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on December 5, 2008
I've been an intermediate Flash guy for years. The simplicity of ActionScript 1 and 2 made them easy to grasp for all the basics, but the limitations were also abundantly clear.

When ActionScript 3 debuted, I was excited that it had finally become a "real" programming language. But despite being a programmer since before there was an Internet, I found much of ActionScript 3 to be confusing, and honestly, intimidating.

I tried doing it on my own, and I tried other books. But they were either too focused on the language itself and lacked context for the sorts of real-world tasks one does in Flash, or they didn't go deeply enough. ActionScript 3.0 Visual Quickstart Guide finally struck the right balance -- at least for me, and my learning style.

As a programmer, I didn't need to be spoon-fed the basics of variables and control structures. But as a UI guy, I also needed practical, real-world examples like working with dynamic text, interfacing with the outside world, and loading assets.

Quite literally within minutes, I was able to use the straightforward, clear examples and explanations to whip-out Flash movies with ActionScript 3.0 handling the heavy lifting, and finally achieve some things I'd be struggling for months to learn through searching for code examples found online.

Two things are clear from reading the book, however:

1. While the book does cover the basics, people completely new to programming are probably going to be more lost than anything. This is a small book, and the content is relatively brief. If you want your hand held from a standing non-programmer start all the way to ActionScript expert, this probably is not your book. You should understand what programming is, and basic concepts (like variables and control) before you start. This book will help you connect that knowledge to ActionScript 3.

2. You're not going to become the world ActionScript 3 expert by reading this book. You'll get a superb foundation that will give the typical Flash designer/programmer everything they need, and a range of core knowledge that you can augment with some of the "deeper" books, web searches, or just plain reading the Flash manual. But I suspect that most readers, like me, will come out of this book with the stuff you really need for most real-world Flash work.

In summary, the book is well planned out, well written, and the examples -- every single one I tried -- worked as written, free of the typos, errors and omissions that seem to plague other ActionScript 3 books (based on reading reviews here at, anyway).

While your mileage may well vary, for me, for my learning style, and for someone of my experience level, this book was perfect, and finally (FINALLY!) the ActionScript 3 guide I was looking for.
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on January 14, 2009
I bought the three main actionscript 3.0 books out there and this is the one I should have started with. Unlike the other two, this one is actually aimed at those of us who are predominantly visual designers and who are migrating from 2.0 to 3.0. Because I taught myself 2.0, I had a bunch of bad practices which probably made the jump to 3.0 even more daunting. This book starts out simply and builds upon itself in a manner that is never intimidating. The 'Learning Actionscript' book is much more suited to programmers who are moving into flash. This book is best for flash or visual designers who are migrating and just want to be able to program in 3.0. 'Essential Actionscript' seems best for after you've already become comfortable and need an extensive reference guide.
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on October 11, 2008
This book by Derrick Ypenburg is a great reference manual for the seasoned Flash and ActionScript programmer and a good starter book for the novice. With the upgrade to ActionScript 3, many Flash programmers have found it easier to make the move from ActionScript 2 to ActionScript 3 by going back to the beginning and learning ActionScript 3 from the basics forward. In this book, the author does just that for his audience. Because the book is divided into small sections of information with step-by-step exercises, even the novice will not become overwhelmed. Throughout the book, the author assumes that the reader has a basic knowledge of Flash and therefore the book concentrates on the latest ActionScript 3 techniques.

The author begins with the basics of Dot syntax and then moves on to the individual components of OOP such as variables, methods, functions, classes and objects and their unique relationship with Flash objects, instances and hierarchy. He also covers basic programming tasks including commenting code, testing and error handling. Dynamic text fields and user input are important to Flash interactivity. The author discusses the relationship between the TextField object and the Event model. He not only covers how to use the MouseEvent and KeyboardEvent classes to create dynamic input fields in response to user interactivity but also how to format text and embed fonts in Flash. Next, he discusses the Math class and how it is the backbone of a dynamic, randomly changing Flash layout. Other topics related to dynamic Flash that were covered in the book are data storage and retrieval, conditional and looping logic, HTTP requests, Get and Post methods and loading external assets with the Loader class. At the end of the book is the fun topics such as the Shape class and Drawing API, blend modes, filters, Tweening, transitions, sound and video playback.

Derrick Ypenburg is an expert in rich media applications for Flash. He has worked with many top design firms. He also lectures and authors books and articles on Flash and ActionScript. The supporting files for the book can be downloaded from the author's website.
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on December 21, 2008
The previous reviewer is a detriment to the whole review process. His mistake for being five or so years behind the times and not understanding the latest technology has no bearing on this book. I have ActionScript 3.0 for Adobe Flash CS4 Professional and Learning ActionScript 3.0 A Beginners Guide and both are excellent books but it is the Visual Quickstart Guide to ActionScript 3.0 that I keep coming back to to fill in the most basic gaps that the other two books seem to assume you are aware of. I have a degree in Mathematics and did programming back in my day but coming back to it I find I am a little rusty. Some of the concepts of ActionScript 3.0 are difficult to comprehend because the terms of reference are foreign and the books available start you off from different angles. The three books noted in this review have me up and running and becoming more confident all the time but none on their own works well. This book is a must have for anyone new to the software but please note that due to the initial complexities of understanding the language and syntax there is no ONE magic book that will get you up to speed. This is a great book for CS4, why wouldn't it be?
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on April 15, 2012
As someone already stated, that book is not going to make you an expert in AS 3.0, but it's a very good start to learn major topics. What I really like in this book, is the organization - planning of chapters, which are relatively short with basic and useful code examples.
If you are a designer, who need basic AS 3.0 to enhance your Flash project with more interactivity, this books is probably good enough. If you want to become a programmer, you can start here and then dive deeper into some other volumes.
There are some minor typos throughout the script, but you can figure them out yourself, or go to the companion website. I was a little disappointed in scope of that book. To study more I have to go and buy some other products... but that's probably what "quick start" is all about.
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on September 28, 2009
If you really want to understand ActionScript 3.0 from it's absolute core, this is the book... I have read other books but this one seemed to be the one that got me to really understood what action script was and how it's used. It didn't have a lot of extra fluff in it. It just tells you what it is. I hate when an author goes off into some other direction when he's trying to explain something... it gets confusing. Just tell me what it is, how it's used and move on. This is a good book to start with. After this, you'll be ready to tackle the more complex books on this language.
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on July 12, 2010
This is a quick start guide and it is very helpful for those beginning to learn about actionscript 3.0. i have taken a course on aionscript 3.0 and i find this book very helpful. thanks
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on March 8, 2011
This is a good book. I like it more than the ActionScript 3.0 Bible. I have been using it for a college class and it has really helped me out.
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on February 10, 2013
This is a great book! It helped my land my new job and I'm looking forward to buying more advanced ActionScript 3.0 and Flash books!
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on March 23, 2009
To the point, not more detail than you need--but enough on the key topics. I've started a number of books and this is the one that I finally stuck with, and felt like I finally "got" Actionscript with. It has a few typos, as it seems books of this type always do--but nothing that wasn't obvious from context.
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