[General] Is there any interest in porting Lively to Flash 9?

Andy Burnett andy.burnett at knowinnovation.com
Fri Feb 22 04:19:47 CET 2008

On Thu, Feb 21, 2008 at 8:59 PM, Patrick Mueller <pmuellr at muellerware.org>

> On Feb 21, 2008, at 1:06 PM, Andy Burnett wrote:
> > I believe it is a long standing practice on the internet that
> > Newbies are allowed to ask at least one heretical question a day.
> > So...  I am wondering whether the Flash VM is a possible target for
> > Lively?  I know that the idea is to try to avoid plug-ins, it is
> > just that Flash 9 seems to be so fast - and so widely available -
> > that it could be a fantastic platform for the system.
> I suspect you are thinking of Flex / ActionScript 3.0.  I think one of
> the problems is that AS 3 is lacking some of the uber-dynamic features
> available in JavaScript, like eval().  I'm guessing that, in LK, when
> you "edit a method", the method body is eval'd (or passed into
> Function(), which I believe is also unavailable), and then attached to
> the relevant object (class?).  You might imagine rigging something up
> where you send 'classes' to reload to a server, which compiles them to
> ABC (AS 3.0 bytecode format), and then hope that there's some way of
> dynamically loading the .abc file in a running Flash movie.
> Alternatively, write a compiler in AS 3.0 that compiles 'source' to an
> ABC format, and then use a dynamic loading capability to 'load' the
> class.
> Both seem pretty painful.
> Another option might be to use Flash as the UI, but use 'browser JS'
> in the browser as your 'code'.  Since I believe you can bi-
> directionally talk between a Flash movie and browser JS.  Still seems
> kinda painful.
> But here's the killer for me.  Flex currently doesn't support the
> mouse wheel on the Mac to scroll through scrollable things.  Making it
> totally useless as a UI framework for me.  Anymore, the only use I
> have for scroll bars, almost anywhere, is the visual feedback; the
> inane precise mousing required to drive it is frankly nuts.
> Lots of assumptions here; please correct me if I'm wrong!

Hi Patrick
Thanks for your thoughts. You are quite right about the dynamic compilation
problem. My thinking was thrown off track by the work on Vista Smalltalk (
http://vistasmalltalk.wordpress.com/). What I had forgotten was that rather
than using the Flash VM to execute Javascript,  Peter had first written a
lisp interpreter in Actionscript and then used that to interpret and run
Smalltalk.  Sadly, that project now seems to be dead, but it did show great

Re the scroll wheel problem. I have a funny feeling that that problem is
actually solvable. I think there is a way of coding up scroll wheel support
in Flex.

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