Thursday, November 24, 2011

Let Linux breathe some ‘Air’

Oye ! We’re not talking about, atmosphere. Rather about, the Adobe’s Cross platform application runtime environment – the ‘Air’. Yes, just like any other Adobe product, Air is very dynamic, interactive and easy to deploy.

Adobe Air is a means to create Rich Internet Applications – RIA as how Adobe wishes to call it. If the term Cross-platform application runtime environment is a little confusing, take it to be, Adobe Air is a means to create application that utilize all the best components of both Web-based and Desktop computing to bring rich interaction and utility to the app for the user. Of late, a lot of applications are being built in Web based environment. Some of them over Flash, while some with Flex. Deploying these applications across all other platforms, Desktop (Windows, Linux and Mac ) and Mobile ( iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7 ) has always been an issue to be addressed. With so many platforms and application environments, it is not easy at all, to create a run-time architecture that works in sync with all. Adobe Air is meant to eliminate that.

Many Corporate Giants have started shifting towards Adobe Air now. Adobe themselves are using it for employee directory. NASDAQ,, Model Metrics are some of them using it currently. eBay also uses Air to deploy its Online Auction Application in Desktop environment.

With Air seeing development at such a fast pace, it is so disheartening to see that, Adobe has stopped development for Air in Linux. Why ? ‘Our priorities are currently towards developing the Mobile platform and the action isn’t currently in Linux.’, says adobe’s blog post. It has been over five months, since this happened. But, it was only recently that I noticed it. I wanted to install Tweetdeck, the One-for-all desktop Social Networking App, that uses Air in my 64 bit Fedora 16 Desktop. Though, Open Source Applications are great, there can never be a match to this freeware Tweetdeck. It’s convenient, easy to setup and you got so many tweaks and options to customize. But, there wasn’t any installation package or repository to do it. I desperately wanted to install Adobe Air over my Linux desktop and had finally done it.

Here’s how to do it.

Installing Adobe Air in Linux

For 32 bit


  • Go to, Adobe Air download page, you’ll be prompted to choose the old repository. Download the Adobe air v2.6 binary file (.bin)
  • Open your terminal.
  • Navigate to the location where you’ve your binary file.
  • Make it executable by running the following command

     chmod +x <name-of-your-adobe-air-installtion-file>.bin

  • Run the file with the command

You’re done. You’ll have installed your application. But, would not receive any more updates. If in future, some application requires a new version of Air to run that, you wouldn’t be able to run it for sure.

For 64 bit


  • Running Air in 64 bit computers is one heck of a job. You’ll need 32 bit libraries to do that.
  • So, first, we install 32 bit libraries first. We’ll see the case of Fedora Linux.
  • Open the terminal.
  • Import the keys first.

 sudo rpm --import

sudo rpm --import

  • Install RPM Fusion

su -c 'yum localinstall --nogpgcheck'

  • Install Adobe Air Dependencies

su -c 'yum -y install gtk2-devel.i686 rpm-devel.i686 gnome-keyring-devel.i686 libxml2-devel.i686 nss-devel.i686 libxslt.i686 xterm rpm-build'

  • If suppose, you get errors like, Adobe AIR could not be installed. Install either Gnome Keyring or KDE KWallet before installing Adobe AIR,

Run the following command

yum install libgnome-keyring.i686

  • Make it executable by running the following command

    chmod +x <name-of-your-adobe-air-installtion-file>.bin

  • Run the file with the command

Done. Great. You’ll run your Air applications now in Linux. Download your air applications and now, you’ll be able to run it with just a click ! Smile

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dude, what’s this html5 everyone keep talking about ? *-)

Lately, its been all about html5 all around. In internet, magazines and news reports. What and why does it matter to all of us ? Well, for the absolute beginners of the Web, this is how it goes.

