Sent to the Printer!  The ActionScript 3.0 Quick Reference Guide

ActionScript 3.0 Flash General

Back in March, I made a quick blog post (“New O’Reilly Title, Coming Soon!”) about a book I had just finished co-authoring.  My eleven chapters were done, and I was happy with my portion of the book (the other chapters were not yet completed).  This one aims to help folks migrate their existing skill set from ActionScript 2.0 to ActionScript 3.0.  Which folks in particular?  Not the hardcore programmers.  There’s a whole community of advanced developers, most of whom are now using Flex, that doesn’t need this book  This reference is for people who have a decent understanding of timeline coding, who may have begun writing custom classes in AS2, but do most of their programming in the Actions panel and are bewildered by the changes in ActionScript 3.0.  From a standpoint of tone and encouragement, I like to think this book has a lot in common with Colin Moock’s article “ActionScript 3.0:  Is it Hard or Not?,” which I’m quick to recommend on various forums as a confidence booster.  You can read a few chapter excerpts from the links below. 

When I finished my chapters in March, I couldn’t have guessed that a phrase from that very blog post, “new O’Reilly title,” would become true in more ways than one.  Six months later, I finished the book a second time, because delays in the project meant we decided to gut the necessary chapters and rewrite the whole thing for Flash CS4.  As a point of interest, the sample files are still saved as Flash CS3 FLAs, so even though all the figures show the new CS4 interface, this book is still useful (probably better than 90%) for current users of Flash CS3.  The reason for the extra work was to make the book relevant for the release of Flash CS4, but honestly, while writing new content, dropping some chapters, combining and/or splitting others, we took care to tighten the focus on ActionScript 3.0 itself, rather than cater to a particular version of the authoring environment.

For this reason, I’m even happier with the book now.  While working on it, I got to meet and become friends with some talented colleagues — Rich Shupe, Jen deHaan, and Darren Richardson — and learn a lot more about Flash (the learning never ends!).  In fact, Colin Moock took a look at my draft and said it was “great content, and nice and practical … will be very useful for the ‘Flasher’ crowd,” which meant a lot to me coming from him.  As you might expect, the title of the book has changed (that’s where the phrase “new title” takes another meaning).  It’s now called The ActionScript 3.0 Quick Reference Guide, and is currently up for pre-order on Amazon.

Here are three excerpts from various chapters, published as free content by

How AS3 Helps You Program with Purpose
Working with Library and Linkage Changes in ActionScript 3.0
Flash CS3:  What Happened to the WebServiceConnector Component?

Notice the mention of Flash CS3?  When these excerpts went live, I was still under a non-disclosure agreement with Adobe not to mention Flash CS4, so I adapted the excerpts back to CS3-relevant versions.  Fortunately, rolling them back meant little more than replacing “CS4” with “CS3” and digging up the previous set of screenshots.

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