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ActionScript 3.0 for Adobe Flash CS3 Professional by Todd Perkins

The Hands On Training (HOT) books from and Peachpit Press has been one of my favorite series for learning new software and keeping up-to-date with new releases of my favorite software. This series seems to continually create the right mix of book and supporting content including exercises and training videos. As Flash gets more robust, this teaching challenge gets more complicated. However, ActionScript 3.0 for Adobe Flash CS3 Professional by Todd Perkins will not disappoint you.

With the release of FlashR CS3, Flash programmers woke up to the "brave new world" of ActionScript 3.0. You will notice some of your favorite built-in coding features are not supported but some new features make up for the loss. This book starts out, as you would expect, discussing what is new in 3.0 and the major differences between the old and new versions. Then, Perkins begins to build a solid foundation for ActionScript 3.0. Since the book is for both the experienced Flash programmer and those just getting started coding ActionScript, the author covers all of the programming basics such as variables, functions and arrays.

Learning programming for animation and interactivity can be overwhelming. Therefore, Perkins uses a working example which he carries over several chapters. I liked this very much. Because Flash is such a robust product, it is necessary to use partially completed working examples to teach the basic concepts. Using the same example over several chapters helps to maintain continuity as Perkins introduces event handling and how to write code that listens and responds to many events such as mouse clicks, frames and timer events.

Classes are next. Yes, ActionScript 3.0 is an Object Oriented Programming language and has some very nice prebuilt classes that will speed up your programming. Perkins shows how to extend these classes as well as write your own custom classes. He discusses how to add class objects to the Flash timeline and how to work with class paths, external .as files and public/private classes.

Things get a little more interactive with the addition of conditional, compound conditional and loop statements. Next, you go back to school and learn some math. Perkins makes this almost painless when he discusses basic math programming tasks such as generating random numbers. When he adds text and arrays, you are ready to create a word game which teaches you how to dynamically create and style text fields and load external text.

At this point, Perkins starts to tie everything together while creating a more advanced game. He starts with a storyboard to plan the application's decision-making process and the flow of the game. He teaches how to write code that will detect and respond to correct and incorrect answers and determine when to reset or declare a winner.

Todd Perkins is an AdobeR Certified Instructor and the author of several books on Flash and web development including Adobe Flash CS3 Professional: Hands-On-Training and ActionScript 3.0 in Flash CS3 Professional Essential Training.

Author: Todd Perkins
ISBN: 0321293908
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Book and Cdr
376 pages
Published: Sept 2007

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