Author Archive: Kshitiz Gupta

AOT Compilation Optimization

This post will talk about a small optimization that developers can do within their code to reduce the amount of time taken for AOT compilation of their application I would recommend developers to read this post to understand what is meant by AOT compilation.

One of the intermediate steps in AOT compilation requires LLVM to process the LLVM bytecode and to optimized LLVM bytecode. In case one of your function has a lot of actionscript code (~30000 lines) then the corresponding LLVM code is around 1.3 million lines. LLVM is known to perform badly (compilation time) on large functions. As a recommendation, actionscript developers should break down on large function into smaller functions to reduce the AOT compilation time. They need not change any code, just break a large function into many smaller functions to reduce AOT compilation time significantly.

Supporting languages with unicode characters

Flash provides great support for rendering text with a great set of API. Flash also allows developers to render text in various languages so that developers can build localized applications. Flash allows developers to render text in languages like Japanese or Chinese whose character set contains unicode characters. There is a small subtlety that developers need to be aware of when targeting localized versions of their applications on iOS.

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Embedding assets in your mobile application

Traditionally flash developers have been more focused on the browser to deliver their content. While delivering the content through the browser, developers generally embedded their assets within the root swf. Honestly, there is no other way except loading these images off their servers but this could have resulted in a lag whilst the content was running

With AIR however, developers need to make certain changes to their applications to make them more apt for deployment on mobile devices. With AIR, developers get access to the file system and the assets for their content can be accessed off the file system instead of being embedded within the root swf. Assets for the application should be packaged along with the application and then should be accessed on demand by simply loading them using a Loader.

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Xcode template for authoring ANEs

It just became easier to author AIR Native Extensions for iOS. An open source contribution has been made by someone that allows easier authoring of ANEs for iOS. The application is actually a template for Xcode that gives you a head start on ANE creation.

Make sure to try it out. Head over to project and documentation.

AOT or Interpreter

Traditionally, computer programs can be executed in three possible ways – interpreted, static (ahead-of-time) compilation and Just In time (JIT). In interpreted mode, the code is translated from high-level language to low level language during execution whereas in ahead-of-time compilation the high-level language code is converted to low-level machine code before hand. JIT (Just in time) compilation is a hybrid approach of the two. Here the code translation into native code occurs during the execution time and the translated code is cached so that this conversion need not be done every time. Obviously there is a small penalty when compared to ahead-of-time compilation as there is a cost associated with this translation.

After this brief introduction lets get into the Adobe AIR world and what is there in it for an iOS AIR developer. SWF content on all platforms other than iOS is JIT compiled, whenever possible. The swf is downloaded locally and JIT compiled where possible. Continue reading…