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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You know ActionScript has come of age when...
You know ActionScript has come of age when a book like this comes out. Colin Moock had already written arguably the bible on ActionScript 1.0, and though I was worried at the decision that this book was to be a supplement to ActionScript for Flash MX, rather than a sequel, I now couldn't agree more with the logic. The resultant book would have been too big for its...
Published on July 3, 2004 by Raymond Brigleb

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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good coverage of AS2.0 but leaves out data connectivity
Colin Moock is extremely talented in all areas of Flash, and object oriented programming.

In general, this is book has very good ceverage of actionscript best practices, when implementing an application that uses the AS2.0 class framework. That is what gets the 3 stars. Now the missing part. I include myself in the 99.9% of all Flash MX 2004 developers that...
Published on October 22, 2004 by dwarch


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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You know ActionScript has come of age when..., July 3, 2004
By 
Raymond Brigleb (Portland, OR, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Essential ActionScript 2.0 (Paperback)
You know ActionScript has come of age when a book like this comes out. Colin Moock had already written arguably the bible on ActionScript 1.0, and though I was worried at the decision that this book was to be a supplement to ActionScript for Flash MX, rather than a sequel, I now couldn't agree more with the logic. The resultant book would have been too big for its binding!!!
Technically perfect, this book reminds me of why I fell in love with O'Reilly books in the first place. It reminds me of my first read of Larry Wall's Programming Perl book: concise, authoritative, and not without a bit of humor! And let me tell you, nowhere is humor more difficult than in a computer book, am I right?
Mr. Moock leads us down a path that teaches how to actually write an application in Flash. And you didn't think it was possible! Believe me, I had my doubts too, but the fact that the book applies several design patterns to Flash programming by the end speaks for itself. When you're ready to write mature, object-oriented applications in ActionScript 2.0, you're ready to pick this one up.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Theoretically intense, December 27, 2005
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This review is from: Essential ActionScript 2.0 (Paperback)
Ok, you've read a beginner to intermediate book such as flash bible, unleashed etc. you've read one or more dedicated books on actionscript such as actionscript bible, cook book or flash hacks. You also practiced and built some projects using the knowledge acquainted from previous books. You can cope with the mentality of books on languages such as C++ or Java. You are ready and in need to get into the core of the theory of object oriented programming with actionscript. Only then this book is for you. Do not make a mistake by jumping into this book right away. This book is dry, theory intensive and not to the liking of the most graphically based mentality.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tight language overview at the right depth, July 28, 2004
This review is from: Essential ActionScript 2.0 (Paperback)
At right around five hundred pages this book is just about the right length to cover the core of the Actionscript 2.0 language. It's split into three parts with the vast majority in the first part which covers the language fundamentals; the new typing structure, the new class structures, exceptions, interfaces and the rest of the language enhancements.

Part two, which is only about sixty pages, is where the book touches metal on the Flash player. So be warned, this book does not cover both the language and the Flash player context. It covers the language in depth.

Part three covers design patterns, which personally I think is optional in this context. Though the coverage is restricted to the most commonly used design patterns; observer, singleton, model-view-controller, and delegation. And these all have their uses in the Flash client coding context.

The majority of the book is solid, tight introduction to the entire language of Actionscript 2.0, not just the new features. I gave the book four stars instead of five because of the limited emphasis on reference materials, and the minor diversions into the Flash Player environment, which wasn't too bad, and the patterns stuff, which while it was well done, was strictly optional.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good coverage of AS2.0 but leaves out data connectivity, October 22, 2004
By 
dwarch (Denver, CO USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Essential ActionScript 2.0 (Paperback)
Colin Moock is extremely talented in all areas of Flash, and object oriented programming.

In general, this is book has very good ceverage of actionscript best practices, when implementing an application that uses the AS2.0 class framework. That is what gets the 3 stars. Now the missing part. I include myself in the 99.9% of all Flash MX 2004 developers that are building Rich Internet Applications. Rich Internet Applications need to connect to and update data, whether using Flash Remoting, Web Services, or both. This book gives no coverage to data connectivity using the runtime Actionscript 2.0 classes. Although you can accomplish this in the authoring environment, this has a negative effect on runtime performance, as well as not adhearing to the MVC design approach that object oriented programming promotes. There are currently no books that cover the data connectivity classes in AS2.0, a fact I find to be truely unbelievable.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have book for developers, but not designers, June 7, 2005
This review is from: Essential ActionScript 2.0 (Paperback)
There are certainly enough reviews of this book to give you a good sense of the quality content that Moock is known for. I wanted to simply offer an opinion regarding who this book is for, as opposed to simply praising the content.

