My friend Mike posted instructions for installing the AIR 2.0 beta a couple of months ago which was really helpful for non-programmers like me. Unfortunately only a week later the AIR team changed the file type of the download which essentially nixed Mike's instructions.
The good news is that the new file version is actually pretty easy to install, but the instructions are geared towards people who think like a programmer instead of us Creative Suite people.
The new instructions are available in the Release Notes, which non-programmers might find a little confusing. Here's detailed instructions (for the rest of us) on how to install AIR 2.0:
1) Download the latest AIR SDK
Download the AIR 2.0 SDK (available in Adobe Labs) which should be a TBZ2 file (similar to zip). It will have a unwieldy file name like air2_b2_sdk_mac_020210.tbz2
Don't unzip it. Just hang on...
2) Duplicate your Flex SDK
2a) Find and navigate into your sdk folder
Inside your Flex Builder (or Flash Builder) application folder is the sdks folder. This folder maintains a copy of each version of the Flex SDK. You need to make a new one since you're changing it to include AIR 2.0 (instead of a previous version of AIR).
2b) Right-click on the most up-to-date folder (3.5.0 or 4.0.0) and select Duplicate to make a copy.
3) Rename your new Flex SDK Folder
Keep it simple. If it was 3.5.0, rename it 3.5.0 AIR 2.0 beta. This makes it easier to find it later.
4) Copy the TBZ2 file you downloaded into your new SDK folder.
Open your new 3.5.0 AIR 2.0 beta folder, then drag-and-drop the TBZ2 file inside it.
5) Launch the Terminal app
Terminal: that command line app that comes with every Mac. You can find it in Applications/Utilities/
6) In Terminal, navigate (change directories) to your new SDK folder
If you don't know UNIX, this is a little... weird. You'll use the cd command to "change directories" and ls to "look" around. Most likely you'll be starting in your User directory, so you'll need to back up a couple of folders (using the up-folder ../ symbol) to find your Applications folder:
6a) In Terminal, type:
If that worked, you should be in the main folder of your hard drive.
6b) (optional) In Terminal, type:
This step (6b) isn't necessary, but it will help you confirm that you're in the right place. You should see Applications, Network, System, Library and a bunch of other stuff, including a bunch of hidden files. If you're in the right place move on:
6c) In Terminal, type:
You're now in your Applications directory. If you type ls again you should see a list of all your apps.
6d) In Terminal type:
cd "(your Flex/Flash builder application)"
Ok. Instead of "(your Flex/Flash builder application)", use the actual Folder name with quotes, so for example:
cd "Adobe Flex Builder 3"
6e) (optional) In Terminal, type:
Again, this step isn't necessary, but it will help you make sure you're in the right place. You should see sdks in the list. If so, you're really close. One more...
6f) In Terminal, type:
cd sdks/(your new sdk folder name)
Finally! You're now in the right place. Time to unzip and transfer everything...
7) Untar (i.e. unzip) your AIR sdk TBZ2 file
This is actually a really cool command line trick, which is why the AIR team used it.
7a) In Terminal, type:
tar jxvf (your sdk TBZ2 file)
Again, replace "your SDK TBZ2 file" with the TBZ2 file you downloaded. The command will look like:
tar jxvf air2_b2_sdk_mac_020210.tbz2
If everything goes well, you should see a huge list of files getting added into the right folders. This is the benefit of this approach - you don't have to copy each file to the correct folder by hand.
If something goes wrong (i.e. Terminal says bad permissions), try adding sudo:
sudo tar jxvf (your SDK TBZ2 file)
If that didn't work, refer to the Release Notes for a solution...
8) Update your app to include the new SDK
You're not done. You need to tell Flex/Flash Builder about the new Flex SDK (w/ AIR 2.0 SDK).
8a) From the Flex top menu, open Preferences...
8b) In the tree menu navigate Flex -> Installed SDKs
8c) click the Add... button (top right corner)
8d) To find your new SDK, click Browse... to navigate to and select your new 3.5.0 AIR 2.0 beta folder (or whatever name you created in step 3)
8e) Enter the Flex SDK name (can use the same name as step 3 if you want) and hit ok
9) All done! More or less..
Your app now knows about the new SDK and can use it. There's a couple more steps you can take at this point:
9a) (optional) In the Flex -> Installed SDKs pane you check the checkbox to make your new SDK the default SDK used for all apps you're building or...
9b) (optional) You can target your new (beta?) SDK on a per-project basis:
In your Flex Navigator pane, right-click on your project folder and select Properties (last option at the bottom). In the new pop-up window select Flex Compiler. On the right, choose Use a Specific SDK and select your new sdk form the pulldown list.
10) That's it.
Now you have AIR 2.0 installed in a unique SDK folder which will let you experiment with the new features without breaking your old projects. Have fun!