How to install Apache Flex with Adobe AIR from HARMAN

If you’re still working on projects powered by Adobe AIR (now actively developed by HARMAN) and Apache Flex (formerly Adobe Flex), you’ll eventually need to merge the Flex SDK and AIR SDK together into a single bundle. Back in the day, you could download the Adobe Flex SDK and the latest version of the AIR SDK was already included. Later, after Adobe donated Flex to Apache, they provided instructions to merge or overlay the Flex SDK with the Adobe AIR SDK. Those instructions may still work, if you already have an existing merged SDK, and you simply want to update AIR. However, if you’re starting from scratch (such as if you got a new computer, and you need to download everything fresh), it’s a little more complicated. Luckily, I’ve put together a little Ant script and this guide to help make things easier. Let’s get started.

Things to download

First, if you don’t have it already, you’ll need to download Apache Ant. Ant is used to run the Flex SDK’s installer script that gets a few third-party dependencies and prepares the SDK for use in your favorite IDE. You can download Ant directly from Apache, or (if you prefer) you may be able to get Ant from your favorite package manager, such as Homebrew on macOS or Chocolatey on Windows.

Then, you’ll need to download the two SDKs:

Finally, you’ll need harman-installer.xml, which is a script that I created to enhance the Flex SDK installer script to support HARMAN’s version of Adobe AIR.

Merging the Flex SDK and AIR SDK

Extract the Apache Flex binary distribution .zip or .tar.gz file into a directory. I like to give it a name that includes both SDKs, like apache-flex-4.16.1-air-

Then, copy the or or file into the directory where you extracted the Flex SDK binary distribution. Don’t extract the AIR SDK .zip file. The installer script will do it!

Copy harman-installer.xml into the same directory.

Open a terminal or command prompt, and navigate into the root directory of the Flex SDK that contains harman-installer.xml and the AIR SDK .zip file:

cd apache-flex-4.16.1-air-

Then, run the following command (be sure to replace 50.2 with the correct AIR SDK major and minor version that you downloaded):

ant -f harman-installer.xml -Dair.sdk.version=50.2

This harman-installer.xml script may take a couple of minutes to complete. If the script ends with a BUILD SUCCESSFUL message, then everything worked correctly, and you’re ready to use your new merged Flex SDK and AIR SDK in your favorite IDE or editor!

At this point, you can also can safely delete the AIR SDK .zip file and harman-installer.xml from your Flex SDK. They’re no longer needed.


If the harman-installer.xml script completes with BUILD FAILED instead, it should provide you with some sort of clue to help with troubleshooting. For instance, the following error explains that you probably copied to the wrong location:

/apache-flex-4.16.1-air- Missing /apache-flex-4.16.1-air-

If your terminal or command prompt session can’t find the ant executable, you have a couple of options. 1) You could add the directory containing the ant executable to your operating system’s PATH environment variable (be sure to close your terminal and open a new one). Or, if you prefer, you can use the absolute path to ant, wherever you happened to install it.

/opt/homebrew/bin/ant -f harman-installer.xml -Dair.sdk.version=50.2

About Josh Tynjala

Josh Tynjala is a frontend software developer, open source contributor, karaoke enthusiast, and he likes bowler hats. Josh develops Feathers UI, a user interface component library for creative apps, and he is a member of the OpenFL leadership team. One of his side projects is, a digital logic circuit simulator for education. You should follow Josh on Mastodon.

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