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ActionScript 3.0 Cookbook: Solutions for Flash Platform and Flex Application Developers [Paperback]

by Joey Lott, Darron Schall, Keith Peters
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 18, 2006 0596526954 978-0596526955 1

Well before Ajax and Microsoft's Windows Presentation Foundation hit the scene, Macromedia offered the first method for building web pages with the responsiveness and functionality of desktop programs with its Flash-based "Rich Internet Applications". Now, new owner Adobe is taking Flash and its powerful capabilities beyond the Web and making it a full-fledged development environment.

Rather than focus on theory, the ActionScript 3.0 Cookbook concentrates on the practical application of ActionScript, with more than 300 solutions you can use to solve a wide range of common coding dilemmas. You'll find recipes that show you how to:

  • Detect the user's Flash Player version or their operating system
  • Build custom classes
  • Format dates and currency types
  • Work with strings
  • Build user interface components
  • Work with audio and video
  • Make remote procedure calls using Flash Remoting and web services
  • Load, send, and search XML data
  • And much, much more ...

Each code recipe presents the Problem, Solution, and Discussion of how you can use it in other ways or personalize it for your own needs, and why it works. You can quickly locate the recipe that most closely matches your situation and get the solution without reading the whole book to understand the underlying code. Solutions progress from short recipes for small problems to more complex scripts for thornier riddles, and the discussions offer a deeper analysis for resolving similar issues in the future, along with possible design choices and ramifications. You'll even learn how to link modular ActionScript pieces together to create rock-solid solutions for Flex 2 and Flash applications.

When you're not sure how ActionScript 3.0 works or how to approach a specific programming dilemma, you can simply pick up the book, flip to the relevant recipe(s), and quickly find the solution you're looking for.

Adobe Developer Library is a co-publishing partnership between O'Reilly Media and Adobe Systems, Inc. and is designed to produce the number one information resources for developers who use Adobe technologies. Created in 2006, the Adobe Developer Library is the official source for comprehensive learning solutions to help developers create expressive and interactive web applications that can reach virtually anyone on any platform. With top-notch books and innovative online resources covering the latest in rich Internet application development, the Adobe Developer Library offers expert training and in-depth resources, straight from the source.

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Frequently Bought Together

ActionScript 3.0 Cookbook: Solutions for Flash Platform and Flex Application Developers + Essential ActionScript 3.0 + The ActionScript 3.0 Quick Reference Guide: For Developers and Designers Using Flash: For Developers and Designers Using Flash CS4 Professional (Adobe Developer Library)
Price for all three: $82.78

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joey Lott is the author of several O'Reilly books on Macromedia technology, including Flash 8 Cookbook, Programming Flash Communication Server, and the ActionScript Cookbook. He is also the author of Flash 8 ActionScript Bible (Wiley) and Advanced ActionScript with Design Patterns (Adobe Press, October 2006). Joey has been teaching Flash and ActionScript since 1999. His professional experience in the Internet industry includes co-founding RightSpring, Inc., as well as consulting for YourMobile/Premium Wireless Services (J2EE B2C application) and (leading the development of a J2EE B2B application).

Darron Schall is an independent consultant specializing in the Flash Platform, with a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from Lehigh University. He has been using ActionScript since the early days and is a prominent voice in the Flash and Flex communities. He is actively involved in the Open Source Flash movement with projects ranging from software development tools to a Commodore 64 emulator. Darron has spoken at various conferences about ActionScript, and has contributed to books and magazines. You can find his Flash Platform related weblog at

Keith Peters is a Flash developer in the Boston area. He has been working with Flash since 1999 and is currently a Senior Flash Developer at Brightcove ( Keith has been a contributing author to nine other books on Flash and ActionScript. His personal website,, features an active blog, over 700 open source Flash experiments, and lots of other random Flash-related stuff.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 588 pages
  • Publisher: Adobe Developer Library; 1 edition (October 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596526954
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596526955
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 4.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #779,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast ramp up to Actionscript 3.0 April 11, 2007
This book was exactly what I was looking for: a reference-style book to quickly look up how to do something specific with ActionScript 3. It is for generally experienced developers that already know what they want to do and just need to see how it's done in with AS3 in the classic cookbook style.

There is no coverage of Flex or Flex Builder (perfect!). This is also not a tutorial book so you may need to look elsewhere if that is what you need.
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80 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great addition to your ActionScript knowledge base October 28, 2006
This book is in the style of the classic O'Reilly Cookbook series format, in which each recipe presents the problem, the solution, and a discussion of the solution. Each section pretty much stands alone, although you should understand chapter one on the basics before moving on. The Discussion sections of each recipe offer a good analysis of how the solution works and different design choices and their various ramifications. Thus you get the best of both worlds - quick and easy access to the answers you want and deeper insights into the nature of both the problem and the solution. This book is helping me develop my understanding of ActionScript concepts by applying them in real situations and I highly recommend it.

All of the code examples in this book are based on ActionScript 3.0 and only compatible with products that support ActionScript 3.0. Flex 2.0 and Flash 9 allow you to author ActionScript 3.0 content. Flash Player 9 supports ActionScript 3.0. If you are using a product that does not support ActionScript 3.0, then the code in this book is not likely to work.

