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Foundation ActionScript 3.0 with Flash CS3 and Flex 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1590598153
ISBN-10: 1590598156
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sean McSharry has been a Flash developer and designer since 1999 (Flash 3). He runs the popular Flashcoder blog (Flashcoder.net/blog). He has consulted in many business sectors from oil exploration to banking to Internet protocol television (IPTV), for major industry leaders such as Microsoft and Adobe Consulting. He is an Adobe Certified Flash Developer and Designer and has worked on everything from banners to massive rich Internet applications. He has worked in Europe and America and is the director of creative research and development for AKQA in New York. He uses the entire Flash platform in his development (Flash, ActionScript, Flash Lite, Flash Media Server, etc.). He is a pre-release tester for many Adobe products and is actively involved in the Flash community. He strongly believes that Flash developers and designers should be as comfortable with and passionate about code as they are about aesthetics and design. "Flash allows you to bring everything together in one development environment for many platforms. So to produce the best work you need to be skilled in coding, design, video, audio, stills production, etc. Even if you don't actually do them, you have to have a good understanding of them all if you want to produce the best work."

After studying theatre in London, then working for several years as an actor in the U.S., Todd Yard was introduced to Flash in 2000 and was quickly taken by how it allowed for both stunning creativity and programmatic logic application a truly left-brain, right brain approach to production and has not looked back. He now freelances as a Flash developer in New York City, creating both silly animations and utilitarian applications. His personal work and experimentation can be found at his website, 27Bobs.com.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 450 pages
  • Publisher: friendsofED; 1 edition (December 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590598156
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590598153
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,428,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I find that one of the hardest things about picking up a tech book is determining the book's target audience, i.e. what do the authors assume you already know? Personally, I've been a programmer for the last 10 years and have been tasked with learning ActionScript as part of a new project. When I started looking at books on the subject, I couldn't find very many AS books that were aimed at developers only without going to a reference manual. I suppose this is a function of AS being intimately related to Flash, but that's just where I was coming from. In the end, I picked up this book because it covered AS and Flex, which I am also picking up.

Before I say anything else, its important to realize that ActionScript 3.0 has a massive API, so it will be almost impossible to do lots of work with it without using a language reference. Anyone learning AS should be prepared for this.

Overall the book is a good one. It does a very solid introduction of the language, including a good overview of object-oriented programming. Maybe it was because I already understood 90% of the concepts, but I found most of AS pretty easy to pickup. Most of the examples are from Flash, which makes it a tad confusing at times if you don't already know Flash. Most of them are not that difficult, so its not insurmountable, however. I had to ask a few questions of some friends who are flash guys to make a few things make sense, but thats not the end of the world. Flex is really only touched on at the end of the book, and its Flex 2 at that.

So, here's my .02 on the target audience issue I mentioned. I would recommend this book to any Flash developer looking to learn ActionScript, or to a programmer from some other OO language (like Java) that knows some Flash and wants to learn AS.
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Format: Paperback
Boy I was loving this book until chapter 7.

The Video project in that chapter is pretty complex, although the author (Sean McSharry - author of Chaps 7 & 8) keeps telling you what a simple example it is. Sadly, in chapter 7 there are several typos and some that I *think* are typos but can't be sure of. The downloaded source didn't work either. I switched the publish settings from 'Adobe AIR Player' to 'Flash Player 9' and that worked while I was at work. However, my files that I've created while at home (my 2nd attempt at getting this to work)are not responding to the same fix. I've spent hours looking at the book and my code and his source with no luck. There is a book site with an errata, but there isn't really anything there that helps with this issue.

That's the bad news. The good news is that up until that chapter, I was following everything and everything worked as it was presented in the book.

That said, if you want to pick this book ONLY to gain understanding of the capabilities of Video in AS 3 (I don't know why you would...maybe you like to throw money away at a whole book for one chapter, what do I know?)- I'd skip this and find some good tutorials online on the subject.

I'm in this book till the end as I'm using it to prepare for my Flash CS3 cert and I feel like, in general, it's helping me. I also tore through Friends of Ed's Foundation Actionscript for Flash 8.

Bottom Line: Flawed but worth the money if you want to put the effort into it.
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Format: Paperback
Like most of the friends of ED books on Flash and ActionScript, this book by Steve Webster, Todd Yard and Sean McSharry is a good book for the novice. Most beginner's books on ActionScript cover just the basics such as variables, loops and functions and don't go much further. However in this book, the authors go one step further and help the readers to extend their ActionScript skills for both Flash and Flex.

The authors first discuss the development process for building an ActionScript project and dissect a simple bouncing ball example. The next chapter covers ActionScript fundamentals including variables, data types and constants. As you move on to objects, classes, inheritance and other aspects of OOP, you take a look at a sample iPod project.

The most interesting topics for me are the visual aspects of Flash. The authors cover everything from the Display list to movie playback. But they don't stop there. Next, they delve into the Graphics class and the drawing API. As you build a drawing application, you learn the essentials such as how to use ActionScript to draw line strokes and shape fills.

Next, you learn the aspects necessary for building interactivity in Flash including events, listeners and the event flow. You apply this knowledge of event handling to build a video player and along the way learn about displaying and controlling video in Flash. Moving on to audio, you build an MP3 audio player.

One of the most important aspects of any programming language is the ability to streamline a project or projects with reusable code. In Flash, that means components. The authors cover components starting with building a framework for UI and video components to skinning the finished components.
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Foundation ActionScript 3.0 with Flash CS3 and Flex
This item: Foundation ActionScript 3.0 with Flash CS3 and Flex
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