As we looked at our goals for Flash Player 9, however, we realized that it would be too limiting to continue to evolve the existing engine. We wanted to create a watershed moment in the history of Flash Player, and to deliver it we needed to be able to innovate without constraint.
As a result, ActionScript 3.0 is essentially a full rewrite of the ActionScript engine. ActionScript 3.0 executes in a new, highly-optimized virtual machine known as AVM2, which we built for efficiency and performance. Although AVM2 will be the primary virtual machine for ActionScript execution going forward, Flash Player will continue to support the older AVM1 for backwards compatibility with existing and legacy content.
However, in order to take advantage of the new features, we’ll have to wait for the release of Flash Professional 9, (or play around with an alpha patch for Flash 8), according to the FAQ:
Designers and developers interested in using new Flash Player 9 features are welcome to explore the public alpha of Adobe Flash Professional 9 ActionScript 3.0 available on Adobe Labs.
It’s curiously timed… isn’t it unprecedented for Macromedia/Adobe releasing Player 9 almost a year in advance of Flash Professional 9? And, I don’t think that we’ll see wide-spread adoption until there is actually some Flash 9 content out there on the web. I’ll start paying attention in 2007.