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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than an Actionscript introduction!, September 20, 2006
This review is from: Foundation ActionScript for Flash 8 (Paperback)
Although this book is ostensibly a "beginner" book on Flash Actionscript (no previous programming experience necessary), I got more out of this book than you can imagine, and I'm not done with it yet. I've already got a few favorite pages that I come back to again and again.

What struck me right off the bat was that this book wasn't code-heavy, but had much more in the way of explanations than most books, which was exactly what I have been seeking for a long time now. Then, as I got into it, I realized this book was changing my whole way of thinking about coding with Flash Actionscript, and it's because of their heavy stress on "modular" coding techniques. The authors call it "black box" programming and making "building blocks" of code. It's really encapsulation. Whatever you want to call it, they back it up with solid examples. The demonstration of the apply() method on pages 360 and 361 was alone worth the price of the book!

On pages 308 and 309, there's an example of making a movie clip containing video controls that you can just drag and drop into any movie, and bingo! you've got a set of controls for that movie (play, stop, pause, fastforward, rewind). Again, the idea is that if you build something once, you should be able to reuse it, with minor tweaking here and there.

Chapter 10, Games & Sprites, is really cool! There's a fully functioning "zapper" arcade-type video game with a complete explanation of the rationale behind how something like that is designed and coded, and what variables should be global, which ones belong on _root, and which should stay local to each object (All of the examples in the book can be downloaded from the publisher's website, BTW. In fact, you can download the examples even if you haven't yet bought the book).

Although a lot of the stuff in the earlier chapters is very basic, taking you through stuff like variables, arrays, loops, conditionals, etc, the stress on modularity is woven throughout. The main idea that you come away with (certainly the central idea of the book) is that it's worth the time it takes to design and plan something modularly. Even though at first it does take longer, in the end you wind up with something that's WAY easier to modify.

Now, I say all that from my own perspective, and I'm probably an intermediate level programmer. So maybe the stuff I'm saying about this book and it's stress on modularity would be old hat to a pro. I don't know. Then again, I've got about 8 books on Actionscript, each one having stuff unique to itself, and this one has things in it that just aren't to be found in the others.

All through the book, there's also an ongoing project for building a modular Flash website. I haven't gotten into working along with that yet, but I'm sure I will eventually (I've had the book about a month). In any case, they add a little more to the project at the end of each chapter, so that it progresses into more advanced stuff at about the same pace as the rest of the book.

There's a basic introduction to classes and oop in the last chapter. It should be understood that it's not extensive, and that's not the focus of this book anyway. It does tie in with the stress on modularity, and there's good explanations of when and how you might use classes in your programming. But if want material specifically about classes, there are other books that make that their focus.

To sum up: I would recommend this book for beginner to intermediate programmers. Although much of the stuff in the earlier chapters will probably be a rehash of what you already know, the stress on modularity is there from the beginning, and there is good material throughout. If you've heard about modular code and code reuse, but never really seen good examples of it, open this book to some of the pages I mentioned above (308, 356, 360, 361, 364) and see if any of it registers an "aha" moment. Also, if you're looking for a bit less code and lot more explanation about techniques, get this book.

I also recommend "Foundation Actionscript Animation: Making Things Move" by Keith Peters, from the same publisher.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book for Beginner on up ...., December 5, 2006
This review is from: Foundation ActionScript for Flash 8 (Paperback)
I am a current animation student in California and Flash is one of the tools we are using. While I have developed some proficiency animating in Flash, the scripting tends to turn my brain to mush after a while.

I picked up Foundation Flash 8 to learn some of the basics and have been using Foundation Actionscript for Flash 8 to gradually explore scripting. I am not a programmer but got through the first few chapters easy enough. The second half of the book is somewhat tougher but but filled with interesting chapters -especially the game chapter (chapter 10).

I haven't quite cleared the hurdle of the later chapters, find them more challenging, but I keep the book on my desk to pick at stuff. It is well written and comprehensive. From my perspective as a non-programming 'art head' I'd say it covers beginner to advanced level topics by the end of the book; that's pretty cool because many books seem to be simple rehashings of the product manuals designed to part you from $40-$50 while giving you no new info.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A diamond amongst coal., December 1, 2006
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This review is from: Foundation ActionScript for Flash 8 (Paperback)
As an old UNIX hack I have read quite a few programming manuals, from the original C (Kerninghan & Richie - when it was new!), to the present. Very few, if any, (including the O'Reilly series), have come close to being so informative, easy to read, and enjoyable as the 'ActionScript for Flash 8' book. I consider myself a poor programmer partly because I never found 'print Hello World!' that interesting. In any event, this book has taken me from rank Actionscript beginner to (dare I say it...) semi-advanced! Basically, cannot recommend it highly enough! For me, I enjoy the graphical nature of Actionscript and I am glad I finally found the right book to take me there. I think beginners and experienced Object-Oriented types will get a lot or something from it. Thanks Friends of ED!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Beginner ActionScript Guide, March 19, 2007
This review is from: Foundation ActionScript for Flash 8 (Paperback)
I was completely foreign to ActionScript before picking up this book. I had previously read one book on understanding the basic flash interface (i.e. using the drawing/tweening tools), but this was my first crack at ActionScript. Getting through this book was very easy. Each chapter is setup in a way that explains a specific topic, runs you through a few examples using what you just learned, and then continues on with an ongoing website project that you develop throughout the book.

