December 16, 2008

Adobe AIR: Deleting Locally Stored Encrypted Data

By Mona Nomura of Pixel Bits (FriendFeed/Twitter)

The main advantage to Windows for me, is that I am familiar with maintenance. I go straight into registry files, poke, shift, and delete stuff - confident my actions will not interfere with my PC's innards. I know Windows. OS X is a whoooole different story. Everything is so simple, but that's what scares me. The simplicity.

Call me paranoid, but because of my past experiences with Windows, 3rd party native apps freak me out, since I'm don't know what's going into where... and the biggest problem? I am an OS X moron.

So looking into 3rd party publishing tools for Twitter was confusing. All of the apps I use (personal and professionally) are web based. I do not have a need for Silverlight or Adobe Air, so I had to learn about those app before deciding on a Twitter app, since most Twitter apps require AIR or Silverlight. See? Confusing.

Long story short, I decided on Twhirl, since it came so highly recommended, installed AIR and Twhirl, then uninstalled immediately after running them for 30minutes. I am one of those that keeps separate windows to a minimum and accustomed to only a few windows: my browsers (Firefox, Safari, nightly build), documents, and Adium. Plus it slowed down my computer and it was just too busy. (for me).

So when it came to uninstalling Twhirl and AIR, I wondered if there were any files both apps plugged or hid locally. Especially since the data is encrypted and uses KeyChain to store data from the application to user. Digging through my hard drive did nothing for me, not to mention all the questions: Dragging and dropping apps don't really make all the files... disappear. Do they? Can it truly be that simple? It seems too good to be true; and the questions go on and on. (Hmmm, note to self: learn OS X.)

So I did the next best thing. Googled.

Well lo and behold, turns out I was correct. Adobe Air doesn't automatically delete files.

From their site:

deleting Adobe Air encrypted files
Click for larger image

"The encrypted local store may perform more slowly if the stored data exceeds 10MB.

When you uninstall an AIR application, the uninstaller does not delete data stored in the encrypted local store.

Encrypted local store data is put in a subdirectory of the user’s application data directory; the subdirectory path is Adobe/AIR/ELS/ followed by the application ID." via Adobe's site

And there you have it, folks.

Do any of you use Adobe Air? Am I missing out on good apps? Do you use Twhirl or another client?

*Originally posted on PixelBits, I thought to repost here from a TweetDeck/Adobe Air discussion stemmed from FriendFeed.

Chris Pirillo was kind enough to leave tips in the comments:
"For OS X, it’s: /Users/Username/Library/Application Support/Adobe/AIR/ - although I can’t confirm the specific path for either Windows XP or Windows Vista, though it’s likely to be somewhere either in “C:\Documents and Settings\Username\” or “C:\Users\Username\” depending on which version of Windows."
Read more by Mona Nomura at Pixel Bits