Monthly Archives: September 2004

Flash Anthology

SitePoint sent me Flash Anthology – Cool Effects & Practical ActionScript by Steven Grosvenor and asked me to write a review.

The back cover of the book says “best practice solutions to common Flash problems”, which lead me thinking it was a book on design patterns. However, in the “Who Should Read This Book?” section, it says the book is aimed at beginning and intermediate Flash developers and designers. The book is not for learning Flash MX 2004, ActionScript, OOP, or design patterns.

Instead, the book focuses on using ActionScript 1.0 “to achieve extensible, adaptable, and aesthetically pleasing results.” There are over 60 ActionScript solutions, covering 10 chapters: Flash Essentials, Navigation Systems, Animation Effects, Text Effects, Sound Effects, Video, Flash Forms, External Data, Debugging, and Miscellaneous Effects.

I was a bit surprised to see no ActionScript 2.0, typed data, classes…etc., from a book published almost a year after Flash MX 2004 was released. Instead, I see most examples dealing with the prototype, scattering of _root, capitalization of method names in one section and lowercase elsewhere…etc.

To be fair, not all Flash projects require ActionScript 2.0, OOP or patterns. In fact, I’d think most typical Flash projects are still one-offs that have short life cycles. As Branden Hall says, sometimes pragmatic programming can be an ideal solution, especially for these quick one-off projects. Perhaps this book is for beginning Flash designers who work on small projects. SitePoint offers 30 days, risk-free, money back guarantee; so I guess it’s worthwhile to give it a read if you’re a beginner designer looking for ActionScript to create cool effects.

On a side note, for ActionScript 1.0 and effects, I’d suggest Robert Penner‘s book as an example of best practices.