Strengths: Writing is clear and concise, and doesn't feel like a programmer wrote the book. The context is a nice mix of theory and hands on practice to keep you interested while your learning some of the more complex topics. The teaching method looks to provide you with skills that you can apply and expand upon quickly, as opposed to just learning some commands and then throwing you out into the wild. The book projects are very well constructed and explained.

Weaknesses: Some of the later chapters advance quickly. I blew through the first 350 pages, but after that had to significantly slow down to fully understand each topic. I also noticed that one or two of the online downloads are missing files for the book project. These are not neccesary if you are writing everything from scratch (correctly), but it did sometimes get in the way of comparing my solutions to the books.

Overall I have been extremely satisfied with this book, and will most likely buy another Foundation guide.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well structured, No boring Jargon and Everything you need in one book., May 12, 2007
By 
Vlado Krempl (Sydney, AUSTRALIA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Foundation ActionScript for Flash 8 (Paperback)
I am new to actionscript, have watched a few Total Training dvd's, but they don't really go into indepth actionscript. Unless you buy all the dvd's which are expensive.

This book was great. And has given my mind more of an understanding, especially of the process, of programming.

I'm more a graphic designer, who is getting into web design, so if I can go from first page through to the end in 3 weeks and juggle a screaming 2yr old at the same time.....well then anyone can.( I am a stay at home dad!....by the way)

Good to keep for reference. Buy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great ActionScript Book By Designers For Designers, July 24, 2007
This review is from: Foundation ActionScript for Flash 8 (Paperback)
This is a great book for the designer interested in getting deeper into Flash through ActionScript 2.0. Primarily centered around web-based projects, with the occasional game project, Sham et al. lead the reader through basic programming fundamentals from a designer perspective. The reader is assumed to be mildly frightened by looking at code, but still interested in learing it. I can sympathize that many designers could be in this boat.

The language of the book is very non-technical and it's presented in a light-hearted manner to ease you into some difficult concepts. The authors do a great job of tricking you into getting excited about programming. So if you're a web designer who has always been impressed by what programmers can do, but were a little uncomfortable trying to just jump in on your own, this is THE book for you.

I have two warnings and one critique.

The first warning is that this is a Flash 8 book - hence ActionScript 2.0. The second warning is that almost all the projects in the book are web-based instead of game-based. Now it's Flash, so it kind of comes with the territory, and there is a full chapter devoted to making a game. However, the perfect book for me would be this exact same book, but centered almost completely around game-based projects. If you're strictly looking for that, this book isn't for you. I don't care as much, and there's still a lot to learn, so I don't regret purchasing the book.

My critique is regarding the book-long project where you make a website that uses ActionScript (the Futuremedia site). It's a case study where you can apply some of what you've learned to a "real" project. My problem with it is that you don't seem to learn a whole lot about ActionScripting by going through it. The authors (or whichever individual wrote the project) seem to be really proud of this project - proud in the sense that they like themselves for it - and you can tell by going throug it. Plus, its more content-oriented. There's much more to learn from everything else, so I'm just skipping the project and skimming over it whenever it's time to work on it a little (which isn't a whole lot anyway).

Overall, it's a great book so far (I'm about 1/3 done) and I'd recommend it to anyone who's new to programming and wants to learn it through ActionScript 2.0. Sham has an awesome ability to explain programming to a designer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Know Nothing? This is the one for you, March 16, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Foundation ActionScript for Flash 8 (Paperback)
I am not too far into this book, but so far it is everything i had hoped for. I have been using Flash for 6 years but never ventured into ActionScript.
This book explains things well for the no-ActionScript-knowledge user.

Great book and at $9 (80% off) when i got it, i would have to have been raving mad not to buy it.

Good One Amazon :))
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5.0 out of 5 stars Foundation ActionScript for Flash 8, April 8, 2014
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This review is from: Foundation ActionScript for Flash 8 (Paperback)
Love the fact that my friend loves it. Giving it a 5 star because he uses it and understands it; it is Greek to me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Best...AS2 Book...Ever!, July 31, 2011
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This review is from: Foundation ActionScript for Flash 8 (Paperback)
I love Actionscript, but I always have trouble understanding it for some reason. This book is so accessible and well-written! It doesn't have excess fluff or too many technical terms.

The examples are easy to understand and most tutorials and lessons are laid out with a nice flow. Each subsequent chapter builds on previous chapters. This book really helped me understand AS2.

It's not perfect, though. There are great hints and tips scattered throughout the pages, but not mentioned in the index. If you don't take note of where those tips are, you'll have a hard time finding them when you need them.

Overall, I definitely recommend this book to intermediate AS2 programmers.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Foundation ActionScript for Flash 8, November 13, 2006
This review is from: Foundation ActionScript for Flash 8 (Paperback)
This book cover many of very important topics and approaches and therefore 4 stars but sometime specially after 4th chapter is hard to follow even for the intermediate level of Action Script knowledge.
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Foundation ActionScript for Flash 8
Foundation ActionScript for Flash 8 by David Powers (Paperback - June 8, 2007)
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