Update: Avoid ints in ActionScript

After my post, Grant Skinner did some experiments around the discrepancy between Number and int performance. He originally posted a basic test, but has since expanded his testcases to show how different mathematical operations perform.

You can see his results here.

4 Responses to “Update: Avoid ints in ActionScript”

  1. Ray Greenwell


    This comment isn’t about the performance of the different number types, but about the way they behave.

    As I reported a while back, there seems to be no concept of integer math, which is very strange for someone coming from a C/Java background:

    var xx :int = 3;
    var yy :int = 2;
    someArray[xx/yy] = “MyStringValue”;

    Rather than storing the value at array element 1, the Array is now broken and has a value stored under the property name “1.5”.

    Another thing I discovered recently is that you can’t depend on the type of a number, because it can change out from under you:

    var nn :Number = 1.2;
    trace(“nn is ” + getQualifiedClassName(nn)); // outputs “nn is Number”
    nn += 1.8;
    trace(“nn is ” + getQualifiedClassName(nn)); // outputs “nn is int”

    This is very disturbing, because I would like to write code that serializes objects to send to a server, and metadata is not sent. The format of the binary data is well-known for each service request to the server, but on the client I would like the actual serialization code to be dumb and just examine the objects passed to it and send them along. However, I cannot depend on a Number looking like a Number so that I know to use my IDataOutput’s writeDouble method instead of the writeInt method.

    It would be great if this were fixed in the next release, but I’m not holding my breath.

  2. Michael Schmalle


    If I remember correctly, this is due to array accessing on an object.

    It’s like an array ‘really’ isn’t an array like you would think becasue of the way AS language works.

    I am no engineer but I really remember this being brought up by Gordon Smith of Adobe.

    There is some reason for this, I just can’t think of it.

  3. Radek


    I can completly agree with Ray. I don’t see any reason why to treat array as an object “sometimes”. If language defines native type Array it should be always array.

  4. Brian Lai

    After all, this is part of the ECMAScript specification. For me, I always see AS Array as a HashMap.

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