After reading the book, I feel empowered. But I'm not like every other Flash person out there. So lets look at who is using Flash, and what this book means to them. Generally speaking there are Flash Designers, and Flash Developers. Designers come from a graphic arts background, and are often familiar with timelines, tweening, keyframing, and other aspects of animated design. Developers have an interest in these things, but are more focused on building rich applications that require hundreds or perhaps thousands of lines of ActionScript code.

This book is for the novice developer, or the designer who wants to become a developer. Moock smartly points out that Object Oriented Programming is not always neccesary for all Flash projects. Therefore, this book is not neccesary for the Designer who wants to build Flash applications which are predominantly animation and graphics. But once the designer finds that they are writing so much ActionScript that it's tough to keep track of it all, I think its time to get this book and become a developer.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it's essential if you want to program flash, September 8, 2006
By 
Erik Hansen (Portland, Oregon) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Essential ActionScript 2.0 (Paperback)
since actionscript 3.0 has hit the scene in flex 2.0 and flash 9 is right around the corner, i'm slightly hesitant to recommend this book today (september 2006). BUT, the book is still great and if you are serious about programming in flash, i would say that it's essential material to learn. it's not a reference (although there is a small reference in the book) and it's not about how to program animation or do "cool" things in flash. it's about how to create custom classes and how to do it properly using best practices in flash. that's pretty much it. even as AS 3.0 crawls onto the scene, this book still gives a solid foundation and, from what i know about AS 3.0 so far, nothing you learn here will hinder you as you eventually move on to AS 3.0. the next version of actionscript will simply build upon what AS 2.0 has done. if you are still writing classes the old fashioned AS 1.0 way and feel like it's time to move forward, buy this book. if you've never written classes before, in any language, this book will show you how and provide a great foundation in doing so.

this book is not for actionscript novices, however. there are a lot of code samples and moock doesn't describe what the code is doing, apart from class-specific issues. so if you don't know what a "for loop" is, get "actionscript for flash mx - the definitive guide" first.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars OOP and Actionscript 2.0, October 30, 2005
This review is from: Essential ActionScript 2.0 (Paperback)
First of all, Colin makes this book an extension for his exploration of Flash Programming after his book ActionScript for Flash MX The Definitive Guide, which explain the ActionScript Fundamentals but Essential ActionScript 2.0 focuses almost exclusively on the Object-Oriented Programming aspects (in) ActionScript.

The book is divided to three main sections:-

1. Part I: The ActionsScript 2.0 language: discusses the theory of OOP in general, and itsimplementation in Action Script in particular. Colin really is great in clarifying the concepts in a simple manner with examples.

2. Part II: Application Development: discusses the concepts for the practical application, which is covered in the first section with examples describe the process of designing and deploying and object-oriented application.

3. Part II: Design Pattern Examples: Colin means by that how to apply OOP strategies to a many approaches to various programming situations in Macromedia Flash.

· New to OOP Programmers will learn the basics and how to apply it.

· Familiar with OOP Programmers will gain experience with Flash-based OOP.

· Experienced Flash developers and programmers coming from other languages will enjoy the deep coverage and expertise in Essential ActionScript 2.0.

Finally and in sum, this book reviews the Object-Oriented definite structures in ActionScript 2.0 realistically to get benefit from applying these concepts through the abstract theory and the practical tips.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Review of Essential ActionScript 2, July 12, 2005
By 
G. Roush (Des Moines, IA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Essential ActionScript 2.0 (Paperback)
A key to understanding this book is noting that it's title is "Essential ActionScript 2," not "ActionScript 2: The Definitive Guide." If you're looking for a complete treatment of the language, look elsewhere. If, however, you have a good working knowledge of ActionScript 1 (AS1) and are considering a move to ActionScript 2 (AS2), then get this book.

Also note that the title of this book is not "Essential Flash MX 2004." I agree with other reviewers who would have liked to see more coverage of topics such as data connectivity. That said, I like how the author kept his focus on the ActionScript language. Many topics, such as the new components, have much more to do with updates to the Flash Player than to the scripting language. They are certainly related, but a developer can utilize most of the new components without writing a single line of ActionScript, and can realize the benefits of AS2 without ever using one of the new components. A discussion of these components would have been welcome, but I can see why he left them out. This book is primarily about understanding and using AS2.

To say that this book covers the "essentials" does not mean that this is a primer on the ActionScript language, nor that it is written for beginners. The author's explanations often draw on comparisons to AS1 and other languages, especially Java. If you are unfamiliar with AS1 or Java, you will probably find such explanations less than satisfying. If, however, you are at least somewhat familiar with these other languages, you will find most of these explanations interesting and informative.

Among the features I found most useful in this book were the discussion about new features and benefits of AS2, especially with regards to continuing to develop for Flash Player 6. It answers very well the questions of why I would want to switch to AS2 and when I can use it. His examples do a good job of demonstrating new features of the language and how AS2 opens the door to more functional Object-Oriented Programming using external class files. He does an excellent job of pointing out not just what to do and how to do it, but _why_ you should care or take the extra time to do it. He demonstrates, for example, how classes and datatyping can take some of the headache out of Flash debugging.

