The news is that the proposed ECMAScript 4 (ES4) that created such a stir in the ActionScript community half a year ago is no more. Instead the ECMAScript working groups is going to pursue an update to version 3. I say good riddance to ES 4, it had a lot of interesting stuff in it that I would have loved to see in ActionScript, but that was only because ES4 had every possible feature from every language that its authors had ever laid their eyes on.
It will be interesting to see how Adobe reacts to the decision (even though they were a part of it). It may be a hard blow for them as they were in a good position for making their ES4 implementation Tamarin more or less the gold standard. They have staked too much in AS3 to backtrack and implement anything like ES3.1, so the question is whether Adobe will continue to work on AS3 (4?) by themselves, or try to get the ECMAScript working group to continue work on ES4 in parallel, but that doesn’t look likely.
In a way this may be good news for ActionScript programmers since Adobe is more free to develop it on their own, there’s no committee to slow things down, and no standard implement but the standard that they define themselves. I don’t believe in design by committee anyway, so I’m happy. The web gets ES3.1 which is much more appropriate than the proposed ES4 was, and Flash and Flex get a language more suited to application development.
Update Mike Chambers has clarified Adobe’s standpoint:
To sum up, ActionScript 3 isn’t changing and we are not going to dumb down future versions or ActionScript. We are going to continue to innovate on the web with the Flash Player, and push the web forward, as we have done for over a decade.
Not surprising, but good to hear from the horse’s mouth.