Monday, July 10, 2006

Enter the scene ActionScript 3.

Enter the scene ActionScript 3.
ActionScript 3 seems to be the talk of the town these days in the Flash community. FlexBuilder 2 and the alpha version of Flash 9 Professional are out and great changes have been made to the ActionScript 3 language including runtime debugging and a host of changes to the ActionScript programming model and the Flash API.

Event Listeners.
AS3 incorporates a stronger event handling model over the previous AS2. This new event model has been consistently integrated into all of the built in objects in Flash 9 and includes triggers for changing the default behavior for some previously internal events. One of the strongest improvements is the ability to run event listeners in the scope of an object other than the event dispatching object. Another strong improvement is the ability to create weakly referenced Listeners, allowing less error prone clean up and better garbage collection.

Regular Expressions.
Of course another great improvement is the implementation of a regular expression engine. Regular expressions allow text searching and will enable better validation. Complex text applications will be much easier to write and more efficient.

AS3's new method for handling XML, dubbed E4X is much cleaner as opposed to the previously verbose in the previous approach for handling XML. E4X's approach is consistent with ActionScript's method for accessing objects and properties.

External API.
AS3 now provides a replacement for the fscommand, an external API in the form of a class called ExternalInterface, with which to access the container hosting Flash something previously implemented using a host of solutions varying across browsers, platforms and environments.

Overall, I've only graced over the surface of the new Flash API but I am excited. Good things to come, I can guarentee it.