ActionScript: The Definitive Guide
Mastering Flash Programming
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: May 2001
Pages: 720

Given its ability to deliver high-impact experiences even over low-bandwidth connections, Flash has become the de facto standard for hundreds of thousands of multimedia web developers worldwide.

Flash 5 now includes a new full-fledged programming language called "ActionScript" for controlling animation and multimedia. It's a quantum leap from the bare-bones "Actions" supported in Flash 4, and ActionScript: The Definitive Guide is the first book dedicated entirely to documenting and demonstrating this new language.

ActionScript includes all fundamental programming constructs (variables, loops, conditionals, functions, etc.), and is inextricably fused with Flash's authoring behaviors and animation timelines. Because ActionScript is based heavily on the ECMAScript Language Specification (ECMA-262) and is syntactically nearly identical to JavaScript, Macromedia expects thousands of existing JavaScript programmers to migrate to ActionScript.

This book is divided into three sections.

  • "ActionScript Fundamentals" introduces both programmers and non-programmers to the new language by first describing fundamental programming concepts and then delineating in detail the components, syntax, and usage of ActionScript.
  • "Applied ActionScript Code Depot" shows you how to use common applications, such as processing online forms.
  • "Language Reference" is a concise and detailed reference that makes all ActionScript globals, properties, and objects, including extensive implementation samples, easy to find quickly.

Code samples are also available from the "Code Depot" on the author's web site devoted to Flash developers.

Topics covered in this book include:

  • Step-by-step tutorials of the most common ActionScript behaviors
  • Object-oriented programming in Flash
  • Intelligent interface development
  • Server communication
  • Dynamic content generation
  • Password protection
  • String handling
  • Message boards
  • Basic physics
  • Games

ActionScript: The Definitive Guide is structured so both programmers and non-programmers can learn how to use ActionScript. This book will take you well beyond simple Flash animations so you can create your own enhanced Flash-driven sites.

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5.0

ActionScript: The Definitive Guide Review

By Stephan Haitz

from Undisclosed

Comments about O'Reilly Media ActionScript: The Definitive Guide:

Though I know some things about programming in few languages as C, C++, Java and therefor read some books about coding this book is really one of the best. It has an well organized structure and is convincing by pure competence. It is unavoidable for everyone dealing a little bit more intensive with FLASH. As well the beginner having made his first contacts with FLASH as the more advanced programmer will take there use to get it with actionscript. Compliments.

 
5.0

ActionScript: The Definitive Guide Review

By Minh Luu

from Undisclosed

Comments about O'Reilly Media ActionScript: The Definitive Guide:

Best book on actionscripting so far! Finally you can understand how everything works.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

ActionScript: The Definitive Guide Review

By Layth Barzangi

from Undisclosed

Comments about O'Reilly Media ActionScript: The Definitive Guide:

Expert Mode

I've been working and experimenting with Flash ActionScript as far back as the early days of version 4. Although I am (and will forever remain) a Flash designer in essence, I've always been keen on developing my programming skills and pushing the envelope of what Flash can do as far as possible.

Flash 5 ActionScript was a joy to behold, but with sub-standard documentation from Macromedia and a series of unsatisfactory and mostly egocentric books from many independent writers, I, like all ActionScript warriors, had to rely on scattered online resources, trial and error, and long hours of .FLA dissecting as the best available source of knowledge and training. I'm not saying that it was a waste of time, but certainly not a pretty situation at all.

Enter Colin Moock's ASDG.

Although I was already a long-time frequenter of Moock's site and held much respect for the man's knowledge and approach, I still had doubts about whether that would necessarily warrant a good book author. When ASDG came out, I read all the possible reviews I could find, reviewed my disappointing experience with ActionScript books I've already read, and kept wondering if anyone could attempt the seemingly impossible and succeed.

ASDG arrived at my desk early in the morning four days ago. About 6 hours later, I was seriously wondering if it was worth kicking myself for waiting THIS long before getting it. For once, I'm gonna ask you to blindly believe the hype you see here and everywhere else -- Yes, if you want to save yourself the hassle and become an expert Flash Developer tomorrow instead of "in a year's time", then do honestly get this book now. Get it today - no, this minute.

Not only is ASDG the most comprehensive, complete and unbelievably detailed ActionScript reference on the planet. Its style, tone, approach and structure is so wonderfully thought out, it could well be the first ever technical reference book that could be dubbed "a page turner". Moock attacks the material with huge aplomb and an unwavering sense of seriousness, yet still manages to keep a great sense of humor and throw in those one-liners at just the right time. Where he really triumphs is in his ability to mold a subject of such complicated nature into a clear and simple down-to-earth format, allowing both total beginners and veteran wizards to benefit from it completely and equally. This is truly no easy feat, and Moock pulls it off magnificently.

The scope of this book honestly leaves no ActionScript stone unturned. However, it is not just a better version of Macromedia's ActionScript manuals. ASDG is, above all, a complete course in object oriented programming philosophy and technique. Before giving you a complete language reference in the third chapter, Moock takes his time in the first two chapters and offers readers invaluable advice and recommendations that simply do not exist anywhere else in ActionScript literature. His goal is not just to expose the language in its entirety, but to also help you develop a highly professional and truly effective programming style. His concepts about code centralization, modularity, optimization and function organization are priceless, and seldom does one come across such information, let alone the fact that it exist within the cover of a single book. All this is presented with a generous amount of example code, which itself is so extensively commented, you'd rarely (if ever) get stuck figuring out what is going on. In fact, the code comments are so clear, you get the feeling that Moock's goal was to make your mind process the code as fast as the ActionScript interpreter itself.

All in all, this is a book that redefines perfection. Moock's passion for the subject is astronomical, yet equally astronomical is his modesty, and his will to hold nothing back and hand over the entirety of his ActionScript experience to the reader. The wealth of his knowledge is amazing, but that is beautifully complemented by his incredible skill as a teacher. This makes this book not just a successful technical reference, but also a role model for technical writers everywhere. The end result is that his passion traverses over to you with consummate ease, and no matter what your skill level in ActionScript is, you will find information in this book that will propel you forward faster than you ever thought possible.

Get ASDG, fire up Flash, open up the Actions window, and prepare to bid a final farewell to Normal Mode.

 
5.0

ActionScript: The Definitive Guide Review

By Jesse Seaver

from Undisclosed

Comments about O'Reilly Media ActionScript: The Definitive Guide:

Wow, I have been looking for an actionscript book like this. Figured I would have to write one myself before it even came out. Thanks Colin and Oreilly!

One thing though, that I found so far:

Page 85, regarding the charAt() function, a line of code says:

country.charAT(2) ; // returns "n", the third charachter,

when in fact u would fall at the index of (2)...

The author, Colin Moock, replies: The reader's report is incorrect. country is the name of the variable, not the string that we're performing charAt() on. The string is "Canada", and its third letter (at an index of 2) is indeed "n".

 
5.0

ActionScript: The Definitive Guide Review

By John Attebury

from Undisclosed

Comments about O'Reilly Media ActionScript: The Definitive Guide:

ActionScript: The Definitive Guide is one of the best computer books ever written and is certainly the best flash book-period.

 
5.0

ActionScript: The Definitive Guide Review

By eA. Fulton

from Undisclosed

Comments about O'Reilly Media ActionScript: The Definitive Guide:

If you use Flash Actionscript for anything serious, this is THE book to buy. This book covers topics in-serious-depth, that other books only graze, or worse, neglect to cover at all. Not just a collectionof "tips and tricks", but more like a comprehensive guide that will allow you to come up with "tips and tricks" all on your own. One of the best programming books I have ever read.

 
5.0

ActionScript: The Definitive Guide Review

By Suan Zhu

from Undisclosed

Comments about O'Reilly Media ActionScript: The Definitive Guide:

This is a Great Book, I studied ActionScripts And C for only a month, but I was not really familiar with sytanxes and some specific commands until I received this books two days ago. But this explained everything! By using arrays and string functions I was able to write a 450 lines of scripts for an A.I. character on flash... You can do anything with this book. A must buy for anyone!!

 
4.0

ActionScript: The Definitive Guide Review

By Ross

from Undisclosed

Comments about O'Reilly Media ActionScript: The Definitive Guide:

HI,

ASDG has been a revelation for a beginner in scripting who also thoroughly enjoyed the author's right-on style and the quality of the whole production.

I wish that it laid out the "grammar" of programming language in one place but that is a minor niggle. It's just an excuse to read it through all over again!

Thank you O'R and Colin for making AS a snap!

Ross

 
5.0

ActionScript: The Definitive Guide Review

By Witherspoon

from Undisclosed

Comments about O'Reilly Media ActionScript: The Definitive Guide:

Colin,

You rock! This book had what I needed. Now, are you going to write the Flash manuals from here on out?

 
5.0

ActionScript: The Definitive Guide Review

By Sean

from Undisclosed

Comments about O'Reilly Media ActionScript: The Definitive Guide:

I purchased another Flash book with some limited

AS information which I returned knowing that this book

would be THE book when it came out.

This book surpasses even these expectations. I don't

have a programming background and when I opened the

book, I did so thinking I had a hard road ahead of me.

It wasn't the case.

I can see I will be far ahead when I finish this very

enjoyable read.

You will learn from and enjoy this extremely well written

book.

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