State of AS3Lang


After a bit of quiet time, I was and still am quite busy with work stuff,
here a little state of ActionScript, simply put:

If for any reason you like programming with the ActionScript 3 language,
what to expect for the foreseeing future ?

If you search Twitter today with “#FirstSevenLanguages ActionScript

you can see that quite a lot of dev, among the many tech that were offered to them among the years,
have one way or another dealt with ActionScript, at least a little

that’s a good thing, you could say that “ActionScript” have a lot of mind share
and quite a lot of people know about it

but it is a double edged sword

most of the time people will associate ActionScript to Flash and to Adobe
and most of them will not realise that you can work with ActionScript beyond Flash
and without Adobe (nothing against Adobe here)

so, when you got those recent news that announce, yet again, that “Flash is dead”,
off course those same people think then that ActionScript is also dead

If you can not publish online with Flash, ActionScript is useless right ?

wrong, but you can not really blame them
here many factors

  • Adobe total lack of communication and promotion about Adobe AIR
  • Flash community spread thin beyond repair
  • all the hype is for the browser, anything HTML5 / CSS / JS

so the situation is about like “JavaScript the most understood language in the world”
adapted to the current situation for ActionScript it gives

ActionScript is the most underrated programming platform in the world

few people know all what the technology can do but the rest are completely unaware of it,
and even if you go to great length to explain it to them they still decide to ignores it

to illustrate that here a recent comment I made on Facebook about someone asking

What are you thoughts on Adobe AIR SDK vs xCode / Android Studio ?

here my reply

Forget whatever anyone else says about Flash / AIR
if you see a value in it, either in cross-platform app structure or time saved building apps.

Sure Xcode / Android Studio are natives and so can do all natives, but it is slow to develop as from the start you do all native

imho a dev is a better off conceiving / prototyping an app with Flash / AIR,
even with the basic Display List and only add the native needed with ANE

Also, AS3 can go further than just the desktop and mobile,

for command-line and server-side, yep in short, it can replace PHP, Python, Ruby, etc.

and for the critics and the “flash is dead” haters
well… see it like that, you know a secret weapon that nobody else want to use, it gives an edge

so yeah the current situation with ActionScript is you are basically on your own
and if you dare mentioning it to others you will be criticised, laughed at, hated, etc.
but is it really a bad thing ?

I do mean what I wrote above

you know a secret weapon that nobody else want to use

here the problem is not really about using a tech that everyone else love or hype about,
it is about can you use this tech to build stuff ? and by that I mean software

yes you can

so what do you care if the other guys/gals use something else ?
you don’t

the point is not about trying to convince others that your tech is worth it,
you know it is, so use it for yourself, and let the others deal with their own shit

maybe it is only me and maybe it is only my very specific experience,
but there was a time with Redtamarin were I was under the impression
I have to rally a lot of people around it to use it

a kind of way to justify the very existence of the tech itself
eg. look the cool stuff you can do with it, and it’s fast and can do all that other stuff too

you have basically the same problem with Adobe AIR
eg. look how well you can develop mobile and desktop apps and all those other stuff

look!!! there!!! can’t you see it?!?

so yeah it’s all natural as a dev to want to share with other dev a “cool tech”
but you know what, you don’t have to force it

at the end of day if you can produce an app 3x times faster than the other guy
because you use a specific tech and the other guy keep ignoring the tech you find “cool”
well… you don’t have a problem, the other guy have a problem and too bad for him

what you have really it’s an edge, an advantage,
something that you know and that many others don’t

sure there is also the reality that it will not get you a job,
you can not today go and say to some employer
“hey I know AIR, hire me as your iOS/Android dev”
they will show you the door and ask you to know instead
native development with Xcode, Android Studio, etc.

but …

forget about the job, think about what you can build

when you start to see mobile apps developed by a team of about 5 in about 1 year or so
and you realise you could build the equivalent app by yourself in half the time
it make you think

I’m not saying that knowing ActionScript make you superhuman OK …
but with AS3 and AIR, and maybe a bit of ANE, it does allow you to develop
something for less resources (either in time, money and/or people)

you do know a “secret weapon” and it is a huge advantage

but it is a paradigm shift too
knowing ActionScript 3 and by extension Adobe AIR (and maybe Redtamarin)
can make you a lot more independent e.g. indie :smile:

but then you are in the same shoes as the solo dev in the 90s publishing shareware,
you know a tech that allow you to do a lot by yourself, still … producing software is very hard

With all that said, let’s clarify a bit what as3lang is all about

  • sure it is about the ActionScript 3 language
  • what you can build with it
    • mobile apps with Adobe AIR
    • desktop apps with Adobe AIR
    • server apps / services with Redtamarin
    • to some extends online app with Flash
  • but in the context of being an indie dev
  • so it’s not about how you can use AS3 at your job to solve your daily problem
  • it’s more about all the other things you also need to know to publish software
    • difference between platforms for cross-platform dev
    • a bit of native development
    • how to automate things
    • how to promote / sell / advertise
    • and all that crap

to summarise it I would say it’s about publishing software that is written in ActionScript 3
which is a very special and small niche, not the usual small potato problem on stack overflow
like “duh … how do I add an event on a button in AS3 ?”

So yeah if you keep following and reading stuff on as3lang it’s gonna be about that kind of stuff
I gonna try to show you how to build software with AS3
how to be your own lean and mean app production machine :wink:

as3lang is still a forum, anyone can still ask questions about dull AS3 problem
the same way they could post on stack overflow or other forums

but let’s be clear, here the skill level is a bit higher and a bit stricter
if you did not bother to look trough the doc (AS3LR), do your own tests and other mockups,
or have no idea of your compiler options and you just want to be spoon fed
there is few chance you got the answer you are looking for here

on the other end, if your goal is to build software with AS3 as an indie dev
and you want the convo to be about how to build efficiently good software
you may find a couple of interesting things here to discuss about :slight_smile: