Category Archives: AS3

Posts related to ActionScript 3.0

Lurpak Breakfast – Behind the screens

Winning two DMA awards back in 2009, I thought I’d give a quick insight into how the animation effects in this piece were achieved.

I worked with Scott Bedford on this site for Carlson Marketing, for the Lurpak ‘Breakfast’ campaign. I created all the animation prototypes for the various effects used throughout the site, some of which can be seen here. I’m most proud of the crumbs animation and the code-generated interactive steam effect – as you’ll see in the video below.


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Fastest way to add multiple elements to an Array / Vector in AS3

In a simple situation, where you wish to add many elements to an Array or Vector, you might just do:

However, the sizes of both Arrays are manipulated for each loop, which will have an adverse impact on speed and memory usage. So, we could cache the length of the input Array and not manipulate it:

But we’re still growing the size of the output Array incrementally, which is very bad. Since we know input.length in advance, we could grow the output Array to its new size just once, before the loop:

This is OK, but still involves a loop. If only we could push multiple elements into the push method in one go. Well, we can – enter the apply method. Since Array.push accepts multiple arguments (something rarely used) and apply allows us to pass an Array of arguments to any Function, one line and we’re done:

This works out faster and more memory efficient than the other methods. It works nicely for Vectors, too. If anyone has a faster method of doing this, do let me know.

SWFIdle – simple flash idling utility

If you’re still churning out Flash banners, please use this!

swfidleI created this simple utility, called SWFIdle, to enable the Flash Player to lower its CPU usage while the user is not interacting with it. Since it’s possible to have multiple Flash instances embedded in one page (for example, a game and a couple of banners), I recommend using this in your projects, so that Flash instances needn’t fight for CPU and give Flash a worse name than it has already 😉

I know there’s the hasPriority embed attribute now. But:

  • That assumes you have access to the HTML that embeds your SWF
  • If no other players are present, it has no effect
  • There’s still usually little reason to be running your SWF at a high framerate if the user isn’t interacting with it
  • Flash banners with wastefully unoptimised drawing routines are probably one of the key reasons that Flash got poo-pooed off of mobile platforms and disabled on everyone’s laptops – CPU usage = battery usage!

ScratchPad – BlackBerry app

ScratchPad screenshotMy ScratchPad app for Blackberry Playbook is now live. It’s a simple drawing app where you can export your creations to the image gallery. When the BlackBerry Playbook launched, there was nothing like this available, so I created it 🙂 If the Playbook does well, I’ll be creating more apps for the platform – it’s certainly a nice piece of hardware and BlackBerry OS is easy enough to work with.

Mockito gotcha

I recently had a bit of a shock while reviewing someone’s code, finding the following line in one of their unit tests:


Where: sut is their System Under Test and verify is the part of the Mockito Flex framework.

Exercise for the reader: What’s wrong with this picture?

The answer: You cannot expect Mockito to verify that something was called on anything that isn’t a mock! How the hell is it supposed to know?

At least, if attempting to stub a method of a non-mock, you’ll get a handy error telling you not to be so damn silly. But, in this case, the verify will always work. So the test will pass, but it isn’t actually verifying anything! Where do I start with the bad? This is the worst kind of test, since it provides a false sense of security on the robustness of a system. Thankfully, all the tests in this codebase had called their System Under Test either sut, _sut or SUT, so it was pretty easy to get Hudson to mark a build as unstable if it finds such madness.