Thursday, February 4, 2010

Garbage collection simulation: mark and sweep

In Flash Player 9, the garbage collector's operations are deferred. This is a very important thing to understand. Your objects will not be removed immediately when all active references are deleted. Rather, they will be removed at some indeterminate time in the future (from a developer standpoint). The garbage collector uses a set of heuristics that look at the RAM allocation and the size of the memory stack, among other things, to determine when to run. As a developer, you must accept the fact that you will have no way of knowing when, or even if, your inactive objects will get deallocated. You must also be aware that inactive objects will continue to execute indefinitely, until the garbage collector deallocates them, so your code will keep running (enterFrame events will continue), sounds will keep playing, loads will keep happening, other events will keep firing, and so on.


As shown in the following simulation (click Figure 3 or the link below it), drag out objects (round rectangles) and references to those objects. Then run reference counts or mark and sweep to see which objects would be collected. The number in an object indicates the number of references to that object.

Flex Garbage collection

Other References : clean up your garbage

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