Archive for October, 2010

Holding DisplayObjects

I recently received an e-mail from asking which is faster: a DisplayObjectContainer or a Vector of DisplayObject. To ask this is to question whether or not we can do better than the Flash Player’s native container of DisplayObjects using AS3. It turns out that we can. Read on for several ways to improve on DisplayObjectContainer‘s speed.

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Accessing Objects

There are three main ways to access the contents of objects in AS3: the dot (.) operator, the index ([]) operator, and the in operator. The first two are well known and functionally-equivalent because obj.property evaluates to the same value as obj["property"]. The in operator is different as I’ve described before: it returns a Boolean indicating whether or not the object has the given property. There are a lot of cases—error checking, for example—where we only care if an object has a property and not what that property is. So, can we improve performance by using the is operator rather than the index or dot operators? (UPDATE: hasOwnProperty results added)

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Activation Objects

Closures are a really nice feature of AS3 (and JavaScript and AS2) and I’ve shown their performance disadvantages compared to regular methods before. Today I’ll discuss a further performance downside to closures that can slow down your code, not just the function call itself.

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Operator Speed

Today’s article is about the basic operators that make up most languages, and in particular AS3. Without them there wouldn’t be much of a language. So it would seem vitally important that we know how they perform relative to each other. Is shifting faster than adding? Adding faster than multiplying? Multiplying faster than dividing? Does the type of the operands matter? Read on for the results in high detail. Update: see my comment below for an important change to the results.

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