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From Dave McAllister <>
Subject Re: [PROPOSAL] Flex for Apache Incubator
Date Tue, 20 Dec 2011 20:41:40 GMT
One small clarification. ActionScript is a variant off of ECMascript 3
(ES3). ECMAscript 4, which included significant functionality
fromActionScript was removed from active standard development in favor of
ECMAscript 5, a incremental update to ES3.

ECMA is currently working on the next version of ECMascript.

Dave McAllister
Director, Open Source and Standards
Core Services, Experience and Technology Organization
Adobe Systems, Inc.
W: +1 408-536-3881
GC: +1 650-523-4942

Linux Journal Editorial Adviser,

On 12/19/11 10:32 PM, "Alex Harui" <> wrote:

>My responses inline.
>On 12/19/11 3:39 PM, "Raju Bitter" <> wrote:
>> Hi Alex,
>> the proposal looks very promising. I have a few questions around
>> ActionScript, runtime environments for compiled code, HTML5/JavaScript
>> cross-compilation support, and target runtime environments listed:
>> 1) When you speak of ActionScript, is it planned to continue the
>> development of the ActionScript language as a standard separate from
>> future JavaScript standards? I know that ActionScript 3 is an
>> ECMAScript 4 dialect
>> (, but believe it
>> would make sense to set the goal to move away from ActionScript 3 in
>> favor of a future ECMAScript/JavaScript version (long term goal, of
>> course).
>This proposal is about the Flex SDK, which is currently written in
>ActionScript 3.  It is my understanding that a future decision to move
>from ActionScript 3 would be decided by those contributing to the project.
>I would not state it as a goal in this proposal as I don't think there is
>good alternative at this time.
>> 2) Flex for desktop / Flash Player
>> Since the current version of the compiler "only" compiles to
>> ActionScript bytecode, it effectively would mean that an Apache
>> Software Foundation project would generate output which - in a desktop
>> browser - can only be executed by the proprietary Adobe Flash Player.
>> Are there any other ASF projects targeting proprietary runtime
>> environments? Wouldn't it be desirable to support an open standards
>> based runtime environment as well (Falcon JS)?
>It is my understanding that it is up to those contributing to the project,
>but I expect there will be work done that explores migration strategies,
>including cross-compiling to other runtime environments.
>> 3) Falcon JS: ActionScript 3 -> JavaScript 1.5 cross-compilation
>> I'm aware of the FalconJS research Adobe has started (an ActionScript
>> 3 to JavaScript 1.5 cross-compiler, which can be integrated into the
>> next version of the Adobe/Apache Flex SDK). Supporting JavaScript
>> generation out of ActionScript (including CSS styling) could turn
>> Apache Flex into the perfect platform for smooth migration to HTML 5
>> applications in enterprises. FalconJS is not mentioned in the
>> proposal, but a blog post of the Adobe Flex Compiler team on Nov 19th
>> (
>> it has been said that Falcon JS would be contributed to the ASF as
>> well:
>>> In addition to contributing the core Flex SDK (including automation
>>> and advanced data visualization components), Adobe also plans to
>>> donate the following:
>>>   + Falcon, the next-generation MXML and ActionScript compiler that is
>>>      currently under development (this will be contributed when
>>>      in 2012)
>>>   + Falcon JS, an experimental cross-compiler from MXML and
>>>      to HTML and JavaScript.
>> Is that still the plan, since Falcon JS is not mentioned in the
>> proposal? I can imagine that there would be a lot of interest in the
>> community to see Falcon JS contributed, even if the the product is not
>> feature complete.
>The plan is to donate the Flex SDK to Apache, then start the process of
>donating other Flex-related projects.  Next will probably be BlazeDS.
>FalconJS is on the list.  Many people believe that the differences between
>ActionScript and JavaScript (AS has Dictionary and weak references and
>ByteArrays) will make the effort to cross-compile a given Flex app to JS
>either impossible, impractical, or non-performant.
>> 4) iOS, Android, RIM, Windows & OS X support
>> In the proposal you state:
>>> Apache Flex allows developers to target a variety of platforms,
>>> Apple iOS, Google Android, RIM BlackBerry, Microsoft Windows, and
>>> Mac OS X with a single codebase.
>> My understanding of the proposal is, that you are only proposing to
>> contribute the Flex SDK, as opposed to the Flex SDK AND the Adobe AIR
>> SDK.
>> The Flex SDK alone doesn't enable developers to compile from
>> ActionScript 3 into iOS, Android, RIM, Windows and OS X. That means,
>> it would still require the proprietary AIR SDK to support all those
>> platforms. Therefore the proposal should mention that developers could
>> target a variety of additional platforms, if they choose to download
>> the Adobe AIR SDK and runtime. I understand that it might not be
>> possible to completely open source the AIR SDK, due to legal issues.
>Yes, some other SDKs that are listed as External Dependencies are required
>to produce a running Flex application.
>> 5) PhoneGap / Apache Callback proposal
>> Nitobi proposed to contribute PhoneGap to the ASF
>> (
>> After that announcement, Nitobi has been acquired by Adobe.
>> If Falcon JS will be released, it would be possible to integrate
>> Falcon JS compilation with PhoneGap (HTML5/JavaScript based mobile
>> apps for a variety of platforms). Even if it is possible to compile
>> ActionScript 3 into iOS or Android applications (native), the
>> ActionScript 3 -> JavaScript -> PhoneGap approach would be equally
>> powerful, and could be completely supported with open source tools. Of
>> course, that would depend on the availability of the Falcon JS
>> cross-compilation feature.
>> 7) Adobe Flash runtimes
>> The runtimes currently targeted by the Flex SDK (without Falcon JS) are
>> I would suggest to add the long-term goal of adding another
>> (non-proprietary) runtime to the Flex SDK (e.g. Falcon JS with the
>> cross-compiler)
>I would hesitate to make that a goal, even a long-term goal.  I would
>to focus the project contributors on strategies I think will be more
>achievable, but it is my understanding that is up to the project once
>> 8) Open standards support
>> The whole proposal does not mention open standards, JavaScript, or the
>> buzz word "HTML5". Again, it might make sense to make support of open
>> standards with Adobe Flex a high-level goal.
>I'm unclear whether such goals are typically part of these proposals.
>heard from the community that a migration strategy is important, but Adobe
>has no official recommendation on whether it is cross-compilation, or
>porting the code to JavaScript and other open standards, or something else
>and hope to create a project within Apache and use the "Apache Way" to
>> It's exciting to see Adobe's willingness to contribute Flex to the ASF.
>> Raju Bitter
>> Software Architect & Open Source Evangelist
>>> Hi everyone,
>>> I would like to propose Flex to be an Apache Incubator project.
>>> Here's a link to the proposal:
>>> Thank you,
>>> Alex Harui
>>> Flex SDK Team
>>> Adobe Systems, Inc.
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>Alex Harui
>Flex SDK Team
>Adobe Systems, Inc.
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