The best thing I can say about the book is that I was able to apply it immediately to my code, which I suppose is really the only thing that matters. The book answered my practical questions about switching and I was able to begin using AS2 immediately and know why I was doing it. AS2 has its problems as a language, but if you develop for Flash you need to know it and use it. If you need to know and use AS2, I would definitely recommend adding this title to your library.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great tutorial on ActionScript and object orientation, October 29, 2006
This review is from: Essential ActionScript 2.0 (Paperback)
ActionScript 3.0 is now released, but the author is yet to update his classic book on the subject of ActionScript for this new version. Thus, I still highly recommend this book, since it covers ground not found in other books on the subject and I find it to be an outstanding tutorial on object-oriented programming as well as a precise tutorial on ActionScript. Keep in mind, though, that the author's version of this book for ActionScript 3.0 is due out in June 2007. So, if you don't need to know this material before next summer, you might want to wait on your purchase. I review this book in the context of its table of contents.

Part I: The ActionScript Language

Chapter 1. ActionScript 2.0 Overview

Starts with a quick summary of ActionScript 2.0's core features and Flash Player 7's new capabilities. If you have an ActionScript 1.0 background, the summary will give you a general sense of what's changed in the language. If, on the other hand, you're completely new to Flash or to ActionScript, you may want to skip directly to Chapter 2.

Chapter 2. Object-Oriented ActionScript

Ironically, Flash users who are new to object-oriented programming (OOP) are often familiar with many object-oriented concepts without knowing their formal names. This chapter demystifies some of the terminology and brings newer programmers up to speed on key OOP concepts. It also serves as a high-level overview of OOP in ActionScript for experienced programmers who are making their first foray into Flash development.

Chapter 3. Datatypes and Type Checking

ActionScript 2.0 defines a wide variety of datatypes. Some datatypes are native to the language itself (e.g., String, Number, and Boolean). Others are included in the Flash Player and are available throughout all Flash movies (e.g., Color, Date, and TextField). Still other datatypes are defined by components that can be added individually to Flash movies (e.g., List, RadioButton, and ScrollPane). This chapter covers all of that.

Chapter 4. Classes

This chapter covers the syntax and theory behind classes in ActionScript 2.0 and assumes a prior basic understanding of the concepts discussed in Chapter 2. Classes are the foundational structure of all object-oriented programs, making them arguably the most important aspect of OOP. As such, classes are predictably intricate. This chapter is correspondingly lengthy and detailed but, even so, newer programmers can use it to learn the basics of creating and using classes.

Chapter 5. Authoring an ActionScript 2.0 Class

Chapter 4 covered the general anatomy of ActionScript 2.0 classes. In this chapter that theory is put into practice by authoring a real-world ActionScript 2.0 class named ImageViewer. The ImageViewer class creates an on-screen rectangular region for displaying a loaded JPEG image. The chapter covers designing and coding the class itself, as well as using it in a Flash document.

Chapter 6. Inheritance

In OOP, inheritance is a formal relationship between two or more classes, wherein one class borrows (or inherits) the property and method definitions of another class. In the practical, technical sense, inheritance simply lets one class make use of the code in another class. This chapter covers the theory of inheritance as practiced in ActionScript.

Chapter 7. Authoring an ActionScript 2.0 Subclass

In the preceding chapter, the principles of inheritance in ActionScript 2.0 were covered. In this chapter, an applied inheritance example, ImageViewerDeluxe, is introduced. The ImageViewerDeluxe class is a subclass of the ImageViewer class that was created in Chapter 5.

Chapter 8. Interfaces

An interface is an ActionScript 2.0 language construct used to define a new datatype, much as a class defines a datatype. However, whereas a class both defines a datatype and provides the implementation for it, an interface defines a datatype in abstract terms only; an interface provides no implementation for the datatype.

Chapter 9. Packages

A package is a unique place to put a group of classes, much as a directory on your hard drive is a unique place to put a group of files.

Chapter 10. Exceptions

This chapter covers ActionScript's implementation of handling "when bad things happen". In a regular programming language, this might be when a mathematical calculation results in division by zero.

Part II: Application Development

Chapter 11. An OOP Application Framework

Flash is notoriously open-ended. If there are several of ways to skin a cat, there are even more ways to build a Flash application. Flash's flexibility can cause confusion for developers, especially when they're building their first application. This chapter's goal is to overcome that confusion by providing one explicit example of how to structure an OOP Flash application. By no means is the example presented here the only way to create a Flash application, but it is certainly a legitimate, reusable approach that makes a good foundation for any OOP project. The example is considered in the abstract sense first, not in reference to any particular application. The framework could be applied to anything from an email application to a video game. In the next chapter, you'll see how to apply this generic framework to a real-world situation--a currency conversion application.

