This was a heck of a problem to discover and even worse to try to figure out why. Sadly, I did not find a good solution the problem. I will give the short and sweet rundown of the issue. You have three different machines, three different operating system, the same version of Flex Builder (3.0.2), and the same code base. Now you would think that when you create a release version of an AIR application on one machine, then deploy it on another, you would get consistent results. However, we experienced that an AIR file created one Windows environment was different from the AIR file created on another Windows environment and a Mac machine. The difference was visible with the fonts displayed in the application.
I have to be clear about this part, because first you might think that the fonts are rendered differently on each machine because we didn’t embed the font within the application. So you would see different fonts on a Mac or from one PC to another. That would be a good guess, but you would be wrong. I have running on my Mac three copies of our AIR application (app_1.air, app_2.air, app_3.air), running side-by-side at the same time on the same screen. All three applications compiled form the same exact code base, but from different machines (two PC’s and one Mac).
One version of the application shows clearly readable fonts, the others two applicaions show thinner more jaggy fonts with some color differences. The most significant differences are displayed with italic text and text on fonts. I couldn’t believe it myself, but I have a screen shot to prove it. Below you can see all three applications. The screen shot was taken of the applications side-by-side and then changed in Photoshop for better display on the blog page (vertical instead of horizontal). You will notice that one has better looking text, thicker, richer colors, and just more readable. The other two are
crap, well, not as readable, especially the button text and the italic text.
The middle application clearly has the best displayed fonts, even though they are all running on the same exact machine, there is noticeable display differences. The only difference is the machine that compiled each AIR file. The font on the tabs is thicker for the middle one, the button fonts are clearer and thicker for the middle one, and the italic font is more readable. I don’t know how to fix this issue, embedding fonts did not work, installing the same fonts on each machine didn’t work, nothing helped! Why do some machines produce a better quality AIR file while others produce jaggy text? I couldn’t find any information on this problem, so please let me know if anyone has any solution.
If you run your AIR package on a Windows machine with “clear type” turned on, then it actually produces better fonts. This makes all three applications look identical on a PC, but with clear type off, then only one of the applications looks good. The application generated on the Mac, and generated on the PC with clear Type on, still look the degraded when compared to the middle application.
The best solution I could find to have a consistent look for the AIR application when created from different computers is to embed fonts within the application. Still does not solve the reason why there was a difference, but it does offer a temporary solution. For more information on embedding fonts check out Adobe docs on the topic.