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Creating Flash Widgets with Flash CS4 and AS3

I like small, one-project books that don't try to teach everything about a software or programming language but just what you need for that project. However, because of the limited information presented in these books, not every reader will find this type of book useful. I would recommend that you have a working knowledge of ActionScript in order to get the most from this book. That being said, this book will demonstrate the most important tasks for creating an interactive widget in FlashR CS4 and publishing that widget to WidgetboxTM. The widget that you will create is an interactive dancing robot with a scrolling message board above his head.

The author, John Arana, begins by discussing the new features in Flash CS4 that you will be using in the project, including the 3D Rotation tool, the Bone tool and the Motion Editor. Even the novice to Flash will find the step-by-step demonstrations easy to follow. I cannot say the same about the sections of the book that cover the ActionScript code for the project. Assuming his readers have a working knowledge of ActionScript, Arana presents the ActionScript for the widget with only a little explanation as to it purpose. The novice may be lost here.

Arana starts by discussing the decisions he made in the planning stage. Next, you draw the parts of the robot and name the movie clips. Moving on to the Bone tool, you build the "skeleton" and set the IK constraints, which will allow your robot to dance. Then, you create a few dance steps with ActionScript. Lastly, you draw the background and the message board above his head. Adding more advanced ActionScript, you enhance the widget with music, XML and add interactivity so that the user can control the text in the message board and move the robot via the computer mouse. In the last section of the book, Arana discusses how to publish the widget to Widgetbox.

John Arana is a freelance Flash Developer. You can download the project files from this website createflashwidgets.com.

Author: John Arana
Pages: 96
Publisher: Apress
Published: Dec 2008
ISBN-10: 1430215844

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