Chapter 12. Using Components with ActionScript 2.0

In Chapter 11, you were shown how to structure a basic OOP application in ActionScript 2.0. In this chapter, you see how to create a GUI application based on that structure.

Chapter 13. MovieClip Subclasses

Chapter 14. Distributing Class Libraries

This chapter discusses various techniques for sharing a group of classes (i.e., a class library) among multiple projects and possibly multiple developers. Flash MX 2004's class distribution features are not particularly refined; by far the easiest way to share classes is to simply distribute the source code. The book covers this easiest case first, before it discusses how to share classes without distributing source code, as you may want to do when selling a professional class library.

Part III: Design Pattern Examples in ActionScript 2.0

Chapter 15. Introduction to Design Patterns

A design pattern is a widely accepted description, with a recommended solution, of a design or architectural problem in object-oriented programming. Given a specific requirement, a design pattern describes, in general terms, how to structure interacting classes to meet that requirement. In other words, the pattern provides a general blueprint to follow when implementing some aspect of a program. This chapter is a general discussion of this idea.

Chapter 16. The Observer Design Pattern

Effectively, the Observer pattern is an all-purpose event-broadcasting mechanism. It lets a class broadcast generic updates to registered listeners, much as you could ask your local movie retailer to call you when a DVD you're interested in arrives. It could be used in anything from a mail application (when a new email is received) to a video game (when an enemy dies).

Chapter 17. The Singleton Design Pattern

Sometimes an application needs only a single instance of a particular class and should not create more than that one instance. For example, an order form might need one FormProcessor. A game might need one LevelManager. A text editor might need one GUIBuilder. Or a chat might need one SocketManager. In each of those applications, creating more than one instance of the FormProcessor, LevelManager, GUIBuilder, or SocketManager classes could cause problems. For example, having multiple SocketManagers might lead to multiple open socket connections, which would waste resources and potentially disrupt communications. To prevent an application from creating more than one instance of a class and to give various parts of the application access to that one instance you should use the Singleton pattern.

Chapter 18. The Model-View-Controller Design Pattern

In the MVC paradigm the user input, the modeling of the external world, and the visual feedback to the user are explicitly separated and handled by three types of object, each specialized for its task. The MVC pattern can be applied to a single user interface element (like a button), to a group of user interface elements (like a control panel), or to an entire application. This chapter uses MVC to create a clock that combines three user interface elements: a digital display, an analog display, and a toolbar for starting, stopping, and resetting the clock.

Chapter 19. The Delegation Event Model

In the delegation event model, an event is propagated from a "Source" object to a "Listener" object by invoking a method on the listener and passing in the instance of the event subclass which defines the event type generated. In this chapter, the concepts of the Observer pattern are applied to a more specific situation: implementing events for a class. The event implementation will follow Java's delegation event model, a general design for event broadcasting.

Part IV: Appendixes

Appendix A. ActionScript 2.0 Language Quick Reference

Appendix B. Differences from ECMAScript Edition 4
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's like being back in math class... (yawn), January 12, 2005
By 
Joe reader (austin, tx United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Essential ActionScript 2.0 (Paperback)
Though you'll be bleary-eyed and exhausted at the conclusion of each lengthy and dense chapter, the book is worth adding to your ActionScripting Library (right next to ActionScripting in Flash MX by Philip Kerman, which is the only ActionScript book I'd give 5 stars)
The only real shortcomings here (other than the lack of data connectivity topics, as another reviewer noted) are the author's occasional forrays into how ActionScript compares to Java (not learning Java so I don't care, thank you), and the occasionally convoluted examples (you can tell someone used to work at Macromedia when they weave four different concepts into one example, obfuscating the topic at hand).

//Also annoying are explanations
//commented out in code samples
//instead of beside the code in
//callout boxes. This makes all
//the scripts four times as long
//as they need to be, and much
//harder to read.

Nonetheless, the author does do a good job dividing the content onto fundamental OOP concepts, and includes a usefule appendix covering methods and events of all the classes (noting the errors in Macromedia's own documentation).

For someone without any programming experience outside of ActionScripting (like myself), this book is challenging to plod through, but doable. But learning ActionScripting is like learning to practice law (instead of learning every statute on the books, lawyers focus on legal prcedents, and research their own issues). That's what this book is like: a primer on advanced ActionScript "precedents". After reading it, you'll have a better general understanding of how solutions can be implemented, but you'll still need to visit the Flash Developer Center and the HELP panel to make applications that really work.
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Essential ActionScript 2.0
Essential ActionScript 2.0 by Colin Moock (Paperback - June 26, 2004)
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