The Roadmap of HTML

HTML is called the Hypertext markup language. During the early 90’s when the Web was still in large development, it was nothing short of an online photocopy of the books and documents in paper. Suppose, say you need to access a book in the web, you’ll get it as a full page, sometimes with nearly 20,000 lines of absolute text. No, images, graphics, nothing. Reading a book seemed much easier compared to reading it online. Whopping 20,000 lines, scrolling and navigating through the lines, proved very boring and un-interesting. Well, that was way back, like two decades ago.

The scenario changed step by step. The inventors of the web (mainly the people at CERN), realized, What if we could bring out each page in the book as separate web pages and provide a way to move to the next page ? So, now, you could access a single page at a time, navigation wouldn’t be a problem, a little content each page would make scrolling and reading much much easier than earlier. Idea was great ! and thus came the concept of Hypertext ! Hypertext is the way to link webpages. Plan was to provide a link to subsequent pages for navigation. And shortly, they introduced means to format the textual content in the webpages. So, now, you could differentiate between text sizes, underlines, bold words, paragraphs and things like that. Wow, web was improving greatly.

As time passed, “Why not introduce graphics and images ?”, the developers asked themselves. “Oh sure. Why not ?”. And yes, images made their way towards Web development. Slowly, it was images all over the place. And, one by one, new technologies came popping over. Notably among them, is the usage of Video in Webpages. Having videos in webpages is so cool. It brings so much life into things, a better interaction with the reader and provides greater understandability to the issue you try to address.


So, ok. Web pages have all the content. Now, how will the Web browser or the device you use to access the web content, understand where to have the video, paragraph alignment, the image placement etc. A way was needed to tell the browser that this content must be place here. That content need to placed there and like, the content that follows now, is a video and it must be centered. Each element of the webpage need to be identified separately. That’s how tags came into place in a HTML. Tagging of content in a HTML is exactly the reason why HTML is called the “Markup Language”.

Consider, you prepare for your exam. You have large numbers of pages to read. You don’t read them blindly. Do you? Wherever and whenever you come across some notes or points that are important and need to be emphasized while writing, you try to highlight them with your maker, underline them. In a way, you are marking things that are important, you mark up things that are heading or sub-headings. You differentiate among the content available.

The same idea is being used in the webpages. You are marking up the various elements in the webpage for the browser to differentiate between. This marking up, just as how we highlight in books, is achieved in the Web through the use of tags. Tags specify the content that follows, if it’s a paragraph, if that is an embedded audio or video object, if that is an external content etc.

What is the html5 trying to bring ?


A lot of features that the web of today uses, like Video and Audio, uses third-party applications and codecs (short for COder and DECoder) for playback. This restricts content distribution across various platforms. Like, some browsers like Mozilla Firefox support only ogg vorbis (an open Audio format ) and theora (open video format) formats. Mac’s Safari supports only .mp3 file formats . Opera again, support .wav file playback. These formats that the browsers support by themselves are called their native formats. What format will I choose to go with now ? Confusion !

This is completely eliminated with the arrival of html5. All browsers shall support a standard video element that could be embedded as a separate tag. Which standard video format could be used is being still debated on. Initially Ogg Vorbis Theora was considered. And amid concerns from Apple Inc., this was later changed to MP4, but is still in very much confusion as to which video format, the browser must support.

Another notable feature that would be introduced with the html5 would be a native support to a standard audio format. It is expected to be something among, Ogg Vorbis, MP3 or Wav formats.

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) and MathML would become inline from now on. Meaning, they would also be available as tags to be embedded into. Scalable Vector Graphics is a XML specification for drawing Dynamic Graphics and Images with lots of features for compression and scripting ability. MathML would enable us to write Mathematical equations with much ease. Mathematical equation representation in Web pages has always been a problem from the very beginning. In most cases, it was done by the use of images for equation. This problem is also expected to go with the introduction of html5.

HTML5 allows offline application running and storage. Many other features that come with the html5 are, Timed media playback, document editing, Drag and drop, Geolocation.

With already a number of sites, starting to use the html5, this is bound to rock !