ActionScript: The Complete Reference

Author: William B. Sanders
List Price: $49.99
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ISBN: 0072226439
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media (25 October, 2002)
Edition: Paperback
Sales Rank: 545,569
Average Customer Rating: 5 out of 5

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Customer Reviews

Rating: 5 out of 5
In Constant Use
This is one of those books that I use all the time. Because this is the first book I've given 5 stars, I'd better explain.

First, I like the way the book organized itself along the lines that the ActionScript editor or toolbox lists the different ActionScript terms. The parallel makes things easy to find. Second, I like the way the examples are used. For instance, the author explains the geometry behind the cosine of an angle explaining the Math.cos() method and then provides an example that draws a perfect circle. That's a lot better than I get in just about any other book. (Maybe that's more than some need, but I appreciated it.) Third, I like the level range. The beginning of the book is only 2 chapters, but it's a good 2 chapters that provide a quick explanation of ActionScript and scripting. However, further on in the book, it also covers more complex things like registerClass() with a detailed examples. The same is true for all of the new objects like LoadVars().

Finally, I have found myself using the last several chapters covering UI components. Before I got this book, I really didn't use UI Components very much, and now I use them constantly. In fact, those chapters (Pt IV, Chs 14-21)are what I find myself using the most. If this book had nothing but Part IV, the book would have been more than worth it to me.

I think the book is worth 6 stars -- 5 for the first 3 parts and an additional one for the last part covering UI Components.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Good clear, easy-to-find stuff book
After Flash 5 ActionScript, I didn't think that it would get much bigger. Flash MX ActionScript is huge, and this book makes it available. The author spends only the first two chapters with the basics of writing ActionScript in the context of Flash MX and makes a nice transition from Flash 5 to Flash MX.

Then, from Chapter 3 to the end of the book's 21 chapters, the author decided to follow the order of actions in the Actions toolbox in the Actions Panel. That makes it very easy to find stuff because it's organized along the same logical patterns as the toolbox. Even so I found myself going to both the detailed TOC and appendix to look up terms, and I never had problems finding what I needed.

Anyone can explain the easy stuff like the old gotoAndPlay() actions, and so I went to the new OOP materials and XML socket section. The OOP stuff was mixed with non-OOP throughout the book, and OOP-related methods like registerClass() were explained in detail and supported with a good example using something that made sense in the context of Flash MX. In fact, the whole book was filled with good examples. Some examples extended over several pages and others were little ones that gave you a quick insight. Sanders is an ace with examples. As for the XML socket material, not only did the explanation explain to me for the first time ever what the blazes a socket server was, it provided a URL where I could download a free socket server, which I did. Then I worked the example, and now I have my own mini-chat in XMLSocket. I'm happy.

The last several chapters were in-depth explanations of the different ActionScript terms used with the new UI Components. Each component got its own chapter, and I found it invaluable for designing with the components. It does not cover re-skinning, but I was able to get the look I wanted by changing every element in the components and I am a big user of UI components. (You can change all the little parts of components like highlight, higlight3D, face, darkshadow, etc. without re-skinning.)

There were a lot of little details I liked in the book. The examples were mixed, interesting, and clarifying. Undocumented terms, like onData with LoadVars(), were included, and I found what I needed. One suggestion for people getting this book: buy some of those little colored tab stickem things to bookmark all of the part of this book you'll need to reference again and again.

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