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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
Macomedia Flash has been around for awhile now and most know what it is and what kinds of things you can do for it. But most poeple do not know the power behind the scenes in the Flash programming language called ActionScript.

This book explains how ActionScript is as a programming language first, then how it is as a development platform for enriching your Flash applications. The hardest part in my opinion in explaining ActionScript is that designers who use Flash will have a hard time understanding programming concepts and developers will have a hard time understanding the Flash environment using ActionScript. This book does a wonderful job bringing both worlds together (designer and developer) and explaining in an easy to understand way with plenty of examples.

Real world concepts are covered like object oriented programming (OOP), controlling movie-clips, preloading movies, user-interaction, debugging, animation techniques, components, handling text and XML, using JavaScript.

Readers can read the book from start to finish or skip to a particular chapter to focus on a topics without getting feeling lost. There are lots and lots of code snippets and examples that really explain how to se ActionScript correctly. So many other books out there explain ActionScript useless examples (or hardly any) that do not teach you anything. This book really goes in detail why they did it that why and why it is the correct way.

The appendix has some great keyboard shortcuts and the answers to all the exercises after each chapter. Which makes this a great book for a class as well.

This is one of the best books on ActionScript and I highly recommend it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
I looked through a number of ActionScript books before I settled on this one. They don't compartmentalize the language as much as others do, not being afraid to bring in a more advanced topic and discuss it briefly so that an early demo script is actually useful and functional.

Basically, while the demo scripts focus on the task at hand, they're not "dumbed down" to avoid mentioning or using concepts from upcoming chapters. I found that refreshing and useful, because the reason I got the book was to be able to bring my skills up to speed to dig into the guts of an existing open source app. I was able to start reading the code of that app faster than if I had to go through 9 chapters to find out what "this" meant.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
What an excellent book.
I was not new to Actionscript language, but this book formilized my knowledge and help me in structuring my way of writing Actionscipt code. Writing good actionscript code it's more that knowing how to make things moving, and this book just help you to achive this goal. I have found some new topics that are very difficoult to find and understand over the net this includes the setInterval funcion and the new drawing API, the new bitmap classes and methods and much more. I reccomend this book to anyone that wants to make a jump to a higher lever of programming technique. Maybe this book will not teach you so many new things, someone might expect this by the size of the book (very thick), but it teachs you the phylosofy of a good programmer. Thumbs up !
Max Pellizzaro
[...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2007
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I have only read the first five chapters and so far it is a excellent read and the best Actionscript 2 book that I have read. If I could, this would be the textbook I would use in the classroom where I teach. I am stuck with Actionscript 2 because my school cannot afford to buy Flash CS3. Actionscript 3 is the new language for Flash. My hope is that these two authors will write an Actionscript 3 book. I will be the first to buy.
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on March 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have used this book a lot on my projects and I've been amazed at the solutions here. The actionscript code is also well explained.
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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
Updated now that I've plowed through the whole thing. Compared to the beginning, the later pages are better, I think there's some real good information in this book and good tips. But it just seems that there's a lot of typos, un-explained code and it seems just confusing examples. Also, if there was the one glaring mistake below that I caught, just because it's something common to many programming languages, how many more did I not catch because it was something particular to actionscript? This is the first wrox book that I've been really disappointed in, generally wrox has been at least decent and often quite good. Sadly, I'd recommend you give this book a pass.

Read on for my more detailed impressions of the beginning:

I'm only several chapters into the book and so far I'm not impressed. It's been difficult to get through the first chapters - they cover the basics of development, variables, control structures, etc..

There were several times where I simply didn't agree with what they were saying or the point at which they were getting to topics, but just chalked it up to the inevitable differences in programming style. As examples, in the very beginning of the book, only a few dozen pages in, in a section targetted at complete programming novices they try to explain to you pointers and the differences between pass by value and pass by reference. A topic that can be confusing to even some knowledgeable programmers.

Or style issues where they suggest you initialize your associative arrays using the cumbersome (for initializing) array notation, but throughout the following pages they initialize nested anonymous objects to create data structures using the {} shortcuts. So... in the simple case where you are building a simple associative array (where you can use whitespace to make it very clear what you are doing) you should use this very explicit and wordy notation, but when you are developing more complex structures, you should use the simplified version?

Other simply minor things like that and maybe a few typos, but ok.. I figured, I must just be cranky while reading and was really picking nits for some reason. And then I get to their section on expressions and using boolean operators. Where they helpfully break down exactly what the flash player will do to evaluate your expressions. Except they are dead wrong in a very stunning way. They describe the process as an iterative process of simplifying everything until you get to a simple set of booleans and boolean operators.

So, in a 4 step process, in a paraphrase of an example, you get:

1: x >= 0 && x <= 10
2: replace the vars: 5 >= 0 and 5 <= 10
3: evaluate highest priority ops: true && true
4: evaluate remaining op: true

Which is all very clear and all very wrong. I couldn't believe that Macromedia had removed the short-circuitiness of boolean operators from the language. I franticly jump to the index which reveals no hint of short circuit operators. Fortunately, a short google later brings us to macromedia's site where they reassuringly describe how && and || are indeed short circuit operators.

While in their example, it makes no difference. Short circuit operators are used extremely often and are extremely useful. They do not simply evaluate both sides of the operator, they evaluate only enough to determine the truth of the statement.

So if you had something like this:

a == 1 || b == 2

if a actually did equal 1, second half of the expression would never be evaluated. Which, in this example doesn't matter, but if instead you had:

a == 1 || some_long_running_function() == 2

it makes a big difference since the function is only called when a does not equal one.

This is an extremely important and subtle point which the authors seemingly do not understand.

I am trying to continue reading the book, but if it keeps on along this line, I may not be able to finish. I have some hopes that it will get better... and if it does, I'll come back and rewrite this review.
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