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We've written a few books on some pretty fun topics (Flash 5, JavaScript, DHTML and PhotoShop), but we had a great time writing this book—Macromedia Flash MX is a hoot. Flash MX can do some pretty amazing things, and it's great to see ActionScript filling out as a serious scripting language. We hope we've been able to show you some of these things well enough to get you excited, too.

The Goal of This Book

When you're through with this book, you should have a thorough grasp of what Flash MX and ActionScript can do, and know how to create a wide diversity of really engaging, fun, and useful interactive Flash movies. We're talking fantastic navigation, awesome games, and industrial-strength, robust applications.

Hopefully, given the foundation you'll get in this book, you'll be able to create new kinds of Flash movies that no one else has thought of.

The focus of this book is more technical than artistic, but we believe it provides a good springboard for programmers, animators, and artists alike.

Who This Book Is For

This book is for anyone who wants to include any level of complexity and interaction in their Flash movies. This can include navigation, games, and interaction with middleware and databases. You can be a right-brained Flash designer who's making the reluctant leap into ActionScript or a seasoned, left-brained programmer who wants to create a custom interface to a backend e-commerce or communications system.

To get the most out of this book, you should already know some Flash basics:

  • drawing

  • tweening

  • creating symbols

  • creating buttons

That's it. If you know how to do these things at all, then you're ready for this book.

How This Book Teaches

Both of Dan's parents were teachers, and they shared the same philosophy. “There are three ways to teach,” they said, “example, example, example.” We think they're right on this one, and this book uses complete, fully functional examples for every aspect of interactivity and ActionScript in this book. All examples can be found on the accompanying Web sites at www.phptr.com/advancedweb/flashmx/and www.wire-man.com/flashmx/.

We've tried to avoid using overly simple squares and circles to explain concepts (we mostly succeeded). Instead, we'll ask you to load small movies and manipulate them. You will see a number of examples using Jake the Fish, and we hope you'll forgive our small indulgence—it's the only way Dan can put his marine zoology degree to use.

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