When comparing Actionscript vs Ceylon, the Slant community recommends Ceylon for most people. In the question“What is the best programming language to learn first?” Ceylon is ranked 33rd while Actionscript is ranked 61st. The most important reason people chose Ceylon is:
The compiler prevents you from using a potentially null variable, unless you check it is not null. Ie. it forces you to check a potentially null value before using it. The type system is strict, but flexible, allowing union and intersection of types, covariant and contravariant types, reified types, etc. Type inference and union types allows a dynamic programming style, close of JS spirit.
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 Strong static typing, null safe and flexible, almost dynamic type system
The compiler prevents you from using a potentially null variable, unless you check it is not null. Ie. it forces you to check a potentially null value before using it.
The type system is strict, but flexible, allowing union and intersection of types, covariant and contravariant types, reified types, etc.
Type inference and union types allows a dynamic programming style, close of JS spirit.
It brings type safety to JS, allowing to define interfaces to existing JS APIs, yet using the
dynamic keyword for flexible calls in the JS ecosystem.
Pro Excellent IDE support
Ceylon has reified generics, so it doesn't loose the type of collections at runtime. This makes autocompletion, debugging, etc. first-class. The Eclipse plugin makes it a full-fledged Ceylon IDE, and an IntelliJ IDEA plugin is in the works.
Pro Great tutorial
Gavin King, main author of the language, has a great, clear technical writing style, making understandable difficult concepts like variance or sound type system.
Pro Try it out in the browser
It has a Web IDE: http://try.ceylon-lang.org/ with impressive demos: http://try.ceylon-lang.org/?gist=bd41b47f325b6d32514a so you can try it without installing anything, and see the JS generation / interop in action.
Pro Excellent documentation
The language specification is very complete and up to date; also, the language module is very well documented.
Pro Easy to learn even if you don't have prior programming experience
Ceylon is indeed fairly easy and readable. Of course those ones who know OOP and a bit of functional programming concepts will feel almost at home right from the start.
Pro Generate HTML
HTML generation is supported right in the SDK.
Pro Same code in backend and frontend
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 Lack of physical or electronic books
We should hope Red Hat or anyone interested would take the time and write one. That would strengthen the maturity of the language, but Ceylon is rapidly developing which can make the author's efforts futile because his or hers work will become obsolete soon.
The second hindrance is, of course, popularity of the language which can't give much to the pockets of the author (however, Dart's unpopularity at start didn't prevent it to have a lot of printed material, but that's Google's child, we know).
Con Currently has large runtime
Ceylon 1.2 needs a language runtime of 1.55 MiB, and the Collection library adds another 370 KiB. That's a lot for the Web...
Now, this has to be put in perspective: if you use Ceylon to make a web application, these files will be loaded once, then cached by the browser (that's not casual browsing).
Moreover, most servers compress such resource, and the numbers become respectively 234 KiB and 54 KiB, which is more reasonable...