Favor using asynchronous versions of operations
rather than synchronous ones, where available.
Synchronous operations run as soon as your code tells them to,
and your code waits for them to complete before moving on. Consequently,
they run in the application code phase of the frame loop. If a synchronous
operation takes too long, it stretches the size of the frame loop,
potentially causing the display to appear to freeze or stutter.
When your code executes an asynchronous operation, it doesn’t
necessarily run immediately. Your code and other application code
in the current execution thread continues executing. The runtime
then performs the operation as soon as possible, while attempting
to prevent rendering issues. In some cases, the execution happens
in the background and doesn’t run as part of the runtime frame loop
at all. Finally, when the operation completes the runtime dispatches an
event, and your code can listen for that event to perform further
Asynchronous operations are scheduled and divided to avoid rendering
issues. Consequently, it is much easier to have a responsive application
using asynchronous versions of operations. See
Perceived performance versus actual performance
for more information.
However, there is some overhead involved in running operations
asynchronously. The actual execution time can be longer for asynchronous
operations, especially for operations that take a short time to
In the runtime, many operations are inherently synchronous or
asynchronous and you can’t choose how to execute them. However,
in Adobe AIR, there are three types of operations that you can choose
to perform synchronously or asynchronously:
File and FileStream class operations
of the File class can be performed synchronously or asynchronously.
For example, the methods for copying or deleting a file or directory
and listing the contents of a directory all have asynchronous versions.
These methods have the suffix “Async” added to the name of the asynchronous
version. For example, to delete a file asynchronously, call the
instead of the
using a FileStream object to read from or write to a file, the way
you open the FileStream object determines whether the operations
execute asynchronously. Use the
for asynchronous operations. Data writing is performed asynchronously.
Data reading is done in chunks, so the data is available one portion
at a time. In contrast, in synchronous mode the FileStream object
reads the entire file before continuing with code execution.
Local SQL database operations
When working with a local
SQL database, all the operations executed through a SQLConnection
object execute in either synchronous or asynchronous mode. To specify
that operations execute asynchronously, open the connection to the
database using the
instead of the
database operations run asynchronously, they execute in the background.
The database engine does not run in the runtime frame loop at all,
so the database operations are much less likely to cause rendering
For additional strategies for improving performance
with the local SQL database, see
SQL database performance
Pixel Bender standalone shaders
The ShaderJob class
allows you to run an image or set of data through a Pixel Bender
shader and access the raw result data. By default, when you call
method the shader executes
asynchronously. The execution happens in the background, not using
the runtime frame loop. To force the ShaderJob object to execute
synchronously (which is not recommended), pass the value
the first parameter of the
In addition to these built-in mechanisms for running code asynchronously,
you can also structure your own code to run asynchronously instead
of synchronously. If you are writing code to perform a potentially
long-running task, you can structure your code so that it executes
in parts. Breaking your code into parts allows the runtime to perform
its rendering operations in between your code execution blocks,
making rendering problems less likely.
Several techniques for dividing up your code are listed next.
The main idea behind all these techniques is that your code is written
to only perform part of its work at any one time. You track what
the code does and where it stops working. You use a mechanism such
as a Timer object to repeatedly check whether work remains and perform
additional work in chunks until the work is complete.
There are a few established patterns for structuring code to
divide up work in this way. The following articles and code libraries
describe these patterns and provide code to help you implement them
in your applications: