Tiffany B. Brown

Introducing HTML5 for AS3 Developers

During my three years at Armchair, I worked on a few ActionScript 3.0 projects. I knew some ActionScript 2.0 when I started, but ActionScript 3.0 was new for me. It is object-oriented and requires event-driven thinking — two skills frankly, that I am still developing. They’re also two skills you should be developing, as they’re the present and future of web development.

Now I work almost exclusively with JavaScript, HTML5, CSS, and occasionally SVG. I haven’t touched ActionScript in any serious way for close to a year. But working on those projects was “training” of sorts. And it served me well.

It’s an open secret that HTML5* evolved to kill Flash. Many of the features of HTML5 and technologies such as XMLHttpRequest, Level 2 and Cross-origin Resource Sharing have parallels in ActionScript 3.0. The front-end stack, in other words, is gunning for Flash. And it will happen sooner rather than later.

ActionScript developers may cringe at that news, but I don’t think they should. I strongly believe that AS3.0 developers are better positioned than the rest of us to be leaders in front-end stack development. Problems that most JavaScript developers are learning how to think about — reading and manipulating bitmap data, doing object hit testing, making cross-domain requests, — ActionScript developers have been doing for years.

Of course, this is all provided ActionScript developers are willing to make the switch.

To that end, I’m starting an ongoing (but occasional … perhaps very occasional) series of blog posts detailing some of the commonalities and differences between ActionScript 3.0 and the HTML5 Stack. I am calling it HTML5 for ActionScript 3.0 Devs, even though it isn’t just about HTML5.

Sometimes they’ll be deep dives. Other times they’ll be shallow ones. It is quite possible that I will misunderstand aspects of both (that’s what comments are for). My goal here is less to be comprehensive than it is to encourage developers to learn more about these topics.

*Of course, I am using “HTML5” as a short hand for HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, the Document Object Model, Scalable Vector Graphics, and several other web technologies and specifications.

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