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Article: ActionScript 3 for Java Programmers

by Scott Delap on Aug 29, 2008 |
Often the hardest part of changing technologies is language syntax differences. This new article provides Java developers with a transition guide to Actionscript which forms the foundation of Flex.

Let’s face it: The client has not been a friendly place for Java programmers. Java technology on the client with applets, Swing, and JavaFX has had limited success. JavaScript, despite its name, is almost nothing like the Java language. And Adobe Flash—well, it’s just like JavaScript. Or is it? It might have been the case that Flash was like JavaScript a couple of years ago, but with the advent of ActionScript 3, a lot has changed. And I think you’ll find a lot to like.

First, ActionScript—the programming language for Adobe Flex and Flash—is now strongly typed. It also has first-class object orientation, including classes and interfaces. It has extras that you won’t find in Java—notably, get and set functions for properties and a language extension called ECMAScript for XML (E4X), which turns any XML document into objects that you can reference with dot operators, just like regular objects.

This article takes you through the basics of ActionScript 3 and shows how it compares with the Java environment you’re used to. By the end, you should have given up any preconceptions you may have had about ActionScript...

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Language syntax is not the problem by Per Olesen

Often the hardest part of changing technologies is language syntax differences


That is not true. Often, language syntax is the LEAST and EASIEST part, when changing technologies. As an example. Going from Java development into RIA development with Flex and AS3, the hardest part is learning the new platform. Best ways to do things. Learning the flex apis. Idioms and best-practices.

Learning the syntax of AS3 is a no-brainer for a just a little bit experienced developer.

Re: Language syntax is not the problem by Francois Ward

I agree. The syntax is the easiest part. The hardest is that often, the best practice in language A, -can- be used in Language B, but its awful, horribly inefficient, etc, and you end up not knowing any better at first. Learning the set of best practices and idioms is where the challenge is. Because of that, most people don't even try, and it ends up in a huge mess :)

Flash for Java Developers by Clive Henrick

This is a common case for me. I have learned to hire Java Developers and teach them flash (Flex AS3). As others have said, its not the Syntax, its the idea of interactive Objects within a Time Line, that's a bit harder to deal with. The Flash program is a bit of a pain as the UI is not developer friendly, but using Eclipse / Flex is much easier for a developer to pick up.

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