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Learning ActionScript 3.0: A Beginner's Guide Paperback – January 4, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0596527877 ISBN-10: 059652787X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly/Adobe Developer Library; 1st edition (January 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 059652787X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596527877
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #802,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Product Description
In this book, authors Rich Shupe and Zevan Rosser share the knowledge they've gained from their years as multimedia developers/designers and teachers. Learning ActionScript 3.0 gives you a solid foundation in the language of Flash and demonstrates how you can use it for practical, everyday projects. The authors do more than just give you a collection of sample scripts. Written for those of you new to ActionScript 3.0, the book describes how ActionScript and Flash work, giving you a clear look into essential topics such as logic, event handling, displaying content, migrating legacy projects to ActionScript 3.0, classes, and much more. You will learn important techniques through hands-on exercises, and then build on those skills as chapters progress. ActionScript 3.0 represents a significant change for many Flash users, and a steeper learning curve for the uninitiated. This book will help guide you through a variety of scripting scenarios. Rather than relying heavily on prior knowledge of object-oriented programming (OOP), topics are explained in focused examples that originate in the timeline, with optional companion classes for those already comfortable with their use. As chapters progress, the book introduces more and more OOP techniques, allowing you to choose which scripting approach you prefer. Learning ActionScript 3.0 reveals: New ways to harness the power and performance of AS3 Common mistakes that people make with the language Essential coverage of text, sound, video, XML, drawing with code, and more Migration issues from AS1 and AS2 to AS3 Simultaneous development of procedural and object-oriented techniques Tips that go beyond simple script collections, including how toapproach a project and which resources can help you along the way The companion web site contains material for all the exercises in the book, as well as short quizzes to make sure you're up to speed with key concepts. ActionScript 3.0 is a different animal from previous versions, and Learning ActionScript 3.0 teaches everything that web designers, GUI-based Flash developers, and those new to ActionScript need to start using the language.

"The best ActionScript book ever written."
-Lee Brimelow, Creator of The Flash Blog

About the Author

Rich Shupe has been designing and developing with Flash since it was called FutureSplash, and has been teaching ActionScript programming to all levels of students since ActionScript became available.He founded his own training and development company, FMA, in 1995, and has been its president and technical director ever since. He is a recognized authority on several technologies, including Flash, Director and QuickTime. In addition to his production experience, Rich has been teaching professionally for 10 years, and is a full-time faculty member at New York's School of Visual Arts' Computer Art Dept. in both the Bachelors and Masters programs. He has also taught or lectured internationally for such organizations as London's Royal Academy of Art, Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry, New York University, and United Digital Artists, as well as trade shows such as MacWorld, QuickTime Live, FlashForward, Macromedia DevCon, and more. In a previous life, he worked with rock band/performance-art pioneers The Residents.

Zevan Rosser is a freelance designer/programmer/consultant and computer artist. He teaches ActionScript and Flash animation at New York's School of Visual Arts and FMA. When he's not working on commercial projects he works on his personal site,

More About the Author

Rich Shupe has been teaching ActionScript programming to students of all levels since the language became available. He founded his own training and development company, FMA, in 1995. A recognized authority on several technologies, including Flash, Director and QuickTime, Rich is a full-time faculty member at New York's School of Visual Arts' Computer Art Department. His highly acclaimed "Learning ActionScript 3.0" has been called "The best book on ActionScript ever written" by evangelist and Flash community leader Lee Brimelow.

Customer Reviews

It is easy to follow and steps you through the language in a very logical and easy to read and understand way.
A. Redman
All in all, I would highly recommend Learning ActionScript 3 as a great companion book for anyone looking to get started programming with ActionScript 3.
Alexander C. Baker
And as long as I'm ranting (I just threw the book down to come and write this), the authors often put unnecessary lines into the code.
Rob T

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

403 of 427 people found the following review helpful By Rob T VINE VOICE on April 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
First, please note that many of the 5-star reviews are written by experienced Flash professionals, who already have actionscript expertise -- and that makes them poor judges of how clear this book will be to a beginning audience.

The book is explicitly written for beginners, but the authors often have a poor grasp on what readers know. On one page they start talking about "trapping" events. What does that mean? Who knows?

I have a good math background, so I was able to decipher the math chapter, but it contains explanations like, "A radian is the angle of a circle subtended by an arc along its circumference that is the length of the circle's radius (hence the name, radian)." What's the point of writing a sentence like that? Will it be understood by anyone who doesn't already know what a radian is? Has a math newbie even ever heard the word "subtend"? This casual use of undefined jargon happens in every chapter.

Also, sometimes they're just wrong. They say that a ball moving 4 pixels to the right and 4 pixels down per second will have a velocity of 4 pixels per second in a south southeast direction. No. The Pythagorean theorem (which they explain, badly, in the next section), says the ball will be moving more than 5.6 pixels per second. And the direction is southeast.

The book really is full of typos, and they're not all caught in the errata. The only way to know if the code is correct is to to go the website and download the code being discussed in the book. The files you download will have the correct code (though before you check the code, as you're reading the book you're thinking, "Do I not understand, or is this code wrong?
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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Lou Costello on July 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
I'm a beginner to Flash but not to scripting, programming and graphical applications in general. If you're looking for a true beginners book skip this one. The book states right on the cover that its aimed at "those new to ActionScript, visual learners" Well I've programmed in many languages, and am fluent in all kinds of applications and this book is definitely NOT targeted at a non-programmer or a beginner.

The book immediately jumps to jargon frequently asking the reader to ignore the jargon as it will be explained later. For example the initial chapters are laced with descriptions of "class" but the actual discussion of class does not occur until chapter six. That's a long time to go trying to read pages of class discussion with no clear definition.

The book states clearly that it is not a reference. This means it can avoid creating a strong set of appendices or a good glossary. Don't know a term (which if you're new you won't), don't turn to this book to fill it in. Want a list of possible commands - look elsewhere.

The book claims to be for "visual learners" yet most of the examples do virtually nothing visually. Instead the example are a bunch of esoteric theoretical examples meant to give you the "philosophy" about using a particular command or structure, instead of a commonplace example. When the commonplace examples are given, frequently they're at the end of the chapter and not described - instead "by now you should be able to understand how this code works."

The book does not strongly tie ActionScript to the flash timeline (this will get me flamed). Sure they state often that you now can tie your actions to objects, but if you're a beginner then you need to describe how.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Alexander C. Baker on August 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
I first became interested Learning ActionScript 3 after initially reading a few samples posted on Adobe's website. What I found was an excellent starting point that drove me to finally make the jump from ActionScript 1 and 2. In practice, most books I have read about ActionScript 3 focus on the Flex platform, which is outside of what I'm looking for. Rather, I needed something that focused on developing in the Flash IDE (Flash CS3 as of this review), which is exactly what this book is written for.

I picked it up as supplement material to aid me in programming a large game programming project. Basically, I've referenced this book to understand the key concepts needed for my game, borrowing code samples where needed and applying them to my own project. In practice, it's the application here that really teaches the concept, and I've found that this book is a great starting point as well as reference for grasping these concepts.

The authors have done a great job presenting the material in an easily-readable casual conversation style. Of these discussions, I particularly found their comparisons to the previous versions of the language most satisfying. As AS3 is very different from AS1/2, I appreciate learning what was changed and why.

I can not vouch for the beginner's guide level for this book. I came into this book as an intermediate ActionScript programmer and often found myself skimming over any discussion on the details of some of the programs. For the most part, the code is easy enough to read and get the point, and if I had questions, these were almost always addressed in the discussion. That said, I think this book is ideal for any intermediate programmer looking to make the jump to AS3.
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