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From Josh Tynjala <joshtynj...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: Generics (was: Re: AW: [Falcon] Proposal for new ActionScript language feature: Optionally rename an import)
Date Tue, 27 Sep 2016 22:30:49 GMT
I want to add a small feature that is meant to help developers with a real
annoyance that I have seen repeated complaints about over the years. It's
something I've run into myself, as you could see from the Starling examples
I included in my original post. I'm baffled that anyone would say that an
optional new feature with this kind of targeted impact could possibly
hinder the cause.

ActionScript remaining completely stagnant for years is frequently stated
as a reason why people choose to stop using it. It's been too long, and
even if the improvements are small, I believe they will be welcomed. Sure,
we might see some "too little, too late" responses, but snarky comments go
with the territory. None of us would still be here if that kind of stuff
bothered us.

Finally, I'm all for comparisons being made to other technologies. If we're
a part of the conversation, it means we're doing something right. It's okay
if some people ultimately choose the other side of the comparison. If
anything, the feedback about why they chose the other option will help us
see where we need to improve. We need people talking about FlexJS and
transpiled ActionScript. Even if it's "that's not right for me because...",
they cared enough to say something, and that's actually a big deal, in my
opinion.

- Josh

On Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 2:45 PM, Greg Dove <greg.dove@gmail.com> wrote:

