haXe Programming Language, Neko, & The Fall of FAME (FAHE?)

Nicolas Cannasse, creator of MTASC, the open source Flash compiler, has just released a public preview of his haXe programming language & compiler. It has a full working parser with type checking, as well as a complete language reference. The language looks a lot like ActionScript 3, but has different datatypes, namely enumerators.

The goal of the haXe programming language is allow you to have a good compiler and a good language that output to many client & server formats. Flash Player 6, 7, 8, 8.5, JavaScript for use in AJAX/DHTML, and Neko. Having 1 language that can output to a SWF, a JS file for later inclusion, a server-side application, or to be run in a standalone EXE is really nice; ActionScript currently can do the SWF and EXE, but not export out JavaScript (why would you want to?), nor utilizing ActionScript on the server-side.

NekoVM is a commandline tool meant mainly for server-side usage & development. It is basically a command line virtual machine, and uses the higher level Neko language (more loosely typed), which can either run on the server, and even comes with a mod_neko to plug into Apache. You can generate Neko code from haXe, or apparently just have the NekoVM run your haXe code (maybe it’s implied you have to convert which is ok). Finally, NekoVM can be exetended via C DLL’s, or embedded in your own standalone binary application.

While I think it’s a great idea to have “1 language to control them all” LODR style (Lord of the Rings), both on the Flash & AJAX front, it’s also neat to have that same language work on the server-side too.

For JavaScript developers, I think they’ll dig the ECMA ‘esque language with true classes, and features most other seasoned programmers are used to. Strong type-checking I’m sure will lessen weeks of debugging time on larger web applications.

For Flash Developers, it is another alternative language & way to output SWF. Additionally, that same investement in a slightly different language allows your skills & effort to port to a nicely outputted JavaScript file as well as a server-side solution vs. using PHP or ColdFusion for example.

FAME apparently now becomes FAHE (like fey, or Fay)… I guess. I mean, the site says Neko is fast, and I’m sure whatever compiles haXe is fast as well. The draw to FAME for me originally was the speed at which MTASC compiled vs. the Flash IDE. Now, however, I do mostly Flex development, and when FlexBuilder 2 is officially released, I’ll be using that as my primary development environment. With incremental compilations, and the really nice IDE utilizing Eclipse, haXe’ compiler could be as fast as possible, and I still wouldn’t switch.

I have no desire to output JavaScript, PHP works just fine on the server, and mProjector/SWFStudio works just fine on the desktop. Therefore, learning a new language for speed alone would not help my ActionScript 3 skills, nor improve my employability.

While this adds another push to the fall of FAME for me, it is a big win for the Open Source Flash world, and open source in general.

3 Replies to “haXe Programming Language, Neko, & The Fall of FAME (FAHE?)”

  1. Hi Jesse,

    We should not think yet in the dead of AME (for me the ‘F’ is no longer needed and died months ago). It’s clear that we all we moving to AS3-Flex in the near future but, AME is still the best option for Flash RIA OS production.

    Many people that don’t have the chance to go the new AS3 way can still rely on AME to be fast in their developments.

  2. hi everybody

    could anybody tell me about that where can i get full tutorial for haXe,


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