Coding Conventions

SourceForge Editorial Staff Alex Harui

Flex SDK coding conventions and best practices

Note: This page is not yet complete and has some sections marked TBD. But there's plenty here to get you started!

Introduction

This document lays out the coding standards for writing open-source Flex framework components in ActionScript 3. Adhering to these standards makes the source code look consistent, well-organized, and professional.

Some of these standards are completely arbitrary, since there is not always a “best way” to code. Nevertheless, in the interest of consistency, all commits to the Flex SDK project will be expected to follow these conventions.

Code conventions are important. Code reviewers should point out when code doesn't follow the conventions. If there are disagreements, they can be discussed and the conventions adjusted but following the conventions is not optional.

Naming

Choosing good names is critical to creating code that is easy to use and easy to understand. You should always take the time to think about whether you have chosen the right name for something, especially if it is part of the public API.

Our naming standards are mostly consistent with those of ECMAScript and Flash Player 9.

Abbreviations


Avoid them as a general rule. For example, calculateOptimalValue() is a better method name than calcOptVal().

Being clear is more important than minimizing keystrokes. And if you don't abbreviate, developers won't have to remember whether you shortened a word like “qualified” to “qual” or “qlfd”.

However, we have standardized on a few abbreviations:

  • acc for accessibility, as in ButtonAccImpl
  • auto for automatic, as in autoLayout
  • eval for evaluate, as in EvalBindingResponder
  • impl for implementation, as in ButtonAccImpl
  • info for information, as in GridRowInfo
  • num for number of, as in numChildren
  • min for minimum, as in minWidth
  • max for maximum, as in maxHeight
  • nav for navigation, as in NavBar
  • regexp for regular expression, as in RegExpValidator
  • util for utility, as in StringUtil

This list probably does not include all abbreviations that are currently in use. If you're considering using an abbreviation that isn't listed here, please search the source code to determine whether it is already in use. If you don't find it, think twice about whether abbreviating is really appropriate.

Occasionally we are (deliberately) inconsistent about abbreviations. For example, we spell out “horizontal” and “vertical” in most places, such as horizontalScrollPolicy and verticalScrollPolicy but we abbreviate them to H and V in the very-commonly-used container names HBox and VBox.

Acronyms


Various acronyms are common in Flex, such as AIR, CSS, HLOC, IME, MX, MXML, RPC, RSL, SWF, UI, UID, URL, WSDL, and XML.

An acronym is always all-uppercase or all-lowercase (e.g., SWF or swf, but never Swf). The only time that all-lowercase is used is when the acronym is used by itself as an identifier, or at the beginning of an identifier, and the identifier should start with a lowercase letter. See the rules below for which identifiers should start with which case.

Examples of identifiers with acronyms are CSSStyleDeclaration, IUID, uid, IIME, and imeMode.

Word boundaries


When an identifier contains multiple words, we use two ways of indicating word boundaries: intercaps (as in LayoutManager or measuredWidth) and underscores (as in object_proxy). See the rules below for which method to use.

Sometimes it isn't clear whether a word combination has become its own single word, and we are unforunately inconsistent about this in some places: dropdown, popUp, pulldown.

Follow the acronym-casing rules even in the rare case that two acronyms must be adjacent. An example (which isn't actually in use) would be something like loadCSSURL(). But try to avoid such names.

Type-specifying names


If you want to incorporate the type into the name, make it the last “word”. Don't use the old ActionScript 1 convention of concatenating abbreviated type suffixes such as _mc to indicate type. For example, name a border Shape border, borderSkin, or borderShape, but not border_mc.

Often, the best name for an object is simply the same as its type, with different casing:

var button:Button = new Button();

Package names


Start them with a lowercase letter and use intercaps for subsequent words: controls, listClasses.

Package names should always be nouns or gerunds (the -ing noun form of a verb), not verbs, adjectives, or adverbs.

A package implementing lots of similar things should have a name which is the plural form of the thing: charts, collections, containers, controls, effects, events, formatters, managers, preloaders, resources, skins, states, styles, utils, validators.

It is common to use a gerund for the name of a package which implements a concept: binding, logging, messaging, printing. Otherwise, they are generally "concept nouns": accessibility, core, graphics, rpc.

A package containing classes that support component FooBar should be called fooBarClasses.

File names


For importable APIs, the file name must be the same as the public API inside. But include files don't have to follow this rule.

Start the names of include files for [Style(...)] metadata with an uppercase letter, use intercaps for subsequent words, and make the last word “Styles”: BorderStyles.as, ModalTransparencyStyles.as.