> My 2 cents:
> Haxe as a language already has features like this (and many more) as well
> as being very mature, and not too distant from actionscript.
>
> I see the 'import as' feature as definitely helpful (I would use it for
> sure), but I feel that if you tried to make actionscript too much like Haxe
> (which also targets js and swf, along with numerous other targets) then the
> mxml and framework side of things needs to be a very strong point of
> differentiation when others seek to compare Haxe and Falcon/AS. (I think
> there may also be some xml based declarative support libraries for Haxe as
> well, although I have not looked into that).
>
> A couple of things to consider before making changes:
> -How important is familiarity in terms of popularity?
> -The more you encroach on something else with those features, the more you
> will have direct comparisons made. If you get 'too similar', it is I think
> more likely that the more mature option will 'win' in a comparison.
>
> I like both Haxe and actionscript for different reasons, and I am
> comfortable with liking both (some people tend to be more polar in their
> views!).
> I personally would also welcome these features in actionscript. But I do
> wonder whether it helps or hinders the long term cause.
> </2cents>
>
>
> On Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 9:40 AM, Christofer Dutz <
> christofer.dutz@c-ware.de>
> wrote:
>
> > Hi Alex,
> >
> >
> > No matter what language, I think Generics are usually a compile time
> > thing. I bet the MS guys won't be able to implement Runtime generics on
> top
> > of JavaScript :)
> >
> > I think the Parser part would be the part I can help with ... I like
> Antlr
> > (even the old versions) I should manage to adjust the parser grammar to
> > produce some additional AST nodes. It was more the other part that I was
> > worried about. Seems together this would be a huge thing. Espsecially
> > because I noticed people drop all their predudices against Flex as soon
> as
> > you state: "We're more or less the same as TypeScript, but we have loads
> of
> > well established libraries to use" ... currently the thing I always here
> is
> > "but Typescript has Generics ... and I like Generics" I would so
> > desperately like to get rid of that reply ;-)
> >
> >
> > Chris
> >
> > ________________________________
> > Von: Alex Harui <aharui@adobe.com>
> > Gesendet: Dienstag, 27. September 2016 22:25:46
> > An: dev@flex.apache.org
> > Betreff: Generics (was: Re: AW: [Falcon] Proposal for new ActionScript
> > language feature: Optionally rename an import)
> >
> > It should be possible to add compile-time language features like
> Generics.
> >  There might be issues around runtime type conversions though.
> >
> > I'd be willing to help with the AST->output side.  For me the part that
> > wouldn't be any fun would be in changing the parser to build out the AST.
> > If someone can make the changes to create a tree of new Node subclasses,
> I
> > will try to get the right JS and SWF output to happen.  The SWF output
> > would probably be the hardest.
> >
> > -Alex
> >
> > On 9/27/16, 8:10 AM, "Christofer Dutz" <christofer.dutz@c-ware.de>
> wrote:
> >
> > >In general I have no objections and something like this could sometimes
> > >be really handy. But I with this we could be writing code that is called
> > >ActionScript3 but without it actually being ActionScript3.
> > >
> > >
> > >While preparing my talk to Solutions.Hamburg a few weeks ago, I had a
> > >detailed look at Typescript and noticed with a little jealousy some
> > >language features I would really like to have:
> > >
> > >
> > >- Generics
> > >
> > >- Arrow Functions
> > >
> > >- Enum types
> > >
> > >
> > >I guess we definitely shouldn't support all features, as I think a lot
> of
> > >them are simply crap, but if we were supporting these features we could
> > >eventually get more Typescript fans on board (Generics being the most
> > >important one from my point of view)
> > >
> > >
> > >I was thinking about proposing to define an ActionScript4 with file
> > >ending as4 so eventually this would be the better approach. Eventually
> it
> > >would be a good idea to start collecting features as we wouldn't want to
> > >do an AS5, AS6, ... AS2000 every now and then.
> > >
> > >
> > >Chris
> > >
> > >________________________________
> > >Von: Josh Tynjala <joshtynjala@gmail.com>
> > >Gesendet: Dienstag, 27. September 2016 16:59:33
> > >An: dev@flex.apache.org
> > >Betreff: [Falcon] Proposal for new ActionScript language feature:
> > >Optionally rename an import
> > >
> > >I would like to propose a new feature for the ActionScript language in
> the
> > >Apache Flex "Falcon" compiler. It would be nice if developers could
> > >(optionally) rename an import.
> > >
> > >Background
> > >==========
> > >
> > >Normally when you import a class, you can reference the name of the
> class,
> > >without the package (unless there is another class with the same name):
> > >
> > >// begin example
> > >
> > >import com.example.ImportedClass;
> > >
> > >var example:ImportedClass;
> > >
> > >//end example
> > >
> > >I would like to make it possible to optionally rename the shortened
> > >version, like this:
> > >
> > >// begin example
> > >
> > >import NewName = com.example.ImportedClass;
> > >
> > >var test:NewName;
> > >
> > >//end example
> > >
> > >This would make it possible to resolve ambiguities without using the
> > >fully-qualified class name. Consider the following situation that
> commonly
> > >comes up when developing Starling apps where the fully-qualified name is
> > >required for different types of events:
> > >
> > >// begin example
> > >
> > >import flash.events.Event;
> > >import starling.events.Event;
> > >
> > >var one:flash.events.Event;
> > >var two:starling.events.Event;
> > >
> > >// end example
> > >
> > >If we could rename imports, our code wouldn't require cumbersome
> > >fully-qualified names.
> > >
> > >Consider the following example, references to FlashEvent will resolve to
> > >flash.events.Event and StarlingEvent will resolve to
> > >starling.events.Event:
> > >
> > >// begin example
> > >
> > >import FlashEvent = flash.events.Event;
> > >import StarlingEvent = starling.events.Event;
> > >
> > >var one:FlashEvent;
> > >var two:StarlingEvent;
> > >
> > >// end example
> > >
> > >In the next example, references to FlashEvent will resolve to
> > >flash.events.Event, similar to the previous example. References to Event
> > >can resolve to starling.events.Event without ambiguity because
> > >flash.events.Event has been given a different name.
> > >
> > >// begin example
> > >
> > >import FlashEvent = flash.events.Event;
> > >import starling.events.Event;
> > >
> > >var one:FlashEvent;
> > >var two:Event;
> > >
> > >// end example
> > >
> > >This would also be useful for transpile-to-JS workflow where the
> top-level
> > >package is littered with a ton of HTML classes that may conflict with
> > >names
> > >user-defined classes. For instance, there's a top-level Event class.
> There
> > >is no way to specify a different fully-qualified name for things in the
> > >top-level package, so it's hard to resolve ambiguity when using these
> > >classes. We have a bit of a workaround in Falcon by supporting a fake
> > >"window." package, but that's not ideal. Especially if you consider
> > >Node.js, which doesn't actually have a global window object.
> > >
> > >Risks and Challenges
> > >===================
> > >
> > >* Renaming imports is a completely optional feature. Anyone can continue
> > >to
> > >code in ActionScript without ever using renamed imports.
> > >* Existing code won't be broken by this new feature. Regular imports
> that
> > >don't do any renaming will continue to work the same as they always
> have.
> > >* Runtimes like Adobe Flash Player will not need to be modified to
> support
> > >renaming imports. Imports are completely resolved at compile-time.
> > >* A SWC compiled from code with renamed imports will work with compilers
> > >that don't support renaming imports. Again, a SWC contains compiled
> code,
> > >so imports were already resolved.
> > >* I have implemented this feature already, in a local branch of
> > >flex-falcon
> > >on my machine. The code already exists, and it works today.
> > >
> > >The one tricky thing is that most IDEs probably won't play well with
> code
> > >that uses renamed imports. My NextGenAS extension for VSCode should have
> > >no
> > >problem because it loads the Falcon compiler from the Apache FlexJS SDK
> > >for
> > >its code intelligence features. If Falcon supports it, so will the
> > >extension. Adobe Flash Builder uses ASC 2.0 in a similar way, as I
> > >understand it. With that in mind, Flash Builder won't understand code
> with
> > >renamed imports unless Adobe modifies ASC 2.0 to add the same feature. I
> > >think third-party IDEs (like IntelliJ IDEA and FDT) have their own code
> > >models (rather than talking to the compiler), so they'd need to make
> their
> > >own changes to support this feature too.
> > >
> > >I would like to contact the Flash runtimes team at Adobe and ask if
> they'd
> > >be willing to implement this feature in ASC 2.0 too. It's a small
> change,
> > >but useful for developer productivity, so it should be well received by
> > >the
> > >community. Additionally, since it will affect the compiler and not the
> > >runtime, it will be significantly less risky for Adobe than other new
> > >language features might be. Finally, considering that the Falcon and ASC
> > >2.0 codebases are probably still extremely similar, I wouldn't be
> > >surprised
> > >if the changes were exactly the same. To go back to the previous point
> > >about IDEs, I'm pretty sure that if ASC 2.0 supports this feature, Flash
> > >Builder will get it for free when someone upgrades the AIR SDK used by
> the
> > >FB plugin. There may still be some quirks (I'm curious to see if
> > >organizing
> > >imports breaks or not), but I think ActionScript developers are used to
> a
> > >few occasional quirks these days.
> > >
> > >Comments welcome.
> > >
> > >- Josh
> >
> >
>

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