is not damaged, as they report, but their product is!
So, if you need to install AIR packages and they are available on a website, if you "Run as adinistrator" an MSIE session, this is a way to work around this issue until Adobe coders get hit hard with a cluestick!
The Outspoken Wookie

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