ActionScript 3.0 Cookbook
Author: Joey Lott

Publisher: Adobe Dev Library, 2006
Pages: 586
ISBN: 978-0596526955
Aimed at: Beginners in Flash/Flex environment
Rating: 5
Pros: Collection of simple recipes
Cons: Presensted without enough explanation
Reviewed by: David Conrad

This is a cookbook of recipes for Actionscript 3.0 projects begin developed in FlexBuilder 2 (although they would work fine in Flex/FlashBuilder 3/4). The point is that Actionscript 3.0 is still the current version. However, there are aspects of the book that are made dated by the use of Flex 3 and some of the tasks could do with up-dating to take account of the new facilities.

If you are just looking for a book to show you how to add some effects to an animation created using CS4 then this isn't for you. It also assumes that you know a little programming but from the level of some of the recipes not too much. The beginner also needs to beware - there are quite a few typographic errors, some of which are confusing enough to make you think that you don't understand the examples.

This isn't a book for the advanced programmer unless they are converting from another language or system and want to see how some very easy things are done in Actionscript. Indeed the first set of recipes, ActionScript Basics, are so basic that they read like an attempt to introduce the language. Of course the cookbook approach isn't the best way to find out how to return a result in a method say.

From this very basic start we move on to Custom Classes, the Runtime Environment, Numbers and Math, Arrays, the Display List, Drawing and Masking, Bitmaps, Text, Filters and Transforms, Programmatic Animation, Strings, Regular Expressions, and Dates and Times. Many of these recipes are simply about how to use the language and if you know Javascript, which Actionscript is based on, you will already know most of this material.

Then the book moves on to consider topics which are more Flash-oriented and this is where is starts to become more useful to the programmer converting from another language: Sound, Video, Storing Persistent Data, Communicating with Other Movies, Sending and Loading Data, XML, Web Services and Flash Remoting, Building Integrated Applications, File Management and Socket Programming. Some of these recipes are quick and easy ways to find out how to do some fundamental tasks. However the authors have a tendency to simply refer to a solution using their standard class library - which can be downloaded for free. In a cookbook this is only just acceptable as it does provide a solution to the question or task posed but it isn't particularly illuminating and the solution doesn’t generalise easily.

This isn't an ideal cookbook for Actionscript but if you are looking for simple examples of the language in use doing some very standard things then you might find some use for it.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 22 August 2009 )