The beta release of Adobe AIR 19 has landed and the big news is that we finally have the AS3 Workers API for iOS.

So what are Workers? Well put simply, Workers lets us create multi-threaded AIR and Flash Player applications. This is significant because you can finally relegate CPU intensive tasks to a background worker thread while your main application thread continues to do its own thing. So for example, you could write code to perform some heavy image processing in the background without your app’s UI being blocked. In fact, this is one of the primary reasons for using workers: to ensure your app’s user interface and animation stay as smooth as possible even when there’s a lot of processor intensive code being run.

You can find the API documentation for the Worker class on Adobe’s official AS3 Language Reference site. There’s also the Introducing Concurrency on iOS article on the Adobe Developer Connection website, which will help you get started.

And if you want a more detailed introduction to workers then take a look at Shawn Blais’s excellent tutorial on the subject. Part three is particularly interesting as Shawn shows the Nape physics engine running in a separate thread to guarantee a silky smooth 60 frames-per-second simulation.

You can download the AIR 19 beta from Adobe Labs.

  1. Worker in iOS will cease execution after URLLoader or Loader .load function is called. Assets Loading is probably one the the most popular use of threads. Oh well.