Start the names of individual asset files with a lowercase letter and use underscores between words: icon_align_left.png.

Namespace names


Start them with a lowercase letter and use underscores between words: mx_internal, object_proxy.

Interface names


Start them with I and use intercaps for subsequent words: IList, IFocusManager, IUID.

Class names


Start them with an uppercase letter and use intercaps for subsequent words: Button, FocusManager, UIComponent.

Name Event subclasses FooBarEvent.

Name Error subclasses FooBarError.

Name the EffectInstance subclass associated with effect FooBar FooBarInstance.

Name Formatter subclasses FooBarFormatter.

Name Validator subclasses FooBarValidator.

Name skinning classes FooBarBackground, FooBarBorder, FooBarSkin, FooBarIcon, FooBarIndicator, FooBarSeparator, FooBarCursor, etc.

Name utility classes FooBarUtil (not FooBarUtils; the package is plural but the class is singular).

It is common to name a base class FooBarBase: ComboBase, DateBase, DataGridBase, ListBase.

Event names


Start them with a lowercase letter and use intercaps for subsequent words: "move", "creationComplete".

Style names


Start them with a lowercase letter and use intercaps for subsequent words: color, fontSize.

Enumerated values for String properties


Start them with a lowercase letter and use intercaps for subsequent words: "auto", "filesOnly",

Constant names


Use all uppercase letters with underscores between words: OFF, DEFAULT_WIDTH.

The words in the identifier must match the words in the constant value if it is a String:

public static const FOO_BAR:String = "fooBar";

Property (variable and getter/setter) names


Start them with a lowercase letter and use intercaps for subsequent words: i, width, numChildren.

Use i for a loop index and n for its upper limit. Use j for an inner loop index and m for its upper limit.

for (var i:int = 0; i < n; i++)
{
    for (var j:int = 0; j < m; j++)
    {
        ...
    }
}

Use p (for “property”) for a for-in loop variable:

for (var p:String in o)
{
    ...
}

If a class overrides a getter/setter and wants to continue to expose the base getter/setter, it should do so by implementing a property whose name is the base name with a $ prepended. This getter/setter should be marked final and should do nothing more than call the supergetter/setter.

mx_internal final function get $numChildren():int
{
    return super.numChildren;
}

Storage variable names


Give the storage variable for the getter/setter foo the name _foo.

Method names


Start them with a lowercase letter and use intercaps for subsequent words: measure(), updateDisplayList().

Method names should always be verbs.

Parameterless methods should generally not be named getFooBar() or setFooBar(); these should be implemented as getter/setters instead. However, if getFooBar() is a slow method requiring a large amount of computation, it should be named findFooBar(), calculateFooBar(), determineFooBar(), etc. to suggest this, rather than being a getter.

If a class overrides a method and wants to continue to expose the base method, it should do so by implementing a method whose name is the base name with a $ prepended. This method should be marked final and should do nothing more than call the supermethod.

mx_internal final function $addChild(child:DisplayObject):DisplayObject
{
    return super.addChild(child);
}

Event handler names


Event handlers should be named by concatenating “Handler” to the type of the event: mouseDownHandler().

If the handler is for events dispatched by a subcomponent (i.e., not this), prefix the handler name with the subcomponent name and an underscore: textInput_focusInHandler().

Argument names


Use value for the argument of every setter:

Do this:

public function set label(value:String):void

Not this:

public function set label(lab:String):void

Or this:

public function set label(labelValue:String):void

Or this:

public function set label(val:String):void

Use event (not e, evt, or eventObj) for the argument of every event handler:

protected function mouseDownHandler(event:Event):void

Resource bundle names


If a resource bundle contains resources for a particular package, name the bundle the same as the package: controls, {formatters}}, validators.

Resource key names


Start them with a lowercase letter and use intercaps for subsequent words: pm, dayNamesShort.

Miscellaneous nomenclature


Avoid “object” because it is vague.

An “item” is a data item, not a DisplayObject.

A “renderer” is a DisplayObject that displays a data item.

A “type” is an AS3 type; use "kind" otherwise.

Language Usage

This section discusses how we use the language constructs of ActionScript 3, especially when there are multiple ways to express the same thing.

Compilation options


Compile with the options -strict and -show-actionscript-warnings. (These are the defaults in the flex-config.xml file.)

Property-based APIs


Favor property-based APIs rather than method-based APIs, because these are more suitable for declarative-style MXML programming.

Type declarations


Write a type annotation for every constant, variable, function argument, and function return value, even if the annotation is simply :* to indicate “no type”.

