Like Val Kilmer in Real Genius ActionScript 3 is both impressive and scary. It offers the best performance Flash developers have ever witnessed from the Flash Player and in my opinion enough power to rival the capabilities of Java. Although like Val’s character you are not quite sure how much sanity is there to balance that genius. You don’t really feel your idle threats will keep it under control and you fear that when you are not looking you might end up with an ice rink in your hallway or a house full of weapons grade laser cooked pop corn. Is potential disaster is actually worse then the reality?
AS3 is cool; REALLY COOL, but I won’t lie to you. You may be happier with it if you suffered through a few Java development courses in undergrad and happily yelped “thank you sir can I have another”. But I am not rambling on so that I can scare you off. My post today is to make use of a momentary laps in workload and remind everyone that the syntax and structural shift from AS1 to AS2 was no picnic for many and the same will be said for what is more of a paradigm shift from AS2 to AS3. There will be new things you have to learn and some of the simple things you used to do will require you to write more code. On the upside, just like with ActionScript 2, the really complex things can be built with far less code and you will have more control over what happens when.Initially AS3 may feel too formal and restrictive in that all your old beloved coding tricks may not work any more. Your days of cowboy scripting and side comments of “if I wanted to be a developer I would be a Java programmer” may look like they are numbered. However, if you made the transition to ActionScript 2 at all you more then likely are deeper into formal programming then you ever realized. Even most “designers” these days scoff at that simplicity of ActionScript 1 and going backward can be more worrisome then what lies ahead. While features like “Normal mode” and “Script assist” will always have their place, time and experience with ActionScript 3 will reveal its value to even the most skeptical. The initial flood of complexity promptly drifts away when as you realize how your approach to coding with AS3 provides better error handling, fast –intuitive parsing of data, control over loading external media and in general, the foundation to allow you to be even more creative in a dynamic ways then you ever thought possible.Now that I have confessed my joy for AS3 and Player 9 I want to hear you have to say!Get AS3 Preview from labs and bring me you thoughts, praise, gripes, and oh yes.. desires for Flash Player 10!P.S. sorry for the 80s reference 😉