Chapter 6. Display List


The rendering model for ActionScript 3.0 and Flash Player 9 is radically different than in previous versions. Traditionally, the MovieClip was the focal point of the renderer. Every .swf movie contained a root MovieClip (commonly referred to as the Stage). The root MovieClip could contain child MovieClips, which could, in turn, contain more child MovieClips. The concept of depths was used to control the stacking order in which MovieClips were drawn (objects on higher depths appear “on top”). Methods such as createEmptyMovieClip(), attachMovie(), or duplicateMovie- Clip() were used to create MovieClips. Anytime a MovieClip was created, it was automatically added into the visual hierarchy and consequently drawn by the renderer. MovieClips weren’t able to move to different places within the hierarchy; instead, they first had to be destroyed and then recreated before they could be positioned elsewhere in the display.

The new renderer is still hierarchical, but not as rigid, and aims to simplify and optimize the rendering process. The new rendering model centers on the display list concept and focuses on the classes available in the flash.display package. The display list is a hierarchy that contains all visible objects in the .swf movie. Any object not on the display list is not drawn by the renderer. Each .swf movie contains exactly one display list, which is comprised of three types of elements:

The stage

The stage is the root of the display list ...

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