Do this:

var value:*;

Not this:

var value;

Use the narrowest type that is appropriate. For example, a loop index should be a int, not a Number, and certainly not an Object or *. As another example, a mouseDownHandler should declare its argument as event:MouseEvent, not event:Event.

Use int for integers, even if they can't be negative. Use uint only for RGB colors, bit masks, and other non-numeric values.

Use \* only if the value can be undefined. You should generally use Object rather than *, with null being the “object doesn't exist” value.

If you declare something to be of type Array, add a comment of the form /* of ElementType */ immediately after Array indicate the type of the array elements. A future version of the language is likely to have typed arrays.

Do this:

var a:Array /* of String */ = [];

Not this:

var a:Array = [];

And this:

function f(a:Array /* of Number */):Array /* of Object */
{
    ...
}

Not this:

function f(a:Array):Array

Literals


undefined

Avoid using this when possible. It is only necessary when dealing with values whose compile-time is type is *, and you should be using * sparingly as well.

int and uint literals

Do not use a decimal point in a integer.

Do this:

2

Not this:

2.

Use a lowercase x and uppercase A-Z in hexadecimal numbers.

Do this:

0xFEDCBA

Not this:

0Xfedcba

Always write an RGB color as a six-digit hexadecimal number.

Do this:

private const BLACK:uint = 0x000000;

Not this:

private const BLACK:uint = 0;

When dealing with indices, use the value -1 to mean “no index”.

Number literals

If a Number value typically can be fractional, indicate this by using a decimal point, and follow the decimal point by a single trailing zero.

Do this:

alphaFrom = 0.0;
alphaTo = 1.0;

Not this:

alphaFrom = 0;
alphaTo = 1;

However, don't do this for pixel coordinates, which are by convention integral even though they can in principle be fractional.

Do this:

var xOffset:Number = 3;

Not this:

var xOffset:Number = 3.0;

Use e, not E, when using exponential notation.

Do this:

1.0e12

Not this:

1.0E12

Use the default value NaN as the “not set” value for a Number.

String literals

Use quotation marks (double quotes), not apostrophes (single quotes), to delimit strings, even if that string contains a quotation mark as a character.

Do this:

"What's up, \"Big Boy\"?"

Not this:

'What\'s up, "Big Boy"?'

Use \u, not \U, for unicode escape sequences.

Array literals

Use Array literals rather than new Array().

Do this:

[]

Not this:

new Array()

And this:

[ 1, 2, 3 ]

Not this:

new Array(1, 2, 3)

Use the Array constructor only to allocate an array of a prespecified size, as in new Array(3), which means [ undefined, undefined, undefined ], not [ 3 ].

Object literals

Use Object literals rather than new Object().

Do this:

{}

Not this:

new Object()

And this:

o = { a: 1, b: 2, c: 3 };

Not this:

o = new Object();
o.a = 1;         
o.b = 2;         
o.c = 3;

Or this:

o = {};
o.a = 1;         
o.b = 2;         
o.c = 3;

Function literals

Avoid using function literals to define anonymous functions; use a class method or package function instead.

If you must use a function literal, declare a return type, and terminate the last statement inside the function block with a semicolon.

Do this:

function(i:int):void { doIt(i - 1); doIt(i + 1); }

Not this:

function(i:int) { doIt(i - 1); doIt(i + 1) }

RegExp literals

Use the literal notation rather than constructing a RegExp instance from a String.

Do this:

var pattern:RegExp = /\d+/g;

Not this:

var pattern:RegExp = new RegExp("\\d+", "g");

XML and XMLList literals

Use the literal notation rather than constructing an XML instance from a String.

Do this:

var node:XML = <name first="Jane" last="Doe"/>;

Not this:

var node:XML = new XML("<name first=\"Jane\" last=\"Doe\"/>");

Use double-quotes rather than single-quotes around XML attribute values:

Do this:

var node:XML = <name first="Jane" last="Doe"/>;

Not this:

var node:XML = <name first='Jane' last='Doe'/>;

Class literals

Use a fully-qualified class literal only if necessary to disambiguate between two imported classes with the same unqualified name.

Do this:

import mx.controls.Button;
...
var b:Button = new Button();

Not this:

import mx.controls.Button;
...
var b:Button = new mx.controls.Button();

But here a fully-qualified name is required and therefore qppropriate:

import mx.controls.Button;
import my.controls.Button;
...
var b:Button = new mx.controls.Button();

Expressions


Parentheses

Don't use unnecessary parentheses with common operators such as +, -, *, /, &&, ||, <, <=, >, >=, ==, and !=.

