AirAppDuplicator: Run two versions of an Adobe AIR Application simultaneously

Since the initial release of the Adobe AIR runtime, one sought after feature has been the ability to run multiple instances of an application at the same time. The AIR runtime inherently prevents this by limiting each application to a single running instance.

This is done by reading the ‘id’ field defined in each application’s XML descriptor file. Any time a user attempts to run an AIR application, the runtime determines if an application with the same ID is already running. If an active instance is found, it is given focus, rather than launching a second instance.

There are some AIR applications where it may be beneficial to run multiple instances side-by-side. I have developed a small utility application that permits you to make copies of existing AIR applications and run the duplicated versions in tandem with the original. This is accomplished by copying the original application’s contents to a new location and specifying a new application ID for the copy.

It is important to note that each copy of the application will have its own independent storage directories. Depending on the architecture of the app, this may impact performance or data integrity. At the very least, do not expect stored information from one installation to carry over to another.

This is a hack, but I have found it useful in several situations. Your mileage may vary.

The application and source gode may be found on github:
Please check it out and tell me what you think (either here or on github directly).

AirAppDuplicator Demo from chris deely on Vimeo.

  1. #1 by Jo Poland on March 18, 2013 - 3:53 pm

    Chris this worked beautifully for me and when my brother tried it, it wouldn’t copy. Same for me on my laptop. All using Windows 7. Is there some setting we need to allow? We were trying to copy – and did copy successfully on one computer – Hipchat.

  2. #2 by Chris Deely on April 17, 2013 - 7:23 am

    On Win 7 you need to run AirAppDuplicator as an admin user. I have updated the docs on the GitHub repo to explain. Read here

  3. #3 by Kai Arnold on April 25, 2013 - 9:46 pm

    You, sir, are a prince among men. I owe you a case of beer.

  4. #4 by Kevin Kaland on May 26, 2015 - 4:54 pm

    I can’t believe a five-year old app flawlessly copied YNAB 4 for me so I could look at budgets side-by-side.

    And yet, it did. No apparent issues so far.

    If Adobe AIR has that kind of backwards compatibility, I must grudgingly concede it some respect.

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