Archive for the 'ActionScript 3.0' Category

Four Chapter Excerpts from The ActionScript 3.0 Quick Reference Guide

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008
ActionScript 2.0 ActionScript 3.0 Flash

I just got word from Adobe that a number of The ActionScript 3.0 Quick Reference Guide excerpts are freely available in PDF format from the Developer Connection’s ActionScript Technology Center:  Check ’em out!

Combine those with the freebie excerpts at, and you’ll find you have a decent selection to help you choose if this book would be useful to you.  Keep reading »

Creating a Smart Skip Intro Button in Flash

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008
ActionScript 2.0 ActionScript 3.0 Flash

Generally speaking, Flash designers have become more considerate. In the late 1990s, it was common to encounter dozens of Flash websites a day with bloated, pointless intro animations. Ultimately, sure, content was king: users would eventually get to the meat of a website, but all too often, were subjected to unnecessary bells and whistles, simply because Flash was the shiny new kid on the block. Nowadays, bloated intros are largely a thing of the past, but back then, designers were proud of these intros and assumed users were thrilled to see them. Frankly, it just wasn’t so.

Fortunately, designers began to change their ways. Best practices took hold, and the “Skip Intro” button became a fashionable device (in fact, it appeared so often it became an industry joke). If users were really lucky, they’d even see an “Always Skip Intro” button, which remembered their preference for the next visit. In this freebie Community MX tutorial, you’ll learn how to create such a button.

Sent to the Printer!  The ActionScript 3.0 Quick Reference Guide

Friday, October 10th, 2008
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.  Keep reading »

Building Click-and-Rotate Content in Flash

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008
ActionScript 2.0 ActionScript 3.0 Flash

In one implementation of the QuickTime VR format, known as QTVR Object Movies, the user can click-and-drag an image to seemingly rotate it, as if spinning the real-life object on a lazy Susan.  This simulated 3D interactivity can improve multimedia curb appeal, and makes for a nifty way to showcase merchandise.  But it doesn’t stop there:  the same basic principle can also bring click-and-drag responsiveness to short video sequences and even user input widgets, such as the click-and-scrub input fields of numerous Adobe dialog boxes.  Keep reading »

New O’Reilly Title, Coming Soon!

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008
ActionScript 2.0 ActionScript 3.0 Flash General

I just finished the last of my eleven chapters for a new O’Reilly title, ActionScript 3.0:  The Quick Answer Guide for Flash Professionals, last Wednesday.  This was shortly after lunch, 12:30 on the dot, and a neat thing happened almost as I lifted my hands from the keyboard (more on that in a sec).  The rest of the book is still being written, and it’s shaping up nicely.  I’m pretty excited about this project already!  :)   The aim of this reference is to help developers, even keyframe coders, get up to speed with AS3, so keep your eyes peeled in June!

I took a wild tumble off the grid while I was researching and writing for the past five or six weeks, so I apologize for my late replies to blog comments and email.  I’ve been catching up on my inbox since last Wednesday and plan to reply to everyone as soon as I can.  Thanks, so much, to my friends for all the encouragement!  (Go,!)

I’ll be going over author reviews in the coming weeks, but the heavy lifting is behind me.  The neat thing that happened, on day I finished, is this:  I went downstairs to gaze out the window for a few moments, and right as I did, UPS brought a package to the door.  I opened the box, and inside was a huge tin of Turkish coffee (over a pound!), imported from Turkey, sent by reader Çağatay.  What a way to commemorate the milestone!  Thanks, Çağatay!  This coffee is a real treat!

