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Basic data
Paradigms : object-oriented
Publishing year: 2000
Designer: Gary Grossman
Developer: Adobe Inc. (formerly Macromedia )
Current  version : 3.0   (June 27, 2006)
Typing : strong , static
Influenced by: JavaScript , Java
Affected: Knuckle
Operating system : platform independent

ActionScript ( AS ) is a programming language from the US software company Adobe Inc. based on the ECMAScript standard ( ECMA -262) for programs that are developed for Adobe Flash , Flex or Air . With the Adobe class libraries, ActionScript enables programmed access to the graphic and technical possibilities of the Flash environment. It can be rich Internet applications , desktop applications (Adobe Air) and apps for Apple iOS , Android and BlackBerry OS create. The language was originally developed by Macromedia , which was acquired by Adobe Systems in December 2005.


While Adobe Flash was originally the only integrated development environment (IDE) for ActionScript programming, the language is now supported by numerous development environments. These include the freely available FlashDevelop and the proprietary programs FDT and IntelliJ IDEA . For the development of ActionScript-based applications, Adobe offers Adobe Flash Builder , which is based on Eclipse and can run on its own, as well as being supplied with a plug-in that can be integrated into an existing Eclipse development environment as an alternative to using the program itself. Applications such as Ming and OpenLaszlo enable the server-side creation of SWF files .


ActionScript 1
was introduced in 1999 in version 4 of Flash Player, which was then developed by Macromedia. ActionScript 1 only had rudimentary control functions to make a presentation interactive. Object orientation is available in ActionScript 1 as prototyped object orientation.
ActionScript 2
is a more object-oriented extension of the language that was introduced with Flash MX 2004 and Flash Player 7, which is compatible with the previous version. The prototyped object orientation from the first version was encapsulated with a new syntax that adopted the syntax and programming paradigms from Java and C ++ and made class-based development possible. However, the prototype chain has been retained and nothing has changed in the inheritance mechanism in this version.

Since the introduction of ActionScript 3, the API of ActionScript 1 and 2 has not been further developed, but is still supported in current versions of Flash Player for backward compatibility . Flex and AIR applications can only be developed in ActionScript 3.

ActionScript 3
was introduced in 2006 with Flash Player 9 and enables class-based object orientation . This version thus represents a large, incompatible extension of the language based on drafts for ECMAScript 4. I.a. AS3 supports typing at runtime. It was precisely these major changes that led to the discontinuation of the development of ECMAScript 4.0, so that ActionScript 3 is an isolated representative of this draft language.


Object orientation can be used to provide expanded functionality based on ActionScript via open source class packages and binary class libraries. These can be integrated into Flash or Flex projects. The class libraries are ZIP archives with the file extension SWC which, in addition to ActionScript code, can contain all data formats that can also be embedded in SWFs. In this way, in addition to ActionScript logic, elements designed as components (configurable GUI elements for Flash or Flex) can be passed on in these files.

In addition to the extensive class libraries that Adobe delivers with the proprietary Adobe Flash or the free Flex SDK , there are a large number of free, free or commercial offers from other developers and companies. They extend the functional scope of the core language considerably and provide features based on the basic functions of language and platform, such as: B. tweening or 3D functionalities are available.

Runtime environment

ActionScript 3 runs in the ActionScript Virtual Machine 2 (AVM2), while the previous versions run in the AVM1. No seamless or direct communication is possible between the two virtual machines , so ActionScript 1 and 2 run separately from ActionScript 3.

See also


  • Michael Weigend: Adobe Flash CS5 with ActionScript 3. Introduction to practice . mitp, 2011, ISBN 978-3826690839 .
  • Tobias Hauser, Armin Kappler and Christian Wenz: The ActionScript 3 practical book . Galileo Design, 2010, ISBN 978-3836215657 .
  • Colin Moock: Essential ActionScript 3.0 . O'Reilly Verlag, 2007, ISBN 978-0596526948 .
  • Colin Moock: ActionScript 3.0 Design Patterns . O'Reilly Verlag, 2007, ISBN 978-0596528461 .
  • Colin Moock: Essential ActionScript 2.0 . O'Reilly Publishing, 2004, ISBN 978-0596006525 .

Web links