Do you still use Flash 4 ActionScript Syntax?

Does anyone (aside from FlashLite authors) still use Flash 4 ActionScript syntax? i.e.?

Set Variable: "f4" = "true"
If (f4 eq "true")
     Stop
Else
     Play
End If

Begin Tell Target ("/")
     Stop
End Tell Target

If so, what version of Flash are you using? Post your info in the comments section.

41 Responses to Do you still use Flash 4 ActionScript Syntax?

  1. Is MM thinking about getting rid of it once and for all? :)Personally, I havent’t used Flash 4 syntax since Flash 4, but there are some old graphics templates laying around here that still make use of it (I’m at an e-learning company), but killing it wouldn’t hurt anything.

  2. JesterXL says:

    No. In addition, I never get around to “optimizing” my Flash files by using it, a common suggestion for Flash 4 syntax; Flash works fine optimizing things in AS2 for me.

  3. flashape says:

    argh…i hate when i see old flash 4 style syntax…i dont care if the code does execute 10x faster, its just so incongruous with AS1 (flash 5/mx) it almost jarring.except random() though, that’s cool.

  4. Robert says:

    Never use it any longer. The only thing I hate more than Flash 4 syntax is ActionScript2.

  5. Nisse Bryngfors says:

    AS 2.0 was a blessing and I’ve never looked back. Drop the old syntax and concentrate in making AS 2.0 even better…

  6. Brajeshwar says:

    I never knew them anyway! That is the good thing about starting from Flash 5.Yes, it is now time to concentrate on making the ones which are already there good and solid. Additions not needed much!

  7. Cedric says:

    In terms of speed, I saw some really cool things done in Flash4 syntax, but you definitely have seen those too 😉 (SWFXXL demo in FFNY02) …When I saw that I was amazed by the fluidity and rendition of the elements …. surely, as we go on (with the versions), there will be less and less need to stick to old fashioned coding style for speed needs …

  8. Bill says:

    I guess I’m in the minority of developers as I focus mostly on mobile devices so yes F4 AS syntax is important when creating content for mobile phones. However when developing non-mobile device apps I don’t use it.

  9. Bill says:

    I guess I’m in the minority of developers as I focus mostly on mobile devices so yes F4 AS syntax is important when creating content for mobile phones. However when developing non-mobile device apps I don’t use it.

  10. Anton says:

    Please get rid of the flash4 syntax! It’s useless.

  11. michelangelo says:

    i hate seeing it in FLAs as well, but worked on a FlashLite project recently and was surprised at how difficult it was to remember the syntax. also, it was really difficult to find much help on the correct syntax in the FMX04Pro documentation.can’t wait until i can just write in AS1/AS2 and have it properly delat with for a FlashLite movie

  12. Armand says:

    Having used Flash since v2, I remember how Flash4 syntax allowed me for the first time to do “real” interactivity… Those were the days.But now…. get rid of it! It’s ugly and hard to use and the speed improvement is not that significant.

  13. Peter says:

    Never use it — it really bugs me to find it in some FLAs that people ask me to debug, especially when mixed with dot-syntax.You’ve got my blessing to do away with it 🙂

  14. pete says:

    Anton, I here by nominate YOU to fix all my client sites that used flash 4 syntax. Oh and you’ll do it for free.Just becuase you dont understand it doesnt make it useless.

  15. No, I’m not.But did you ever imagine to release a parallel plugin in the next flashversion ?The current to display flashcontent from version 1-7 and a new one for displaying flash8 content. This could fix a bunch of problems.

  16. T says:

    Used Flash since MX, and develops only using that syntax. Sounds like you want to throw it out, I hope for MM sake that you don’t, there must be tons of movies out there using the 4 syntax

  17. Till Schneidereit says:

    i definitely wouldn’t miss anything if the compiler didn’t understand flash4-syntax anymore, but i can see some big problems coming if the player didn’t support it anymore.maybe andre’s suggestion to deploy a new plugin for content >=flash8 wouldn’t be have bad, but otoh i can see a lot of problems coming your way with people not understanding why they have to install yet another plugin if they already have the latest version of the flashplayer..

  18. Kenny Bunch says:

    Mike,I think your blog audience is the wrong market to be asking this question. More than likely all the people that hit your blog are more advanced developers. I tend to think that the people using Flash 4 syntax would be those legacy designers and developers who may not have kept up to date with Flash. Those people will not be reading your blog. I have a friend who definitely fits that category. I know for a fact he still is only comfortable with 4’s syntax.I personally use AS2 now unless I’m doing a small scale prototype that is a one off and I can afford to use the flexibility of the language (and then im using AS1 not 4). I only use 4 for mobile dev.

  19. I only use AS 2.0 I’ve just started programming with actionscript a year ago and what I’ve seen form AS 1.0, I’m happy that I’ve started with 2.0 😉

  20. I only use AS 2.0 I’ve just started programming with actionscript a year ago and what I’ve seen form AS 1.0, I’m happy that I’ve started with 2.0 😉

  21. John says:

    I remember using Flash 4 syntax, but it’s a distant memory now.

  22. tom says:

    mc did not say he wanted to kill F4 syntax and why should it be killed off?if you do not like seeing it in .fla’s then don’t use them, write your own instead.

  23. mike chambers says:

    Hey everyone, I never said anything about getting rid of Flash 4 syntax, so I would not assume anything.>I think your blog audience is the wrong market to be asking this question.It is one place of many that we can get input. We know how to balance all of the different sources.mike chambersmesh@macromedia.com

  24. nazyh says:

    yes i use sometime “tell target” or “eval”it was very dificult to write a script with flash4

  25. What a GREAT QUESTION!We use Flash 4 exclusively, because it works. Our clients are interested in penetration, not excuses about easier coding. Flash 4 is substantially faster for on screen animation and works much better with older computers.Now, with the mobil market about to surpass the desktop/pc market by a factor of ten (in terms of devices sold per year) Flash 4 syntax is again the cutting edge and most ‘machine effecient’ code base to focus on.Plus, most “newer functions”, like mouse wheel access can be added to Flash 4 code by simply declaring the new reserved words as a variable and if the player recognizes it, those newer functions work fine… with no errors from older players.Beyond all that, our developers are still waiting for the code base and interface to stablize… should we invest the time to learn a new flash interface ala F5, or AS1… or AS2, or what ever comes out next year?No, we are quickly creating mobil apps that work and sell in the east for phones now!And Mike – why is Flash 4 code so much better in terms of performance than ‘dot syntax’ and why can’t ‘dot syntax’ perform comparably to F4 code, Mike?

  26. I gave my copy of Flash4 to my 8 year old nephew who want’s to do things like homestar and he uses it a little bit. He’s obviously using the flash 4 ide, but I think it’s still a little too much for his patience and his hand drawn stuff is much farther along.I don’t think I use it myself much. I might occasionally use eval for debuging sometimes. I still like substring, but I’ve avoided using it since it’s depreciated. I wouldn’t miss them. I’m currently using Flash6 at work and Ellipsis at home.

  27. erikbianchi says:

    I don’t even use MX Syntax anymore.-erik.

  28. David Nelson says:

    I personally don’t. But i know quite a few people that use “random(n)” instead of Math.random()

  29. For my web projects (sites / applications) i stick with either AS 1 or 2 but when doing Mobile Development I have to use it. True the speed is great on the devices — but it is a pain for me to jump back and forth between 3 different syntaxes.

  30. deadbeat says:

    I haven’t used F4 syntax in years…Actionscript 2 is the only way to go, IMHO…K.

  31. Unreality says:

    I used Flash 4 to write multiplayer game 3 years before (http://ssf.unrealize.com/ssfantasy). The game is still running and I’m still modifying it from time to time.. using flash 4 of course.

  32. Paul Neave says:

    I use tellTarget() occasionally when with() is being a pain, eval() rarely when I can’t use array-referencing syntax e.g. _root[thing] and, yes, annoyingly I see code all the time that has random() all over it.I also can’t get out of the habit of using on() events for buttons because it’s so darn useful sometimes….oh and one I use all the time is int() – it works differently to Math.floor() in that it returns the integer.That’s about it!

