When comparing Actionscript vs Dart, the Slant community recommends Dart for most people. In the question“What is the best programming language to learn first?” Dart is ranked 25th while Actionscript is ranked 61st. The most important reason people chose Dart is:
Dart is a single threaded programming language. So if any piece of code blocks the execution of the program, the program practically freezes. To avoid this Dart makes use of asynchronous operations which let your program run without getting blocked. This is done through Future objects. A Future is an object which represent a means for getting a value at a certain point in the future. A function may invoke a Future and when that happens, two outcomes can be achieved: 1. The function is unable to return a value, so it queues up work to be done and returns an uncompleted Future object. 2. Or later when a value is available to be returned, the Future object completes with that value.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Great for light games
Easy 2D and rich 3D capabilities means ActionScript is a great game prototyping or production tool. Relatively easy to get images on a stage and easy to share with it's wide platform support.
Pro Wide compatability
Runs on all major platforms as an AIR executable or mobile app, as well as in-browser as a FLASH file.
Teaches strong typed habits and follows many conventions of major programming languages.
Pro Large community
Online games and a colorful history means there are a lot of existing scripts and examples on the internet for available integration as well as tutorials.
Pro Great async language support
Dart is a single threaded programming language. So if any piece of code blocks the execution of the program, the program practically freezes. To avoid this Dart makes use of asynchronous operations which let your program run without getting blocked. This is done through Future objects.
A Future is an object which represent a means for getting a value at a certain point in the future. A function may invoke a Future and when that happens, two outcomes can be achieved:
- The function is unable to return a value, so it queues up work to be done and returns an uncompleted Future object.
- Or later when a value is available to be returned, the Future object completes with that value.
Pro Great standard library
Dart includes a truly comprehensive core library, making it unnecessary to include disparate, external resources for basic functionalities Other than reducing the need to pull in various 3rd-party utilities this also ensures that all Dart code looks and feels the same.
Out of the box, the developer gets core libraries to help with: async, collections, strings, regexps, conversions, formats, file I/O, math, typed data, and more.
Pro A lot of tools are available to help in developing with Dart
Dart has a lot of tools available which help with developing Dart applications. Some examples of those tools include:
- pub - package and dependency management and build tool
- analyzer - static syntax analysis with linter, quick fixes, autocompletion support for easy IDE integration
- test - powerful and flexible testing framework and test runner
- dev_compiler - generate reusable JS instead of tree-shaken minified JS output (work in progress)
- dartfmt_ - source code formatter
- server-side VM
- observatory - a powerful tool for profiling and debugging running Dart code (for Dartium and Dart server code)
Pro No compile time in development
Dartium (Chromium derivative) is a browser with integrated Dart VM, which allows you to run and debug native Dart code during development for short edit-reload cycles. Only for testing on other browsers and deployment is transpiling to JS necessary.
In Dart many browser differences (subtle differences and also missing features) are abstracted away or polyfilled. When Dart is transpiled to JS the output works on all supported browsers. There is usually no need to load polyfills or to consider browser differences during development. No need for libraries like jQuery to make the same code work the same on all browsers.
Pro Will be familiar to Java developers
The language will look familiar to Java developers, easing the learning curve.
And yet, while it's similar, it has some nice syntax facilities to avoid common boilerplate code found in Java. Code is terser, yet readable.
Pro Easy prototyping
Dart has an optional type system which makes Dart a great language for prototyping. It encourages developers to gradually evolve their programs without worrying about types first.
Pro Can compile to efficient machine code
Dart was designed to be as expressive as possible. Ahead-of-time compilers can compile Dart code to efficient machine code. This is especially important when deploying to mobile where you don't want (or can't) use a JIT.
Pro Optional strong mode.
Strong mode applies a more restrictive type system to Dart to address its unsound, surprising behavior in certain cases.
Pro AngularDart 2.0 support
Pro Support of semi-coroutines (generators)
Generators, also known as semicoroutines, are also a generalization of subroutines.
Generators are primarily used to simplify the control of iteration behavior of a loop, the
yield statement in a generator passes a value back to a parent routine.
A generator is very similar to a function that returns an array, in that a generator has a certain number of values. But instead of building and returning an array that contains all the wanted values, a generator returns them one at a time, this saves memory and allows the caller function to start processing the first few values immediately.
Con No future
The last stable release is : 3.0 / June 27, 2006. Adobe confirmed there will be no 4.0, ever. This train has stopped long time ago.
Con Waning support
Un-usable in-browser on most mobile devices, ActionScript is used mainly for niche AIR programs, graphical mobile and in-browser apps and games, and in UI/UX using Scaleform.
Con Not very widely used
Past its hay-day, ActionScript is reserved for more niche products. This in turn means that choosing ActionScript as a career path is often ill-advised. Exceptions include ScaleForm for UI/UX in games (including AAA games) and light apps and games.
Con Dart SDK does not provide standard (out of the box) way to access SQL-based databases on server side
This missing (but very popular) feature requires to use 3rd-party packages developed by the personal enthusiasts or very small groups of enthusiasts, which is not very convenient because they are all very fragmented in terms of content, the essence and capabilities.
Con Small community, little momentum