10 Adobe AIR Apps for Web Designers

Aug 19 2008 by Jacob Gube | 34 Comments

Adobe AIR – a cross-platform runtime environment for rich-internet and desktop applications – is just starting to get popular outside of the early-adopter circles, but there’s already a growing amount of tools and utilities that can help web designers with various design-related and managerial tasks.

If you’re a web designer that’s into experimenting and trying out new applications (they don’t cost a dime), check out these 10 Adobe AIR applications perfect for web designers. Graphics designers, interaction designers, and web developers might also find this collection useful.

Em Calculator

Em Calculator - screen shot.

The Em Calculator created by James Whittaker is based on an article on 24 ways entitled Compose to a Vertical Rhythm. It’s a pain-free way of creating CSS code for typography set on a baseline style, allowing the design to maintain its typographic proportions (i.e. size, line height, margin, padding) when the web page is viewed at a different font sizes.


colorPicker - screen shot.

colorPicker is a simple desktop application for determining hexadecimal values of web-safe colors. colorPicker saves colors you’ve used during the session so you can quickly refer back to it. If a web-safe color isn’t quite what you’re looking for, there’s an option for adjusting the selected color’s RGB values.

AIR Icon Generator

colorPicker - screen shot.

The AIR Icon Generator is for designers needing a quick icon/web 2.0 badge created. Using the tool is a easy as pie: enter the text you want to display, choose the icon you want to generate (there’s currently only two styles available) and the color, press "generate icon" and you’re good to go. The output provides four different sizes of the generated icon.

Google Analytics Reporting Suite

Google Analytics Reporting Suite - screen shot.

The Google Analytics Reporting Suite brings Google’s powerful website analytics tool to the desktop and adds several nifty features such as the ability to save/switch between different profiles (excellent for managing multiple sites/accounts for clients) and tab-based navigation for statistics pages you’ve opened.

Shrink O’Matic

Shrink O'Matic - screen shot.

We’ve all had to resize a batch of images at some point – thumbnails for image galleries comes to mind. If you’re looking for a quick-and-easy, free application – check out Shrink O’Matic. Set your desired options/parameters (Output size, Output name, Output format) and then drag your images into the interface (or use the file browser), and you’re done!


WebSnapshot - screen shot.

There are plenty of situations where you need to take a screen shot of a live site; maybe you’re documenting or collecting websites for your portfolio. WebSnapshot is a hassle-free tool to accomplish just that. You have the option to capture thumbnails, full page (entire width and length of the page), and/or the browser contents of live websites. As an alternative, try out WebKut, which has similar functions.

kuler desktop

kuler desktop - screen shot.

The kuler desktop brings Adobe’s color theme web application to the desktop. Additionally, kuler desktop allows you to import color themes directly into Adobe software applications such as Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. Be sure to check out Color Browser to help you organize and save color schemes locally from kuler and COLOURlovers.


pixus - screen shot.

pixus is a pixel-based ruler for objects on your screen/monitor. It has skins for Internet Explorer 6 and Safari so that you can visualize how a design or object looks in a web browser. pixus allows you to save preset dimensions for later use.


Klok - screen shot.

Klok is a nifty, robust project time-tracking tool. Klok comes with pre-defined templates including Web Project geared specifically for web designers and developers.


Snippely - screen shot.

If you’ve worked as a web designer for while, you’ve probably amassed a big list of bookmarks and code snipplets that you frequently use. Snippley is an application for organizing and managing your code snipplets within an intuitive interface and centralized location.

I hope you found this collection of tools helpful. If you did, you may also be interested in reading Web-Based Tools for Optimizing, Formatting and Checking CSS and 20 Useful Tools to Make Web Development More Efficient.

Did I miss your favorite? Have any experiences with these applications? Drop your inputs in the comments.



August 19th, 2008

You can checkout more Adobe AIR apps over at http://RefreshingApps.com.

Submit your apps, vote and comment on your favorites.

Flavio Copes

August 19th, 2008

I really liked Klok and Snippely, 2 great time-saving tools! Thanks for listing them!


August 19th, 2008

WOW, these are great thanks i never actually knew so many exsisted.


August 19th, 2008

I was just wondering by reading about Snipperly… Is there some useful site somewhere online working like a snipplet wiki something like a huge public snipplet repository? I know Snipplr.com but that doesnt suffice my needs unfortunately

Brian Swartzfager

August 19th, 2008

I was shocked to see my colorPicker app in this list (especially considering how simple it is compared to some of the other apps listed). Thanks for the mention!