  33. Peter Hall says:

    Just for the record, although Flash 4 syntax can be faster, the difference is not huge, when put in the context of a complex application. It’s rare that its worthwhile. The difference was huge in Flash 5 because the built-in objects actually were wrappers for the old functions, which is not the case since Flash 6. The speed difference is actually down to the time it takes to look up the function by name, rather than having it compiled as its own bytecode, so you can often save just as much by changing a couple of variables to local scope.Also, its a common misconception that eval is deprecated. It can no longer be used in certain cirumstances, which did not fit in to the ecma standard or a sensible interpretation of how AS should be interpreted. (ie it is meaningless to assign a value to the result of a function)Clearly Macromedia must continue to support old syntax for old swfs, but I certainly would not miss the old syntax, when publishing for Flash 8. From what we’ve been told, the new player will be 10x (?) faster than Flash 7, which totally overshadows the tiny speed gains from using deprecated AS bytecodes.

  34. matt says:

    I started with flash 4 and I really enjoy learning AS 2.0. I think the lack of “normal mode” in flash 7 was instrumental in helping me learn the new syntax and if macromedia finally takes out flash 4 coding in flash 8, then we will all be better off.

  35. I thinkn that programmers hate flash 4 syntax. BUt for any “misterious” reazon, is really easy to learn for designers with no background in programing.In my coimpany tehy still stucked with TellTarget in particular to control MC’s. Has been near imposible to me to teach them a diferent sintax, specially for the scope issues that you cand find in OOP in general.

  36. Jack says:

    No way, I never use that syntax, Im a programmer and it was a pain in the ass to write. Kill and eliminate old syntax, please concentrate on AS2 and ECMAScript4 compliance for future compatibility.

  37. artful says:

    Why “Kill and eliminate old syntax”?Flash 4 syntax just does not work anymore anyway, unless you actually USE Flash 4 … ie you cannot use ‘set variable: “x” = y’ in Flash MX 2004. So its already gone. The only remnant is /: syntax for variables, which is gone for AS2, and is not required in AS1 anyway.”We use Flash 4 exclusively”. Why? You can use the metter features of Flash MX anstill target SWF4 for export. You don’t need to put up with the clumsy Flash 4 syntax.”Clearly Macromedia must continue to support old syntax for old swfs” is just not true. You don’t need the old syntax at all. AS syntax can produce the same code as the old syntax does.Why complaint that some people are “still stucked with TellTarget in particular to control MC’s”. tellTarget has no direct replacement in AS, and can still be the best way to do coding. ‘with’ is NOT the same as tellTarget! I hope MM do not remove support for it in the future. It still has a place for targetting movieclips.”Flash 4 syntax can be faster” is also not true.. you don’t need Flash 4 syntax for fast code .. you can use AS/ecma compatible code instead.

  38. John Dwight says:

    I assume this is about removing Fla4 executable code from the next player? It’s probably no skin off to keep it in the authoring tool, esp. if Lite demands it.I’ve got a lot of legacy Fla 4 sites out there I no longer have access to update. Speaking as a dreaded “designer”, I found Fla4 code very hard to learn, and found Fla 5, and esp. Fla 6 code much easier to learn. AS 2.0 is just plain hard for me at the moment. 2 cents.

  39. DeadMorozz says:

    The people call me retrograde person just because of using 2-3 version old programms such as Photoshop5 or Dreamweaver3.But… That doesn’t mean that i’m a world best old-code-concept fan. Maybe flash4 is much faster whan it’s newer versions, — but the latest versions like AS1/2 are much powerful and compact in bytes. And this fact mekes us create the amazing things, sharming and compact, carrying the progress on.There’s no way back…

  40. mike chambers says:

    >I assume this is about removing Fla4 executable code from the next player?No, we have no plans to remove functionality with the player, or break backwards compatibility.mike chambersmesh@macromedia.com

  41. Andreas Heim says:

    I have a hard time remembering the last time I actually used Flash 4 syntax. It was actually in a fairly recent (<1year) Flash 5 project where I had to use Flash 4 style loadVariables, as Flash 5 doesn’t allow specifying different sender and receiver objects (aeh- empty movie clips).The only place besdes FlashLite I see Flash 4 syntax (and export to Flash 4) being used is where player penetration takes precedence and functionality is limited — e.g. for advertising. However then specifically Flash 4 or 5 would be the export format.I think its unnecessary for Flash 4 to be allowed when targeting Flash 6+ (AS2) as export format. It would also get rid of compiler confusion over which version of competing APIs to use.