Chapter 20. The Display API and the Display List

One of the primary activities of ActionScript programming is displaying things on the screen. Accordingly, the Flash platform provides a wide range of tools for creating and manipulating graphical content. These tools can be broken into two general categories:

  • The Flash runtime display API, a set of classes for working with interactive visual objects, bitmaps, and vector content

  • Ready-made user interface components:

    • The Flex framework's UI component set, a sophisticated collection of customizable user-interface widgets built on top of the display API

    • The Flash authoring tool's UI component set, a collection of user-interface widgets with a smaller file size, lower memory usage, and fewer features than Flex framework's UI component set

The display API is built directly into all Flash runtimes and is, therefore, available to all .swf files. The display API is designed for producing highly customized user interfaces or visual effects, such as those often found in motion graphics and games. This chapter focuses entirely on the display API.

The Flex framework's UI component set is part of the Flex framework, an external class library included with Adobe Flex Builder and also available in standalone form for free at: The Flex framework's UI component set is designed for building applications with relatively standard user interface controls (scrollbars, pull-down menus, data grids, etc.). The Flex framework's ...

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