How to use Font Symbols (Embedded Fonts) with ActionScript

Thursday, February 28th, 2008
ActionScript 2.0 ActionScript 3.0

You certainly don’t need ActionScript to make use of embedded fonts.  You can always just embed font outlines manually by selecting a text field, then using the Embed button in the Property inspector.  Select your range of characters, type in your text, then publish; you’re good to go (and you only need to do it with dynamic and input text fields:  static text fields embed font outlines automatically).  In fact, if your text field has an instance name — something you can also set in the Property inspector — then you can determine its text content with ActionScript and the embedded font outlines still hold.  But if you’re using ActionScript to create text fields on the fly, the mechanics are a bit different.  Let’s take a look.  Keep reading »

Progressive Enhancement with Flash

Monday, February 4th, 2008
ActionScript 2.0 ActionScript 3.0 Flash

One of the main tenets of good Web design is the principle of progressive enhancement.  In general, the idea goes like this:  make sure the user can access a web site’s essential content regardless of browser.  It shouldn’t matter whether the user visits your site with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Netscape, or pick your favorite flavor.  In fact, the site’s content should be accessible even without JavaScript or peripheral plugins like Flash Player.  Once the basics are covered, use CSS to enhance the visual design.  Then, and only then, introduce the whizz-bang stuff — nifty rollovers, AJAX interactivity, Flash — and do it in a way that doesn’t penalize users who don’t have (or choose to disable) the needed machinery.

Sound pretty neat?  I’ve seen a few examples of this online and at conferences, so I delved into this topic myself to see how much fun it might be.  Turns out it can be somewhat challenging, but definitely fun to see the results.  I put together an example in order to explore the basic mechanics of this form of progressive enhancement — a slideshow SWF that takes its cue from the HTML in which it appears — and turned it into a three-part series on  The first part is free and covers how to get the HTML from the Web page itself into the SWF.  The follow-up articles go into how to parse that HTML in AS2 and AS3.  CommunityMX offers free trial memberships, so if you aren’t interested in becoming a subscriber, you can wait until the follow-up that interests you gets posted (not sure yet when that will be), then sign up for the trial membership.  Of course, if you want to subscribe, that would be cool too!

Moock’s Pitch for AS3 (It’s a Good One!)

Monday, January 21st, 2008
ActionScript 3.0 Flash

O’Reilly and Adobe have teamed up on a new website dedicated to Rich Internet Applications (RIA).  Among the first featured articles is a comparative look at ActionScript 3.0 and its predecessors, 2.0 and 1.0, in which Colin Moock offers a number of solid insights (and encouragements) toward learning the new language.

How to Play a Timeline Backwards (with Easing!)

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008
ActionScript 2.0 ActionScript 3.0

Reader James Colvin wrote me in mid-December to ask if I had any thoughts on playing a timeline backwards.  As it turns out, this question comes up every now and then on the Adobe forums, where longtime regular kglad usually posts his very handy custom function in reply.  In kglad’s version, the MovieClip.nextFrame() and prevFrame() methods are used in cahoots with setInterval() to accomplish the goal.  He often assigns the function to the Object.prototype property of the MovieClip class, which makes the new functionality available to all movie clips (a pre-AS3 technique).

My initial reaction was to search the forums and send back a link, but James’ question had an interesting twist:  could this non-standard timeline movement include easing?  Wow, what a cool challenge!  So I thought about it off and on over the holidays, and a neat solution occurred to me just this morning.  Keep reading »

Flash CS3 (9.0.2) Supports New Video and Audio Codecs; FLVPlayback Works, But …

Thursday, December 13th, 2007
ActionScript 3.0 Flash

If you want to be able to deliver non-FLV video in Flash (how cool is that?!), head over to the Adobe Flash Support Center and download the Adobe Flash Player Update for Flash CS3 Professional (9.0.2).  The result?  At runtime, you’ll be able to load MOV and MP4 files encoded in the H.264 hi-def codec.  This is in addition to the usual FLV, and we’re talking Flash Player 9 only (specifically, version or higher).  You’ll also be able to load M4A audio instead of only MP3.  The upgrade to the IDE allows you to view such content as you test and debug SWFs right in the authoring environment.  I’ve already installed and tested, and the update works … but I have seen one stumbling block.  You can work around it — in fact, you can work right through it — but it isn’t especially obvious.  Keep reading »