Adobe have just posted a new release candidate for AIR 3, which includes support for the new Native Extensions feature.
This will allow people to create extensions that use a combination of native code and Actionscript that lets applications written in AIR leverage the native system capabilities of wherever it is deployed, in effect extending the AIR runtime.
This capability will allow AIR to:
- Achieve deeper integration with target devices
- Incorporate legacy native code in applications
- Take andvantage of multiple cpu cores
- Offload calculations to the GPU
- Achieve maximum performance for critical code
Adobe have also posted a detailed article detailing the specifics which is a really good read.
I think this really helps Adobe's aim for Flash to be the go to platform for creating applications across different systems and devices. It was already pretty good but this takes it to a whole new level. It can now compete with the likes of HaXe which has really been gaining ground recently. And with the inclusion of Stage3D (which is also in AIR 3.0) Flash is also becoming a truly powerful platform for games. All in all it gives me high hopes for the future of Flash.
I'm really excited to start playing with this, and to see what extensions the community is going to build.