StageWebView and The Native Browser

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WebKit is a layout engine that browsers use to render web pages and to support interactivity and navigation history. Developed by Apple in 2002 and open sourced in 2005, WebKit is the default browser built in for Android.

The AIR runtime for the desktop also includes a version of WebKit built in. However, AIR for Android does not include it, and instead leverages the device’s native implementation and gives you access to some of its features via StageWebView.

StageWebView brings the benefits of an Internet browser to your own application. In this chapter, we will briefly discuss accessing the native browser, and then go over what StageWebView has to offer.

The Native Browser

To access the Internet, you need to set the permission for it:

[code]<uses-permission android:name=”android.permission.INTERNET” />[/code]

You can launch the Android native browser from an AIR application using the naviga teToURL method. You pass a URL in the same way you do on AIR for the desktop:


function onPublicNews():void {
navigateToURL(new URLRequest(“”));


You can also use this method to launch native applications, such as the Android Market, that in turn makes calls to the Internet. The following example opens the Android Market and sets the criteria of applications to display as a URLRequest. Note that the protocol used is market:// instead of http://:


function onSearchMarket():void {
navigateToURL(new URLRequest(“market://search?q=food”));


In both cases, your application moves to the background and the native browser becomes the active application.

We need, instead, a solution whereby HTML content can be embedded inside an AIR for Android application. This is what the StageWebView class does.


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