Do this:

var e:Number = a * b / (c + d);

Not this:

var e:Number = (a * b) / (c + d);

And this:

var e:Boolean = a && b || c == d;

Not this:

var e:Boolean = ((a && b) || (c == d));

The precedence rules for other operators are harder to remember, so parentheses can be helpful with them.

Coercion

Don't compare a Boolean value to true or false; it already is one or the other.

Do this:

if (flag)

Not this:

if (flag == true)

Do this:

var flag:Boolean = a && b;

Not this:

var flag:Boolean = (a && b) != false;

Explicitly coerce a Number, String, XML, XMLList, Array, Object, or * to a Boolean, because these types have multiple values which might reasonably be thought to coerce to false and it is difficult to remember which ones actually do coerce to false in AS3.

Type Can you remember which of these values coerce to false?
Number 0, NaN
String null, ""
XML / XMLList null, </>
Array null, []
Object null, {}, 0, NaN, false, </>
* undefined, null, {}, 0, NaN, false, </>

Do this:

if (s != null && s != "")

Not this:

if (s)

Subclasses of Object (e.g., UIComponent) can coerce implicitly to Boolean, because it is obvious that only the null value coerces to false and all others coerce to true. It's OK to explicitly compare the object to null as required in Java. (Note: Object and its subclasses cannot store the value undefined.)

Do this:

if (child)

Or this:

if (child == null)

And this:

if (!child)

Or this:

if (child != null)

For int and uint, it is obvious that only the 0 value coerces to false and all others coerce to true. So if you want to use implicit coercion, it's OK but a comparison against 0 reads more nicely.

Do this:

if (num != 0)

Or this:

if (num)

And this:

if (num == 0)

Or this:

if (!num)

Prefer the use of a cast to the use of the as operator. Use the as operator only if the coercion might fail and you want the expression to evaluate to null instead of throwing an exception.

Do this:

IUIComponent(child).document

Not this:

(child as IUIComponent).document

Comparison

Write comparisons in the order that they read most naturally:

Do this:

if (n == 3) // "if n is 3"

Not this:

if (3 == n) // "if 3 is n"

++ and -- operators

In cases where the postfix and prefix forms are equivalent, use the postfix form. Use the prefix form only when you need to use the value before it is incremented.

Do this:

for (var i:int = 0; i < n; i++)

Not this:

for (var i:int = 0; i < n; ++i)

Ternary operator

Use a ternary operator in place of a simple if/else statement, especially for null checks:

Do this:

return item ? item.label : null;

Not this:

if (!item)
    return null;
return item.label;

But don't use nested ternary operators in place of complex if/else logic.

Do this:

if (a < b)
    return -1;
else if (a > b)
    return 1;
return 0;

Not this:

return a < b ? -1 : (a > b ? 1 : 0);

new operator

Use parentheses after the class reference, even if the constructor takes no arguments.

Do this:

var b:Button = new Button();

Not this:

var b:Button = new Button;

Statements


Terminate each statement with a semicolon. Do not use the optional-semicolon feature of ActionScript 3.

Do this:

a = 1;
b = 2;
c = 3;

Not this:

a = 1
b = 2
c = 3

include statements

Use include, not the deprecated #include. Terminate the include statement with a semicolon, like any other statement.

Do this:

include "../core/ComponentVersion.as";

Not this:

#include "../core/ComponentVersion.as"

Use relative, not absolute, paths.

import statements

Import specific classes, interfaces, and package-level functions rather than using the * wildcard.

Do this:

import mx.controls.Button;
import flash.utils.getTimer;

Not this:

import mx.core.*;

use namespace statements

Use them. Do not use :: syntax on each reference to something in a non-open namespace.

Do this:

import mx.core.mx_internal;
use namespace mx_internal;

// Later, in some method...
doSomething();

Not this:

import mx.core.mx_internal;

// Later, in some method...
mx_internal::doSomething();

if statements

If the various branches of an if/else statement involve single statements, don't make them into blocks.

Do this:

if (flag)
    doThing1();

Not this:

if (flag)
{
    doThing1();
}

And this:

if (flag)
    doThing1();
else
    doThing2():

Not this:

if (flag)
{
    doThing1();
}
else
{
    doThing2();
}

But if any branch has multiple statements, make all of them into blocks.

