Author: Rich Shupe & Zevan Rosser
Publisher: O'Reilly 2010
Aimed at: Non-programming Flash designers
Pros: Shows how ActionScript can be used in Flash design
Cons: A steep learning curve
Reviewed by: David Conrad
The first thing to know is that the book concentrates on using ActionScript with Flash and Flash Professional CS3/CS4 in particular.
It also doesn't attempt to teach object oriented programming or indeed any advanced programming concepts. This is reasonable as there are other books that take the reader into these territories.
The first chapter is a general introduction but is spoiled a bit by a silly mistake in the very first diagram that could leave beginners wondering if they really understand. The example, is a simple Hello World which does the job of getting the user started. It is assumed that the reader already has Flash Professional installed.
Part II of the book is task oriented and shows how ActionScript can be used. There are chapters on properties, methods and events, the display list, timeline control, OPP,. Motion, drawing with vectors and drawing with pixels. Most of the examples are fairly short and easy to understand. The emphasis is on graphics and special effects rather than creating full applications, but this fits in with the book's overall remit.
Part III is on nothing but text. You might be surprised at this but text is a big topic as it includes interworking with HTML and CSS. Part IV is on sound and video and Part V is on input/output.
This isn't a good book if you can program and want to discover how to use ActionScript in a Flash environment. The actual introduction to ActionScript the language is over in about a single chapter and the rest of the book is on interaction with other Flash objects and facilities. If you are a programmer, however, you might want to look at the bigger picture in terms of Flash/Flex/AIR etc and consider building complete applications. If you are the stated audience for the book, i.e. non-programming Flash designers, then you are most likely going to have a tough time picking up the basics of programming from this book. Once you have, however, it will tell you how to do the sort of thing that you want to do.