Component architecture

Adobe® ActionScript® 3.0 components are supported by Adobe® Flash Player version and later. These components are not compatible with components built using ActionScript 2.0. For information on using Adobe® ActionScript® 2.0 components, see Using Adobe® ActionScript® 2.0 Components and the Adobe® ActionScript® 2.0 Components Language Reference.

The Adobe ActionScript 3.0 User Interface (UI) components are implemented as FLA-based components but Flash CS5 supports both SWC and FLA-based components. The FLVPlayback and FLVPlaybackCaptioning components are SWC-based components, for example. You can place either type of component in the Components folder to have it appear in the Components panel. These two types of components are built differently so they are described separately here.

ActionScript 3.0 FLA-based components

The ActionScript 3.0 User Interface components are FLA-based (.fla) files with built-in skins that you can access for editing by double-clicking the component on the Stage. The component’s skins and other assets are placed on Frame 2 of the Timeline. When you double-click the component, Flash automatically jumps to Frame 2 and opens a palette of the component’s skins. The following illustration shows the palette with skins that display for the Button component.

Skins for the Button component

For more information on component skins and customizing components, see Customizing the UI Components and Customize the FLVPlayback component.

To speed up compilation for your applications and to avoid conflicts with your ActionScript 3.0 settings, the Flash CS5 FLA-based UI components also contain a SWC that contains the component’s already compiled ActionScript code. The ComponentShim SWC is placed on Stage on Frame 2 in every User Interface component to make available the precompiled definitions. To be available for ActionScript, a component must either be on Stage or be in the library with the Export In First Frame option selected in its Linkage properties. To create a component using ActionScript, you also must import the class with an import statement to access it. For information on the import statement, see the ActionScript 3.0 Reference for the Adobe Flash Platform.

SWC-based Components

SWC-based components have a FLA file and an ActionScript class file, too, but they have been compiled and exported as a SWC. A SWC file is a package of precompiled Flash symbols and ActionScript code that allows you to avoid recompiling symbols and code that will not change.

The FLVPlayback and FLVPlaybackCaptioning components are SWC-based components. They have external rather than built-in skins. The FLVPlayback component has a default skin that you can change by selecting one from a collection of predesigned skins, by customizing controls from the UI controls in the Components panel (BackButton, BufferingBar, and so on), or by creating a custom skin. For more information, see Customize the FLVPlayback component.

In Flash, you can convert a movie clip to a compiled clip as follows:

Compile a movie clip

  • Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Macintosh) the movie clip in the Library panel, and then select Convert To Compiled Clip.

    The compiled clip behaves just like the movie clip from which it was compiled, but compiled clips appear and publish much faster than ordinary movie clips. Compiled clips can’t be edited, but their properties can appear in the Property inspector and the Component inspector.

    SWC components contain a compiled clip, the component’s pre-compiled ActionScript definitions, and other files that describe the component. If you create your own component, you can export it as a SWC file to distribute it.

Export a SWC file

  • Select the movie clip in the Library panel and right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Macintosh), and then select Export SWC File.

    Note: The format of a Flash CS4 or later SWC file is compatible with the Flex SWC format so that SWC files can be exchanged between the two products, but not necessarily without modifications.

For information on creating SWC-based components, see

The ActionScript 3.0 Components API

Each ActionScript 3.0 component is built on an ActionScript 3.0 class that is located in a package folder and has a name of the format fl.packagename.classname. The Button component, for example, is an instance of the Button class and has a package name of fl.controls.Button. You must reference the package name when you import a component class in your application. You would import the Button class with the following statement:

import fl.controls.Button;

For more information about the location of component class files, see Working with component files.

A component’s class defines the methods, properties, events, and styles that enable you to interact with it in your application. The ActionScript 3.0 UI components are subclasses of the Sprite and UIComponent classes and inherit properties, methods, and events from them. The Sprite class is the basic display list building block and is similar to a MovieClip but does not have a Timeline. The UIComponent class is the base class for all visual components, both interactive and non-interactive. The inheritance path of each component, as well as its properties, methods, events, and styles are described in the Adobe ActionScript 3.0 Reference for the Adobe Flash Platform.

All ActionScript 3.0 components use the ActionScript 3.0 event handling model. For more information on event handling, see Handling events and Programming ActionScript 3.0.