Getting back into programming with AS



Do you have any references, books, or tips for people trying to get back into programming with AS ?

I have some basic programming knowledge, but the last time I did anything with Flash was around 2005. I gather the workflow has slightly changed since then … :sunglasses:
I’m planning on using AnimateCC with FlashDevelop.

PS- Nice to meet you all !


I know most AS3 semantics. Basically I knew Flash Professional in 2014 when I was 12/13 years old (I was only good at using timeline scripts) and a bit later in 2015 I was having medium JS knowledge (I’ve created a site and forum from zero in Hostinger at 2014 December) and I had built a space-ship game just for test. Under the hood, I think Flash Professional uses (A)MXMLC or maybe its front-end for building a FLA project and outputting SWFs.

When you set you entry-point script there on Flash Pro., it must define a class with that script name, into a package equivalent to its relative pathname or into a unnamed package.

I’m in cellphone bcuz of my brother -.-


Hey and welcome,

so from an older post Stackoverflow ActionScript 3 documentation dashboard
here a list of good references

  • Adobe Flash Platform official documentation
    eg. “ActionScript 3.0 Developer’s Guide” or the infamous AS3LCR (Language Core Reference)
    the pros are that it is a pretty damn good documentation from the mothership itself, that you can download it as PDF (portable, local, even works on mobile reader).
    the cons is that people prefer to go ask a quick question on stackoverflow instead of reading the damn doc.
    - Adobe AIR official documentation
    eg. “Building Adobe AIR Applications”
    - Adobe Flex 4.6 official documentation
    - ActionScript Native Extensions official documentation
    eg. “Developing Native Extensions for Adobe AIR”
    - Optimizing Performance for the Flash Platform (kindof an official documentation)

Learning ActionScript 3 from the Adobe Developer Connection is a good start

Browsing the stackoverflow tag actionscript-3 can help too (or the other tags: flash, flex, actionscript, air, etc.)

Searching “actionscript tutorial” on Youtube returns 140K+ links

Everyone will have a different way to learn stuff, if I could give a couple of advices it would be:

  • try to build a small project from start to end
    eg. like a clock (digital and/or analog)
  • don’t ignore the command-line, at least get used to it
    just knowing the differences between the Flex SDK and AIR SDK etc.
    or how to build from the command-line with Ant can help a lot
  • publish to 1 platform first, for example if you work under Windows
    building an Adobe AIR app for Windows seems a good first choice

but really it depends on what you want to do and where you want to go,
Flash/AIR can output a lot of different stuff (animations, games, apps, etc.).


@hydroper @zwetan : Thank you both !

I have already spent quite some time with Google, trying to find answers to a bunch of question, but it seems that a lot of old places and tutorials no longer exist. And the same with some of the Adobe documentation … How sad. :slightly_frowning_face:
So, Zwetan : thank you very much for this long list ! I will read it all … eventually. :slight_smile:

When I used Macromedia Flash, we programmed inside the timeline. Do I understand it correctly that this is frowned upon now ?
And what about Flex ? Is that still used ? I’m guessing for games, I should use AIR + ASC2, right (for desktop/mobile)?
I like web for small free games, but I’m not sure if that’s still convenient, with the switch to html5. I guess there will be more problems with browser compatibility and such …


You don’t have to read it all but as reference if you’re not sure how an API works or other things like that, you will probably find the details in the official doc.

For rotten links, well … it happen everywhere on the internet
try your luck with web archives wayback machine:

You can still do it with Animate CC but imho it is not the best way to do once your program become quite big (it’s like the goold old days of AS2, AS3 can do much better).

Usually what I advise is to build the assets in Animate CC, export them to SWC with named symbols
and then use the external SWC as an external library in Flash Builder (or any other IDE) to do the programming.

But really it depends on the project itself.

So Flex is 3 things really

  • the IDE, Flex Builder, which got renamed to Flash Builder
    not update since last version 4.7 but you can work with it for most projects
  • the SDK, which in the mean time got donated to the Apache Foundation
    and is still regularly updated see and
    • the Flex tooling (mainly command-line tools) like
      asdoc, mxmlc, compc, etc.
    • the Flex libraries/frameworks
      eg. when you build your app based on MXML and Flex components

So yeah Flex is still used and is also evolving (see for ex: Apache Royale Coming Soon).

Now the thing to understand if you can have 2 paths depending on which SDK you choose

  • either use the Flex SDK (either old Adobe Flex SDK or new Apache Flex SDK)
    that you can merge with the “old” AIR SDK (based on ASC1)
  • or use only the “new” AIR SDK (based on ASC2)
    almost the same but it uses a new compiler

The differences in compilers are not that important (unless you badly need some specific things)
and technically you can use both the compilers, for ex: you could use a SWC compiled with ASC2
in a project that use the Flex SDK merged with AIR SDK (ASC1).

If you use something like Flash Builder and need to use different versions of the Flex/AIR SDK
it is easier to use the “Flex SDK merged with AIR SDK”, but really a detail if you build only 1 project for 1 platform.

That said, I would say knowing how to setup both is a plus for a dev.

For the technical, here the differences using ASC 2.0

In short ASC2 is a stricter compiler and allow for inlining and dead-code elimination,
but it can confuse a lot of dev when it comes to compile font and/or writing strict AS3.

Yeah well SWF on the web is soon to be dead since Flash EOL has been announced for 2020,
you can still work with SWF files and use HTML that embed SWF on the desktop etc.
see for ex AIR, HTML and SWF, but SWF running inside the default browser on the user’s desktop is a dead end.

If your ultimate goal is to produce games for the web, Flash/SWF is not anymore the solution.

Maybe Apache Royale will bring a solution to that in the coming years,
maybe you can ditch the web and produce only for desktop and/or mobile,
or maybe you can ditch AS3/Flash/AIR and move to HTML5/CSS/JS (which imho is a dead end too for other reasons).

In fact, tech move really fast and it’s pretty hard to predict what will work nicely in the futur,
only thing I can say is if you plan to produce a small’ish Flash game to publish as SWF on the web,
it can still work now, but expect it to become harder and harder for your users to play it from now to 2020, and in 2020 it will be technically impossible as all major browsers will have removed altogether the flash plugin.

But the same you can take an “old” SWF game sources and update it to publish on mobile with AIR,
you can also plan your new SWF project the same way.


Ah ! Good idea !

Ok, I’ll try it that way.

That’s a good explanation. Thank you.

Yes, too bad about that …
I think AnimateCC can also compile AS3 into JS (for deployment as html5). But I’m not sure how well that works.

Yes, I plan on doing mostly that. But the occasional free web game is also fun.

Noooooo !!! :scream:
I don’t know why, but I just don’t like writing JS. It rubs me the wrong way.

Anyway. I’m glad to have found this community. Are there many people around ? And are most of you working on games, or are you doing ‘more serious stuff’ ?


Actionscript and openFl:
official site


OpenFL does not use ActionScript



Is this workflow limited to named symbols only? Can you embed an entire stage with its children placed correctly?

I’m new to both Animate CC and AS3, and I’d like to use Animate CC to create the UI, then continue with AS3 inside an external code editor.

What is your opinion on Feathers SDK compared to Apache Flex?



You need the named symbol so you can access/control it from code
but you don’t have to name all the child symbols if you don’t need to

In itself you can not directly access the stage, you will need to
select all the stage timelines and layers and move it to a MovieClip with a symbol name
for ex MyStageSomething

usually the workflow is:

  • while working within Animate CC
    you drag n drop the named symbol onto the stage
    then work/test it for the animations parts
  • then you export the FLA to a SWC
  • from the project in “code mode”
    you reference the SWC in your external libraries
    and you add to the stage the named symbol you need

It’s nothing new, in the past in the flash examples you could have seen
a clock edited in Flash CC, you would have different individual symbols:
the dial, the minute hand, the hour hand, the case, etc.

Then in the code part you could have a UIClock class
aligning and composing visually all those symbols together.
adding the logic connected to a timers, so when the time is updated
you move the minute hand and/or the hour hand, etc.

It depends what you try to do, you can as well use none of them (Flex or Feathers)
or use both of them or only one, whichever fit better your need for components/skinning.

So I would say Flex SDK would be better fit for a UI that does not have animations
but need to display a lot of grid/tables like a database editing software.

Feathers SDK would be better for mobile UI when you need the speed of Stage3D
for things like those long scroll list you see on mobile where it speed up and bounce etc.

Personally I don’t like to use components/skinning, if the UI is really custom
I think you can feel limited by the components that are available and what you can do with the skinning,
so most of the time I build everything from scratch depending on what the app need.

That said, components SDK/frameworks can be convenient if you don’t really want to think how you build the UI, but I don’t subscribe to the idea that they earn you time in the long run.



I created a MovieClip symbol as you suggest, then published it as SWC.


In IDEA, i just added the SWC to the project dependencies. And now it’s accessible as a class.


However, there are some visual issues when I add the MovieClip to the stage:

I should read more about how alignment and scaling works in AS3.

But overall, I’m really happy. The workflow is very smooth. Thanks for the SWC tip! :slight_smile: