Definition of the Language

Developed by Macromedia Inc, ActionScript is an object oriented programming language. The language was derived from HyperTalk, which was the scripting language for HyperCard. At present, ActionScript is a dialect of the ECMAScript, more commonly known as JavaScript. This means that it is a superset of the syntax, as well as the semantics of the JavaScript. The major use of ActionScript is in the creation of software and websites aimed the Adobe Flash Player platform, used on Web pages as embedded SWF files.

History of ActionScript

The commencement of ActionScript was as an object oriented language to be used for Macromedia’s Flash authoring tool, which is now developed as Adobe Flash. The initial three editions of the Flash authoring tool had features with impaired interactivity and early developers working on the platform could only attach simple commands, known as actions to frames and buttons. The actions consisted of basic controls only like ‘play’ or ‘getURL’.

In 1999, the release of Flash 4 marked the consolidation of these actions into a scripting language. Although the new scripting language was known as ActionScript internally, it was referred to as actions in user manuals and advertising documents. The different versions of ActionScript releases with passage of time are mentioned below:

  • ActionScript 1.0 in the period 2000-2004. The release of Flash 5 was accompanied by further advancements in the actions from Flash 4 and these were now named ActionScript for the first time. It was affected by the JavaScript and the ECMA-262.
  • Action Script 2.0 during the years 2003-2006. This was the second version of the language released in September 2003. Its release was accompanied with that of Flash NX 2004, as well as Flash Player 7. The ActionScript 2.0, had compile-time checking, as well as a class based syntax so as to fulfil the growing demands for a language with better support for larger and more complicated applications. It also consisted of a class-based inheritance syntax allowing developers to produce classes and interfaces in the same way as they could in Java and C++.
  • ActionScript 3.0 from 2006 to present. This was launched in the year 2006 along with Adobe Flex 2.0 and Flash Player 9. This version completely changed the structure of the language and the Flash Player 9 came with two virtual machines; one for code in ActionScript 1.0 and 2.0 and another for that in ActionScript 3.0.
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