Actionscript 4 Revealed
According to Adobe Flash Roadmap, the next generation of Flash will be supporting Actionscript 4.
Here are some of the key features that will be incorporated.
- Stringent static typing as default, with optional dynamic typing:
Most stretches of most programs are expected to benefit from static typing. However, ActionScript 3 tends to lapse into dynamic typing all too easily in places where absolutely stringent static typing would be preferable. This will be corrected. Dynamic typing will still be available when needed, but it will no longer be the default for ActionScript, and it will need to be enabled explicitly.
- Type inference: Type declarations will only be necessary in certain strategic places. Everywhere else the compiler will automatically infer suitable type declarations and treat the whole program as statically typed, even though the programmer does not have to state any types. Thus the convenience of untyped programming can be approximated quite well, while providing the performance advantages of typed programming.
- Hardware-oriented numeric types: For example, int , uint , float , float4 , byte , short , long , etc. (the exact set of types is still under discussion). Currently in ActionScript 3 integer values can overflow into floating point values. This will be changed so that numeric operations will never change the underlying representation of the numeric. We foresee this addition greatly reducing implementation complexity and improving runtime performance.
Its is stated that AS4 will not be completely compatible with AS3. So maybe there will be a compiler option and one must choose EITHER one or the other (similar to the mutual exclusive option between AS3 and AS2. Depending on the amount of changes in AS4 we may see a new virtual machine inside the player designed to run only the AS4. Currently there are two VM, one for AS3 and one for older ActionScript.
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