Actionscript – How to get an instance’s “memory location” in ActionScript


FlexBuilder's debugger will show you the "memory location" (or, I can only assume, something roughly analogous) of any in-scope instance:

debugger memory location

But I'd like to get this information in code (sort of like Python's id function), so I could very easily trace how objects move through out the system. For example, I might have:

trace("Returning", id(foo));

Then somewhere else I could use:

trace("Using", id(foo));

To make sure both bits of code are dealing with the same instance.

Now, I know that many AS classes implement the IUID interface… But there are also a bunch of classes which don't (plain old arrays and objects, for example), so that wouldn't solve my problem.

I realize that I could also wrap objects in an ObjectProxy, but that would be less than ideal as well.

Best Solution

In realy I advise to you don't to use this too much... it is very expensive. Adobe need to create a native function to return this to us.

But, for now... try this:

You will need to cause a explicit coercion to get it! Because when you make and explicit coercion you get an Error like this:

TypeError: Error #1034: 
Type Coercion failed: cannot convert Main@1c49d31 to flash.utils.ByteArray.

Note that in this error you get what you want... the @1c49d31. This hash is like an ID in the memory allocation.

I did a lot of tests. This hash just change when you call a "new" (in C languages is equivalent to [[... alloc] init]) and for static functions and static properties, the allocation occurs a little different... anyway...

Backing to Flash, the problem is we don't have a direct way to get this hash without an Error.

But this is not a realy big problem. All that you need is to use some "try" and "catch" Like this:

catch (e:Error)

And voila! You will get the hash without result in an Error! After this I did a more refinated way... Try this:

var memoryHash:String;

catch (e:Error)
    memoryHash = String(e).replace(/.*([@|\$].*?) to .*$/gi, '$1');

internal final class FakeClass { }

A little explain about this: The fakeClass is to be sure about this will generate an Error. The RegularExpression is to capture the last @... that appear. Because Objects and Functions generate different messages on this Error. And the $ is to catch the Static Objects, Class and Functions, bacause they don't have an "@" in its memory hash and different zones in memory.

This little code works so fine to me! Now i can finish some great engines that i'm making that work with memory management, weak references and ID based on memory.

I hope this can help you.

Bye, and good luck, my friend!

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