Do this:'

if (flag)
{
    doThing1();
}
else
{
    doThing2();
    doThing3();
}

Not this:

if (flag)
    doThing1();
else
{
    doThing2();
    doThing3();
}

When doing multiple error checks, use sequential if statements that test for failure and return early. The successful execution flow is then down the page, with the succesful return at the end of the method. Do not use nested tests for success, which make the execution flow drift across the page.

Do this:

if (!condition1)
    return false;
...
if (!condition2)
    return false;
...
if (!condition2)
    return false;
...
return true;

Not this:

if (condition1)
{
    ...
    if (condition2)
    {
        ...
        if (condition3)
        {
            ...
            return true;
        }
    }
}
return false;

for statements

Make the body of a for loop be a block, even if it consists of only one statement.

Do this:

for (var i:int = 0; i < 3; i++)
{
   doSomething(i);
}

Not this:

for (var i:int = 0; i < 3; i++)
    doSomething(i);

Store the upper limit for a for-loop variable in a local variable so that it isn't re-evaluated every time through the loop (unless, of course, it needs to be re-evaluated on each interation).

Do this:

var n:int = a.length;
for (var i:int = 0; i < n; i++)
{
    ...
}

Not this:

for (var i:int = 0; i < a.length; i++)
{
    ...
}

Declare the loop var inside the parentheses of the for statement, unless it is reused elsewhere.

Do this:

for (var i:int = 0; i < 3; i++)

Not this:

var i:int;
for (i = 0; i < 3; i++)
{
   ...
}

while statements

Make the body of a while loop be a block, even if it consists of only one statement.

Do this:

while (i < n)
{
   doSomething(i);
}

Not this:

while (i < n)
    doSomething(i);

do statements

Make the body of a do loop be a block, even if it consists of only one statement.

Do this:

do
{
   doSomething(i);
}
while (i < n);

Not this:

do
    doSomething(i);
while (i < n);

switch statements

Make the body of each case clause, and of the default clause, be a block. Put the break or return statement within the block, not after it. If you are returning, don't put a break after the return. Treat the default clause similarly to the case clauses; break or return from it rather than falling through the bottom of the switch.

Do this:

switch (n)
{
    case 0:
    {
        foo();
        break;
    }

    case 1:
    {
        bar();
        return;
    }

    case 2:
    {
        baz();
        return;
    }

    default:
    {
        blech();
        break;
    }
}

Not this:

switch (n)
{
    case 0:
        foo();
        break;

    case 1:
    {
        bar();
    }
    break;

    case 2:
        baz();
        return;
        break;

    default:
        blech();
}

return statements

Do not enclose a return value in unnecessary parentheses.

Do this:

return n + 1;

Not this:

return (n + 1);

Returning from the middle of a method is OK.

Declarations

Don't declare multiple constants or variables in a single declaration.

Do this:

var a:int = 1;
var b:int = 2;

Not this:

var a:int = 1, b:int = 2;

The override keyword

If present, put this first, before the access specifier.

Do this:

override protected method measure():void

Not this:

protected override method measure():void

Access specifiers

Put an explicit access specifier everywhere that one is allowed. Do not use the fact that internal is the implicit access specifier if none is written.

Before making an API public or protected, think hard about whether it is really needs to be. Public and protected APIs must be documented. They must also be supported for several releases before being formally deprecated.

The static keyword

If present, put this after the access specifier.

Do this:

public static const MOVE:String = &quot;move&quot;

Not this:

static public const MOVE:String = &quot;move&quot;;

The final keyword

If present, put this after the access specifier.

Do this:

public final class BoxDirection

Not this:

final public class BoxDirection

Declare all “enum classes” to be final.

Also declare “base” properties and methods (those starting with $) to be final.

Constants

All constants should be static. There is no reason to use an instance constant, since all instances would store the same value.

Do this:

public static const ALL:String = "all";

Not this:

public const ALL:String = "all";

Variables

If a variable needs to be initialized to a non-default value, do this in the declaration, not in the constructor.

Do this:

private var counter:int = 1;

Not this:

private var counter:int;
...
public function MyClass()
{
    super();
    ...
    counter = 1;
}

Local variables

Declare local variables at or just before the point of first use. Don't declare them all at the top of the function.

Do this:

private function f(i:int, j:int):int
{
    var a:int = g(i - 1) + g(i + 1);
    var b:int = g(a - 1) + g(a + 1);
    var c:int  = g(b - 1) + g(b + 1);

    return (a * b * c) / (a + b + c);
}

Not this:

private function f(i:int, j:int):int
{
    var a:int;
    var b:int;
    var c:int;

    a = g(i - 1) + g(i + 1);
    b = g(a - 1) + g(a + 1);
    c = g(b - 1) + g(b + 1);

    return (a * b * c) / (a + b + c);
}

Declare local variables only one per function. ActionScript 3 doesn't have block-scoped locals.