The following is the table of contents:

Chapter 1. ActionScript Basics
Recipe 1.1. Creating an ActionScript Project
Recipe 1.2. Customizing the Properties of an Application
Recipe 1.3. Where to Place ActionScript Code
Recipe 1.4. How to Trace a Message
Recipe 1.5. Handling Events
Recipe 1.6. Responding to Mouse and Key Events
Recipe 1.7. Using Mathematical Operators
Recipe 1.8. Checking Equality or Comparing Values
Recipe 1.9. Performing Actions Conditionally
Recipe 1.10. Performing Complex Conditional Testing
Recipe 1.11. Repeating an Operation Many Times
Recipe 1.12. Repeating a Task over Time
Recipe 1.13.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Handy Reference for ActionScript Programmers January 15, 2007
Despite numerous typographical errors and several sections that reference outdated ActionScript 2 information, the ActionScript 3.0 Cookbook remains a very handy reference for developers who want quick, ready to implement solutions to common programming tasks and challenges.

This book is more of a desk reference for common tasks than an overall guide to the newest installment of Adobe's ECMA-based programming language. The sections devoted to the new features of ActionScript 3 are very useful and have thorough explanations with well documented code samples. I found the chapter on the new model for adding visual elements to a SWF via ActionScript using the Display List to be particularly helpful in my study of AS3.'

To sum up my thoughts on the ActionScript 3.0 Cookbook: Definitely a worth the cover price for experienced ActionScript developers but maybe not the ideal resource for those developers that are just learning programming for the Flash Platform.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I feel this is book 1 of 2 March 22, 2007
A lot is covered, generally. Since ActionScript is at the heart of all Flash/Flex applications, I felt this book was in some areas premature and slim. In all fairness there's a lot that can be covered, and I really felt like I'm waiting for an "Advanced Cookbook" to really sink my teeth into.

This book has both beginner and intermediate scenarios.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
The authors for this book are all well-known, top-notch ActionScript developers and experienced authors. They've collected a nice set of tasks that are common enough that you are likely to want to know how to do them in ActionScript, but involved enough or cross-topic enough that you won't be likely to find them in the in-product documentation.

The book also has a very nice supplemental code library. This is sort of a mixed blessing; it's a download, so anyone can get it (not just people who pay for the book) and in several recipes the authors' solution is just to "use class X and method Y from the book's code library," without any explanation as to why the code works, or what it does under the covers. Depending on your coding style, you may or may not want that level of detail, but I'm the sort of person who does want it so it left me a little disappointed.

However, there's also a lot in this book that doesn't fit with my idea of what should be in the "cookbook" format book. In my mind, a "cookbook" is a book whose topics are more "edgy" or involved than what you might find in the core documentation. It should cover how to accomplish specific tasks that aren't easily figured out and aren't found elsewhere (again, especially not in the main documentation). It should also include "hacks" or workarounds to accomplishing things that aren't readily available using the built-in functionality of the language.

This book has plenty of those topics, but it also has a lot of topics that are covered well and in sufficient detail in the in-product help. To make things worse, often those topics are not just given a one-page-or-less "cookbook" treatment (which would be useful for those "I know I've seen it before but I can't quite remember what the syntax is" moments).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars It was great
I had a lot of helpful recipes. Too bad flash is dead. This book helped me with a bunch of things
Published 13 days ago by Ulises Bocchio
4.0 out of 5 stars Actionscript
A great book to have for the person wanting to create a game and programming is a must. Filled with great info and tips.
Published 1 month ago by Silver Pen
4.0 out of 5 stars Great insight
Any of the O'Reily Cookbook series as a great insight to the item covered. It gives examples and descriptions of the process involved. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Keith
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for Microwave Cooking
The ideal reader of ActionScript 3.0 Cookbook is an intermediate user who either has a good understanding of ActionScript 2 or who has some experience with ActionScript 3. Read more
Published on June 23, 2009 by J Fairlight
2.0 out of 5 stars Very limited
The topics covered are very limited compared to the basic needs and scope of actionscript and the coverage of each topic is too limited and redundant. Read more
Published on December 14, 2008 by Luis M. Serrano
2.0 out of 5 stars Was this book proofread?
It *appears* that the authors know their material, and there's a lot of useful stuff covered.

Unfortunately the book is so full of errors that when encountering a... Read more
Published on September 2, 2008 by Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars AS 3.0 Cook Book
It's me first AS 3.0 book.
This is a good book. Easy to read and learn action script 3.0.
Have examples good and clear for all of the topics.
I like it. Read more
Published on July 24, 2008 by Carlos Barboni Dutra
2.0 out of 5 stars basic idea
very simple recipes. for any intermediate to advanced programmer this book is not recommended.
Published on July 8, 2008 by K. Hetman
2.0 out of 5 stars Spend your money elsewhere!
In theory this book could have been very good. There were a few things that I did like about it. I liked the problem, solution, discussion approach to learning ActionScript. Read more
Published on June 8, 2008 by _t
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly What the Title Says - No More No Less
This book is about ActionScript ONLY. when I bought it, I was hoping to find cookbook solutions for Flash and/or Flex IDE and all the step-by-step color illustrations and the cool... Read more
Published on June 2, 2008 by tterb45
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