August 19th, 2008

Some of them will be really really useful! Thanks a lot.

Alfio Raymond

August 19th, 2008

CFDocs is great air app that lets me access ColdFusion syntax faster than accessing it online.

Lamin Barrow

August 19th, 2008

I have been using kuler desktop from adobe for a while but i have never come across any of these before. I will be sue check em’ out. Thanks for the post.


August 19th, 2008

Great list.

I used most of them, using kuler & snippely daily but heard of pixus the irst time & seem something I need.

Thanks for this great resources.

Jacob Gube

August 19th, 2008

@Karl: There’s several code snipplet repositories around. If you’re looking for user-submitted snipplets, check out DevSnipplets. There’s also Ajax Rain for JS/DHTML code. Hope those help a bit.


August 19th, 2008

Thanks mate! I’m actually looking for a rather Acionscript oriented Snippet base, but DevSnippets looks nice, since CSS is one of the disciplines I often work in.

Jacob Gube

August 19th, 2008

@Karl: Glad to help – if you find a nice AS-oriented snipplet repository, let me know or maybe we can persuade Noura on DevSnipplets to add a Flash category! :)

Jake Strawn

August 19th, 2008

This is indeed a very nice list… there are at least 2 or 3 right off that I think I’ll try out to see if they can help my workflow!

Thanks for the information!


August 19th, 2008

All those AIR apps are great once you already have a precise plan what you want. If you are still in the phase of makeing concepts and mockups, the app “Balsamiq MockUps” might help. URL: http://www.balsamiq.com/

I tried it out and making scribbles or mockups is a breeze compared to tools like Visio or OmniGraffle I usually use for those tasks.

And hey, I’m not affiliated with that Balsamiq guy.


August 20th, 2008

Thank you so much for this amazing list!


August 20th, 2008

My favorite right now is: http://www.balsamiq.com/
a mock up tool for apps and software


August 20th, 2008

thanks for this nice list Jacob.Its very useful

Farid Abdulhadi

August 20th, 2008

Hey Jacob,
Thanks for a nice list. I’ll surely check some of these out.

Aaron Bassett

August 20th, 2008

Great list, I really like Snippely but it has a few issues.


which I really hope they fix as that would make it an essential app!

Noura Yehia

August 20th, 2008

Thanks Jacob for the mention.

I didn’t think before about adding a Flash Category on Devsnippets before but i think its very interesting idea, since many flash developers are looking for easy to use AS-oriented snippets.

Thanks for the suggestion and will sure add it :)


August 20th, 2008

Impressive collection, wasn’t aware of any of these, really loving that Klok app. Thanks.

Jacob Gube

August 20th, 2008

@Martin and @Roy: Balsamiq MockUps is great, but I wanted to include full-version free applications. It is worth a mention though and the author of the application says to email him if you want to get a license, and depending on what you’ll be doing with it, you may get one.

@Aaron Bassett Thanks for sharing your experiences with Snippley. You’re right, sharing snipplets with other Snippley users would be great!

@Noura Yehia: Congratulations on the successful launch of Devsnipplets!

Thiemo Gillissen

August 20th, 2008

Thanks for the great summary. Very useful apps.

kevin f

August 21st, 2008

@Karl, I haven’t used it personally for a long time, but Krugle was one of the first big names in code search engines. Here’s the link to their search page (includes ActionScript): http://www.krugle.org/kse/files

David Henderson

September 3rd, 2008

These are great. I hope to start using some of these to become more efficient in my work.

Rosie B Arias

September 8th, 2008

I want To learn how to make my own web site can I do this with hands on experience with this program?

Rodrigo Mesquita

March 18th, 2009

Balsamiq, as said before, is a great design tool to mockup GUI. Highly recommended! http://www.balsamiq.com/


March 25th, 2009

Nice selection, I already use a couple but hadn’t come across all of them. Looks like some great time savers here!


April 4th, 2009

Very good!

shiva bandaru

June 21st, 2009

Hey Jacob,
Thanks for a nice AIR apps list.

Orfebre Martin

June 27th, 2009

This is very good!


July 8th, 2009

Thank you. I used this favorite icon generator for my own web site. It looks nice.


September 11th, 2010

Thank you.
Good work.


December 12th, 2010

Hi Jacob, great list!

We are the developers of another AIR app that could be of help to the web design community. It is called Repper and it’s a pattern design tool. You can check it out on our site http://repperpatterns.com/. Hope you like it and think it’s useful enough to include in the list (make that 11 ;) )

Cheers, Alex from studio:ludens

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