Do this:

var a:int;
if (flag)
{
    a = 1;
    ...
}
else
{
    a = 2;
    ...
}

Not this:

if (flag)
{
    var a:int = 1;
    ...
}
else
{
    var a:int = 2;
    ...
}

And this:

var i:int;
for (i = 0; i &lt; n; i++)
{
    ...
}

for (i = 0; i &lt; n; i++)
{
    ...
}

Not this:

for (var i:int = 0; i &lt; n; i++)
{
    ...
}

for (var i:int = 0; i &lt; n; i++)
{
    ...
}

Classes

If a class simply extends Object, omit the extends Object clause.

The only “bare statements” in a class should be calls to static class initialization methods, such as loadResources().

Constructors

If a classes has instance members, write a constructor, and make it explicitly call super(), even if it does nothing else.

If the constructor takes arguments that set instance vars, give the the same names as the instance vars.

Do this:

public function MyClass(foo:int, bar:int)
{
    super();
    this.foo = foo;
    this.bar = bar;
}

Not this:

public function MyClass(fooVal:int, barVal:int)
{
    super();
    foo = fooVal;
    bar = barVal;
}

Don't set the classes' instance vars in the constructor; do this in the declarations of the instance vars. However, if you need to reset the values of inherited instance vars, do this in the consturctor.

Interfaces

TBD

Namespaces

TBD

Implementing properties

TBD

Metadata

TBD

Packages


One public API (usually a class, sometimes a namespace or function) inside the package statement.

Helper classes

bare statements

File Organization

This section presents the order in which a Flex framework file should be organized.

File template


When creating a new Flex component the flexsdk:File Template for Flex Components should be used so that the class is organized in the correct order. Unused sections can be deleted.


Include a copyright notice at the top of every .as file in the framework. The format for the 2008 open-source copyright is given below.

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
//
//  ADOBE SYSTEMS INCORPORATED
//  Copyright 2008 Adobe Systems Incorporated
//  All Rights Reserved.
//
//  NOTICE: Adobe permits you to use, modify, and distribute this file
//  in accordance with the terms of the license agreement accompanying it.
//
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Note that it is 80 characters wide.

package statement


TBD

import statements


TBD

use namespace statement


TBD

Class metadata


Organize the class metadata into sections, in the order Events, Styles, Effects, Excluded APIs, and Other Metadata.

Put a minor section header before each section. Note that the minor section headers are 40 characters wide and that there are two spaces between the // and the section name.

Alphabetize the metadata by name="..." within each section. In the Other Metadata section, alphabetize them by metadata tag name.

//--------------------------------------
//  Events
//--------------------------------------
/
**
 *  ASDoc comment.
 */
[Event

/**
 *  ASDoc comment.
 */
[Event

//--------------------------------------
//  Styles
//--------------------------------------

/**
 *  ASDoc comment.
 */
[Style

/**
 *  ASDoc comment.
 */
[Style]

//--------------------------------------
//  Effects
//--------------------------------------

/**
 *  ASDoc comment.
 */
[Effect

/**
 *  ASDoc comment.
 */
[Effect]

//--------------------------------------
//  Excluded APIs
//--------------------------------------

[Exclude(name=&quot;horizontalAlign&quot;, kind=&quot;style&quot;)]
[Exclude(name=&quot;verticalAlign&quot;, kind=&quot;style&quot;)]

//--------------------------------------
//  Other metadata
//--------------------------------------

[DefaultBindingProperty(source=&quot;text&quot;, destination=&quot;text&quot;)]
[IconFile(&quot;Text.png&quot;)]

Class declaration


TBD

include statement for Version.as


Every class should include core/Version.as using a relative path. This file contains the declaration for static const VERSION:String.

include "../core/Version.as";

Implementation notes


TBD

Class initialization


TBD

Class constants


Put static const declarations here.

ActionScript 3 does not allow a constant to have type Array or Object. Declare such constants using static var rather than static const, but put them in this section because they are conceptually constants.

Class mix-ins


Declare any static variables of type Function that get mixed in rather than being declared as methods.

Class resources


TBD

Class variables


TBD

Class properties


Declare static getters and setters here. Order them alphabetically by property name. Use a minor separator with the property name for each one. Put the getter before the setter.

Class methods


Put static function declarations here.

