OpenFL 9 is here!

Hey guys!

We’ve just wrapped up the first release for the OpenFL 9.x series! The anticipation (and hoped for features!) were high for this release so I’ve got to explain what is in this release and what is planned.

So we overwhelmingly heard your voice on the survey that “improved stability” and “faster performance” are the top two requests from OpenFL. This is our goal moving forward so we’ve pushed back on items we initially had slated for this release.

The biggest change is that the OpenFL code has been divided into multiple internal “packages” that contributors have already said is making it even easier to fix and improve the OpenFL codebase. The goal here is start settling on increased responsibility as developers may take further ownership over individual packages and sort out timelines for adding new tests, driving in fixes and optimizing the overall performance of each component.

We also got the Timeline API into this release which breaks the built-in SWF support out of OpenFL and makes the whole system agnostic to what library is filling frame and behavior information in for MovieClips. This may sound dry but this is a super exciting feature that will allow developers to use not only SWFs but any other animation or layout type to drive in custom MovieClip types automatically.

In-line with this change the SWF support is now an external library again. This helps keep the focus of the OpenFL library on the OpenFL core and should allow for all the investments made in SWF asset management to bloom and grow as it receives contributions.

This is an important but difficult release for me personally because OpenFL 9.0 marks an important moment in my contributions to the project.

Until now I have been the founder and lead developer of OpenFL through every release. The more I hear “stability” and “performance” it communicates to me that OpenFL has reached a point in maturity where my primary skillset is actually counter-productive. I created OpenFL when a seamless Flash API for ActionScript bytecode, for native desktop, mobile and consoles, and for true JavaScript and HTML5 was completely new. I steered the ship through rough storms and continued to drive change (and hopefully versatility and productivity) into an ever-changing product.

Now OpenFL has reached a level of maturity where refinement is the most valuable contribution that can be made to the project. I am an atypical programmer who began as an artist, then a Flash animator, then Flash developer before creating OpenFL. I draw energy from the novel, the exciting, the frontier and unexplored territory. These run counter to stability :sweat_smile:

As managing director of OpenFL I’m here and I’m ready to help contributors interested in improving the OpenFL project. Now that it’s cut down into smaller bite-size pieces I think it will become easier to work on.

I welcome feedback on areas within the community here (tutorials? lessons? videos? samples?) or outside the OpenFL library proper (like the Lime, SWF, HXP or a new library) where you’d love to see something new :smiley: