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Nifty tricks with as3-mixin, mixin functionality for as3

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Nifty tricks with as3-mixin

note!

Mixin's can never access private variables!

Mixin's for subclassing symbols

Mixin's can be used when you are subclassing a symbol defined in a .fla file. It is very convenient to do, but uses up your chance to add common functionality through a base class. In that case you can use a mixin, a class who's methods are added to your class in the constructor.

Mixin classes must have only static constants of type Function, Functions not defined as static const will not be recognised by mixin.:

import com.greensock.TweenLite;

public class IsoMetricScaleMixin
{
  public static const scale:Function = function(scale:Number):Number {
      return this.scaleX = this.scaleY = scale;
  }

  public static const scaleTween:Function = function(scale:Number, duration:Number):TweenLite {
      return TweenLite.to(this, duration, {scaleX:scale, scaleY:scale});
  }
}

This is because you can only rebind this, on function objects. If you don't believe me, look at the tests.

The class with the symbol you are extending should look like this:

import yagni.mixin;
import mixins.IsoMetricScaleMixin;
import mixins.BounceMixin;

public class FunkyCircle extends FunkyCircleSymbol
{
  // mixin forward declarations.
  public var scale:Function;
  public var scaleTween:Function;
  public var bounce:Function;

  public function FunkyCircle()
  {
      super();
      mixin(this, IsoMetricScaleMixin, BounceMixin);
  }

}

Note that mixin accepts multiple mixin classes and that the mixin methods are defined as public variables.

After you've done that, you can create funky circles and do some scaling or bouncing on them:

var funkyCircle:FunkyCircle = new FunkyCircle();
funkyCircle.scale(2);
funkyCircle.scaleTween(1);
funkyCircle.bounce();

Mixin's for doing layout in the fla

The above described method for doing graphics is very handy for small symbols. When your UI becomes more intricate and symbols are getting nested, the code for one symbol can grow a lot. You don't want to include the code for all the subsymbols in the same file. What you want is to define the behaviour of the subsymbols in a separate file.

Base classes for sub symbols

A very flawed attempt at factoring out behaviour for symbols in separate files, is to have user defined base classes for your symbols. It is possible to set the base class of a symbol in the fla, to one of your own classes. The problem with this approach, is that it is very hard to see if code is being used or not. When you change stuff in the fla, your base classes might become obsolete, without you noticing.

Or the other way around, you might delete a file for which you can not find a reference anywhere in your code base, only to find out it is still being used when you try to recompile the fla.

Mixin's for sub symbols

Mixin's are a much better option. If you leave the type of your symbols set to MovieClip, since MovieClip is dynamic, you can add behaviour by mixin in methods:

import yagni.mixin;
import mixins.IsoMetricScaleMixin;
import mixins.BounceMixin;

public class Layout extends LayoutSymbol
{
  public function Layout()
  {
      super();

      // LayoutSymbol has an instance variable named square,
      // which is of the default type for symbols, MovieClip
      mixin(super.square, IsoMetricScaleMixin);
  }

}

The instance variable square will get the behaviour defined in IsoMetricScaleMixin, which allows you to call super.square.scale(2); inside Layout. This way you can factor out the behaviour of sub symbols and not find any unpleasant surprises when you compile your fla.

Mixins as delegates

You can also use mixin's to implement a delegate mechanism:

package
{
    import yagni.mixin;

    public class GeneralTable
    {
        public var data:Array = [
            [0x1F9925, 0x992553],
            [0x252C99, 0x961099]
        ];

        public function GeneralTable(data:Array=null) {
            if (data)
                this.data = data;
        }

        // delegate method default
        public var addObjectAtRowAndCol:Function = function(row:Number, col:Number):void {
            var a:Shape = new Shape();
            with (a.graphics) {
                beginFill(this.data[row][col],1);
                drawRect(0, 0, 20, 40);
                endFill();
            }
            a.x = col * 40;
            a.y = row * 20;
            this.addChild(a);
        }

        // delegate setter
        // maybe you want to [Inject] this?
        public function set delegate(delegate:Object):void
        {
            mixin(this, delegate);
        }

        // draw uses the delegate method to draw the table cells.
        public function draw():void
        {
            for (var i:int = 0; i < data.length; i++) {
                for (var j:int = 0; j < data[i].length; j++) {
                    this.addObjectAtRowAndCol(i, j);
                }
            }
        }
    }

}

Above you can see a general, very unsophisticated, table implementation. In the above case, calling draw() after construction will draw a 2x2 table, with cells in different colours.

There is only one method that determines exactly what is being drawn in each cell, and where; addObjectAtRowAndCol. This method can be overridden by setting the proper delegate object to the delegate setter. The delegate object should be a mixin that defines the addObjectAtRowAndCol function object:

public class TableDelegate
{
    // using this delegate would fill the table with funky circles as cells!
    public static const addObjectAtRowAndCol:Function = function(row:Number, col:Number):void
    {
        var c:FunkyCircle = new FunkyCircle()
        c.x = col * 100;
        c.y = row * 100;
        this.addChild(c);
    }

}

The advantage of doing it this way instead of extending the GeneralTable and overriding the addObjectAtRowAndCol method, is that setting the delegate works, even when the GeneralTable is allready used in other code. This will save you having to extend a whole bunch of classes, when the class you really want to override is inside a whole bunch of other classes.

Delegate as sub object

Traditional approaches would define the delegate as a sub object of GeneralTable, which would complicate your code:

public class GeneralTable
{

    // the delegate is a subobject, that defines addObjectAtRowAndCol.
    public var delegate:ObjectAtRowDelegate;

    // draw would call addObjectAtRowAndCol on the subobject.
    public function draw():void
    {
        for (var i:int = 0; i < data.length; i++) {
            for (var j:int = 0; j < data[i].length; j++) {

                // Complicated code!
                this.delegate.addObjectAtRowAndCol(this, i, j);
            }
        }
    }

}

If you want to delegate a method that also belongs to your public api, you would have to call the method like this:

var table:GeneralTable = new GeneralTable();
table.delegate.addObjectAtRowAndCol(table, 1, 2);

With a mixin as a delegate you can just go for:

var table:GeneralTable = new GeneralTable();
table.addObjectAtRowAndCol( 1, 2);

In short, using mixins as delegate, enables you to let delegates override part of your class it's public api, without complicating things.

Performance

You can see what the performance is for regular objects versus objects with mixins by running the test suit:

make test

Try typing that in the root folder.

Event handlers in mixins.

If you want to define behaviour including events in your mixin's you might want to check out https://github.com/specialunderwear/as3-callatevent to take care of the scoping of this inside the event handlers.

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