Constructor


TBD

Variables


TBD

Overridden properties


Put overrides of non-static getters and setters here. Order them alphabetically by property name. Use a minor separator with the property name for each one. Put the getter before the setter.

Properties


Put new non-static getters and setters here. Order them alphabetically by property name. Use a minor separator with the property name for each one. Put the getter before the setter.

Overridden methods


Put overrides of non-static functions here.

Methods


Put new non-static functions here.

Overridden event handlers


Put overrides of event handlers here.

Event handlers


Put new event handlers here.

Out-of-package helper classes


TBD

Formatting

This section covers how a Flex framework class should be formatted.

Line width


The target line length is 80-characters per line although up to 100-characters per line is permissible.

The most important factor to consider is readability.

FlashBuilder should be configured to show the print margin column (Preferences->General->Editors->Text Editors->Print Margin Column) so the line width is not exceeded.

Indentation


Use 4-space indentation. Configure your text editor to insert spaces rather than tabs. This allows another program that uses a different indentation setting, such as Notepad with its 8-character indents, to display the code without disfiguring it.

Section separators


The major section separators inside a class look like this:

    //--------------------------------------------------------------------------
    //
    //  Overridden methods
    //
    //--------------------------------------------------------------------------

They extend from column 4 through column 80. The text is indented to column 8.

The minor section separators inside a class, such as between properties, look like this:

    //----------------------------------
    //  visible
    //----------------------------------

They extend from column 4 through column 40. The text is indented to column 8.

Put a single blank line above and below the separators.

Separation of declarations


Use a single blank line as a vertical separator between constant, variable, or function declarations.

/**
 *  @private
 *  Holds something.
 */
var a:Number;

/**
 *  @private
 */
var b:Number

Metadata


TBD

Do this:

Inspectable[a="1", b="2"]

Not this:

Inspectable[a=1 b=2]

Array indexing


Don't put any spaces before or after the left bracket or before the right bracket.

Do this:

a[0]

Not this:

a[ 0 ]

Commas


Follow a comma with a single space. This applies to argument lists, array literals, and object literals.

Array literals


Put a single space after the left bracket and a single space before the right bracket, and put a single space after (but none before) each comma.

Do this:

[ 1, 2, 3 ]

Not these:

[1, 2, 3]

[1,2,3]

An empty array is a special case.

Do this:

[]

Not this:

[ ]

Format lengthy array initializers requiring multiple lines with aligned brackets:

static var numberNames:Array /* of String */ =
[
    "zero",
    "one",
    "two",
    "three",
    "four",
    "five",
    "six",
    "seven",
    "eight",
    "nine"
];

Object literals


Put a single space after the left brace and a single space before the right brace, and put a single space after the colon separating the property name and value.

Do this:

{ a: 1, b: 2, c: 3 }

Not these:

{a: 1, b: 2, c: 3}

{a:1, b:2, c:3}

{a:1,b:2,c:3}

An empty Object is a special case.

Do this:

{}

Not this:

{ }

Format lengthy object initializers requiring multiple lines with aligned braces:

private static var TextStyleMap:Object =
{
    color: true,
    fontFamily: true,
    fontSize: true,
    fontStyle: true,
    fontWeight: true,
    leading: true,
    marginLeft: true,
    marginRight: true,
    textAlign: true,
    textDecoration: true,
    textIndent: true
};

Function literals


TBD

var f:Function;

f = function():void
{
    doSomething();
};

Type declarations


Don't put any spaces before or after the colon that separates a variable, parameter, or function from its type.

Do this:

var n:Number;

Not these:

var n : Number;

var n: Number;

And this:

function f(n:Number):void

Not these:

function f(n : Number) : void

function f(n: Number): void

Operators and assignments


Put a single space around the assignment operator.

Do this:

a = 1;

Not this:

a=1;

Put a single space around infix operators.

Do this:

a + b * c

Not this:

a+b*c

Put a single space around comparison operators.

Do this:

a == b

Not this:

a==b

Don't put any spaces between a prefix operator and its operand.

Do this:

!o

Not this:

! o

Don't put any spaces between a postfix operator and its operand.

Do this:

i++

Not this:

i ++

Statements


Start each statement on a new line, so that you can set a breakpoint on any statement.

Do this:

a = 1;
b = 2;
c = 3;

Not this:

a = 1; b = 2; c = 3;

Align the braces of statement blocks.

Do this:

function f():void
{
    var n:int = numChildren;
    for (var i:int = 0; i < n; i++)
    {
        if ()
        {
            x = horizontalGap * i;
            y = verticalGap * i;
        }
    }
}

Not this:

function f():void {
    var n:int = numChildren;
    for (var i:int = 0; i < n; i++) {
        if () {
            x = horizontalGap * i;
            y = verticalGap * i;
        }
    }
}

Variable declarations


TBD

Constant declarations


Use the const keyword for values that are unmodifiable.

Do this:

const vsp:String = getStyle("verticalScrollPolicy");

Or this:

const dataProvider:ICollectionView = this.dataProvider as ICollectionView;

Avoid calculations and method calls in loops.

Do this:

const myArrayLength:int = myArray.length;  
for (var i=0; i < myArrayLength; i++)
{
}

Not this:

for (var i=0; i < myArray.length; i++)
{
}

Function declarations


TBD

Do this:

f(a, b)

''Not these:''

f(a,b)

f( a, b )

If the parameters have to wrap, indent the subsequent lines after the left parenthesis. Put multiple parameters per line if they fit. Otherwise, put one per line. If even one won't fit, put the first one on the second line, indented past the beginning of the function name.

public function foo(parameter1:Number, parameter2:String,
                    parameter3:Boolean):void

public function foo(parameter1:Number,
          parameter2:String,
                    parameter3:Boolean):void

public function aVeryLongFunctionName(
    parameter1:Number, parameter2:String,
    parameter3:Boolean):void

Function calls


TBD

Do this:

f(a, b)

Not these:

f(a,b)

f( a, b )

if statements


Follow the if keywords with a single space before the left parenthesis. Don't put any spaces after the left parenthesis or before the right parenthesis.

Do this:

if (a < b)

Not these:

if(a < b)

if( a < b )

if ( a < b )

else if ?

multiline ?

for statements


Follow the for keyword with a single space before the left parenthesis. Don't put any spaces after the left parenthesis or before the right parenthesis.

Do this:

for (var i:int = 0; i < n; i++)

Not these:

for(var i:int = 0; i < n; i++)

for( var i:int = 0; i < n; i++ )

for ( var i:int = 0; i < n; i++ )

If the for clause needs to wrap, indent the subsequent lines after the left parenthesis.

for (var aLongLoopVariableName:int = aLongInitialExpression;
     aLongLoopVariableName < aLongUpperLimit;
     aLongLoopVariableName++)

switch statements


Follow the switch keyword with a single space before the left parenthesis. Don't put any spaces after the left parenthesis or before the right parenthesis.

Do this:

switch (n)

Not these:

switch(n)

switch( n )

switch ( n )

Follow the switch keyword with a single space before the left parenthesis. Don't put any spaces after the left parenthesis or before the right parenthesis.

Do this:

switch (n)
{
    case 1:
    {
        a = foo();
        break;
    }

    case 2:
    {   
        a = bar();
        break;
    }

    default:
    {
        a = blech();
        break;
    }
}

Not these:

switch(n)

switch( n )

switch ( n )

class and interface declarations


braces are always balanced

no braces around single lines

single statement per line

Exceptions to formatting rules


It is permissible to deviate from the standard when modifying code that is not conformant to the standard. It is more important to be consistent with the style of the surrounding code.

ASDoc

Property comments


Only document the first function of a get/set function pair for a property. The idiom for defining and documenting a property is:

/**
 *  @private
 *  The backing variable for the property.
 */
private var _someProp:Foo;

/**
 *  Place all comments for the property with the getter which is defined first. 
 *  Comments should cover both get and set behavior as appropriate.
 */
public function get someProp():Foo
{
  ...
}

/**
 *  @private
 */
public function set someProp(value:Foo):void
{
  ...
}

Also, ASDoc comments are applied to metadata tags as well as other constructs within a class so take care that your comments apply to the proper target. If you tag a property as Bindable, your property comment must precede the get function, not the Bindable metadata tag.

Do this:

[Bindable("somePropChanged")]

/**
 *  Comments for someProp
 */
public function get someProp():Foo

Not this:

/**
 * Comments for someProp
 */
[Bindable("somePropChanged")]

public function get someProp():Foo

Using the private tag


Do not use the @private tag in ASDoc comments before private variables and private methods. They are not needed and they take up space.

General Guidelines


  • Start each sentence in an ASDoc comment on a new line. It is easier to edit the ASDoc.
  • Always close HTML tags in comments, including \<p>\</p> and \<code>\</code> tags.
  • Do not use @return in a setter/getter. It is ignored.
  • Do not use \<code> tags around a class name.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Related

Wiki: Flex 3 Contributions

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