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Posts Tagged ‘declare’

Declaring and Using Vectors in Actionscript 3.0

Actionscript allows us to use a parameterized Vector class for an array-type data structure, in addition to the Array class. Unlike an Array, a Vector can only hold one type of data item. This restriction allows a Vector to be accessed more efficiently than an Array. So, a Vector should be used whenever possible.

A Vector in Actionscript is similar to an STL vector in C++. Both are parameterized by a data type and can grow or shrink as items are added or removed. Both the Actionscript and C++ types have many different operations for manipulating the vector types. Both vectors also use the less-than and greater-than symbols to bracket the parameter type. However, the Actionscript Vector requires an additional period before the parameter, as shown in the examples below.

One-Dimensional Vectors

Function Notation

  1. var aMyVector:Vector.<int> = Vector.<int>([1, 2, 3]);
  2. var aMyArray:Array = Array(new Sprite());
    var aMyVector:Vector.<DisplayObject> = Vector.<DisplayObject>(aMyArray);

Constructor Notation

  1. var aMyVector:Vector.<int> = new Vector.<int>();
    aMyVector.push(1, 2);
  2. var aMyVector:Vector..<int> = new Vector.<int>(2);
  3. var aMyVector:Vector.<int> = new Vector.<int>(2, true);
    aMyVector[0] = 1;
    aMyVector[1] = 2;

Multi-dimensional Vectors

Above, we have several examples of how to create a Vector. The first example uses the Vector() function to create a Vector of 3 ints with the values 1, 2, and 3. The second example uses the Vector() function to create a Vector of the base type DisplayObject from an Array of the derived type Sprite.

Using constructors, we have three examples below those; the constructor takes two parameters: an uint and a Boolean to set the size and the whether the size is fixed, respectively. Without any parameters, the constructor uses the default parameters 0 and false to create a Vector of size zero that can be resized, as we show in the first constructor notation example. In the second constructor example, we create a Vector of ints with size 2. Since we did not specify a second argument, the Vector does not have a fixed size. In the last example, we create a Vector of ints with size 2 that has a fixed size, since the second parameter is true. We use the bracket operator to fill the first and second entries with 1 and 2, respectively.

  1. var aaMyVector:Vector.<Vector.<int>> = new Vector.<Vector.<int>>(3, true);
    aaMyVector[0] = new Vector.<int>(2, true);
    aaMyVector[1] = new Vector.<int>(2, true);
    aaMyVector[2] = new Vector.<int>(2, true);

    aaMyVector[0][0] = 1;
    aaMyVector[1][0] = 2;
    aaMyVector[2][0] = 3;
    aaMyVector[0][1] = 4;
    aaMyVector[1][1] = 5;
    aaMyVector[2][1] = 6;

Just as we did for Arrays, we can create multi-dimensional Vectors recursively. We can combine any of the methods for creating one-dimensional Vectors to do this. However, we limit ourselves to one example to avoid confusion. In this example, we create a Vector of 3 int Vectors. Next we create a new Vector of ints for each entry of this Vector. Finally, we use the double bracket operator to assign each entry a value.

Declaring and Using Arrays in Actionscript 3.0

Arrays in Actionscript are extremely flexible; there are many ways to declare and assign values to an array in Actionscript. We can use functions, bracket notation, or constructors to create an Array object. We also have several ways to fill the entries of an Array object.

It is important to note that an Array in Actionscript is an object. So, an Actionscript Array is very different from say an array in C/C++. In fact, Arraysin Actionscript can hold many different types of data, which is different from arrays in most languages. However, Actionscript does also have a Vector type, which is similar to a traditional array in that, for efficiency, it is limited to holding only one type of data.

One dimensional Arrays are pretty straight-forward in how they can be declared and used. However, there are multiple methods for creating one-dimensional Arrays, which can be put together in numerous combinations to created multi-dimensional Array objects.

One-Dimensional Arrays

Function Notation

  1. var aMyArray:Array = Array();
  2. var aMyArray:Array = Array(3);
  3. var aMyArray:Array = Array(qMyObject);

Bracket Notation

  1. var aMyArray:Array = [“”, 17];

Contructor Notation

  1. var aMyArray:Array = new Array();
  2. var aMyArray:Array = new Array(3);
  3. var aMyArray:Array = new Array(1, 2, 3);

Above, we show several methods for creating an Array. The first three examples use function notation to create an Array of 0, 3, and 1 objects, respectively. Next, we have an Array of two elements that is created via the bracket notation; notice that the Array contains elements of different types: a string and an int. Lastly, we have three Array objects that are created using constructors: the first creates an Array with 0 elements, the second an Array with three elements, and the third an Array of the three elements 1, 2, and 3.

Filling an Array

  1. var aMyArray:Array = new Array();
    aMyArray.push(80, 120, 200, 440);
  2. var aMyArray:Array = new Array(4);
    aMyArray[0] = 80;
    aMyArray[1] = 120;
    aMyArray[2] = 200;
    aMyArray[3] = 440;

Above, we have two examples of how to declare and fill an Array with the four elements 80, 120, 200, and 400. In the first case, the push() function puts an element, or multiple elements, into an Array and extends the size of the Array. In the second case, we use the typical bracket operator [] to set the value of entries that are already allocated. There are many other functions available for removing elements, concatenating Arrays, and altering Arrays in many other different ways, as well; we will cover those later.

Multi-dimensional Arrays

  1. var aRow1:Array = new Array(1, 2, 3);
    var aRow2:Array = new Array(4, 5, 6);
    var aMyArray:Array = new Array(aRow1, aRow2);
  2. var aRow1:Array = [1, 2, 3];
    var aRow2:Array = [4, 5, 6];
    var aMyArray:Array = [aRow1, aRow2];
  3. var aMyArray:Array = new Array(2);
    aMyArray[0] = new Array(1, 2, 3);
    aMyArray[1] = new Array(4, 5, 6);
  4. var aMyArray:Array = new Array(2);
    aMyArray[0] = [1, 2, 3];
    aMyArray[1] = [4, 5, 6];
  5. var aMyArray:Array = [ [1, 2, 3], [4, 5, 6] ];

Here, we have 5 examples of how to create a two-dimensional Array object, by combining the methods for one-dimensional Arrays. We can continue like this and create Arrays with any number of dimensions.

Declaring Variables and Constants in Actionscript with Fundamental Types

The basic format for declaring variables in actionscript looks like this:

var <variable name>:<variable type>;

We begin with var to indicate that we are declaring a variable. Then, we put a space, the variable name, a colon, the variable type, and, finally, a semi-colon to end the line. So, for example, we could declare a variable named MyNum of the type Number like this:

var dMyNum:Number;

A Number is used for floating-point or decimal numbers. We can initialize our variables in the declaration like this:

var dMyNum:Number = 3.14159;

Additionally, we can declare constants, which should be initialized, like this:

const kdMyNum:Number = 3.14159;

Actionscript has few a fundamental types to hold common data elements. These types are String, Boolean, Number, int, and uint. Strings are used to hold text. Booleans are used to hold the logical values “true” or “false”. Numbers are used to hold any number, including non-integer numbers. ints are used to hold integers only. uints are used to hold unsigned integers only. An example declaration and initialization of each of these types is shown here:

var sMyString:String = "";
var bMyBool:Boolean = true;
var dMyNum:Number = 3.14159;
var iMyInt:int = -67;
var uiMyUint:uint = 34;

Our first variable declaration did not contain an initial value. Variables that are declared with no initial value assigned to them take the following default values, according to their type:

String: null
Boolean: false
Number: NaN or not a number
int: 0
uint: 0


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