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ActionScript is the programming language that enables you to use Macromedia Flash to create highly interactive, multimedia-based Web sites, product demos, teaching materials, and more. If you’re familiar with the logic behind other programming languages (especially JavaScript), you’ll find ActionScript familiar. If, however, you’re new to scripting, you’ll probably wish you’d started earlier—especially once you begin to understand the language itself and what you can do with it. By the time you reach the end of this book, you’ll be armed with a thorough knowledge of ActionScript— knowledge that will allow you to express yourself in ways you never before imagined!

This “Advanced Training from the Source” book introduces you to ActionScripting by guiding you, step by step, through projects that explain not only what’s happening but why and how. Because the focus of each project is to teach you ActionScript, you’ll find that any graphical elements and objects that aren’t directly related to the task are already set up for you (though we’ll always tell you why we’re including them and, if necessary, what they do). The curriculum of this course should take you 20 to 25 hours to complete and includes the following lessons:

Lesson 1: Introducing ActionScript

Lesson 2: Using Event Handlers

Lesson 3: Understanding Target Paths

Lesson 4: Understanding and Using Objects

Lesson 5: Using Functions

Lesson 6: Customizing Objects

Lesson 7: Using Dynamic Data

Lesson 8: Manipulating Data

Lesson 9: Using Conditional Logic

Lesson 10: Automating Scripts with Loops

Lesson 11: Getting Data In and Out of Flash

Lesson 12: Using XML with Flash

Lesson 13: Validating and Formatting Data

Lesson 14: Controlling Movie Clips Dynamically

Lesson 15: Time- and Frame-Based Dynamism

Lesson 16: Scripting for Sound

Lesson 17: Loading External Content

Each lesson begins with an overview of the lesson’s content and learning objectives, and is divided into tasks that teach you how to use aspects of the scripting language that relate to the theme of the lesson. What distinguishes this Advanced Training from the Source book from a standard Training from the Source course is that it offers more: more conceptual information, more in-depth material, and more explanations— plus special features, including:


These offer shortcuts for carrying out common tasks as well as ways to use the skills you’re learning to solve common problems.


Additional information pertaining to the task at hand.

In addition, Appendix A contains a list of Flash resources pertaining to many aspects of using Flash, including scripting, design, animation, usability and more.

This course is designed so that you build your skills as you work through each lesson. By the time you’ve completed the entire course, you should understand ActionScript’s syntax, capabilities, and the logic that drives it—and thus be able to create your own dynamic, highly interactive Flash content!

The enclosed CD contains all of the files necessary to complete each lesson. Files for each lesson appear in their own folders, titled with the lesson name. Each lesson folder contains two subfolders: Assets and Completed. The Assets folder contains any media files needed for the lesson, as well as the initial Flash file for the lesson. The files you will need are identified at the beginning of each lesson. The Completed folder contains completed files so that you can compare your work or see where you’re headed.

We suggest that you create a folder on your hard drive and transfer all lesson files to that folder before beginning the course. The reason for this is that you will need to test your work using Flash’s Test Movie command, which creates a temporary test file in the same directory as the currently opened .fla. Thus, if the authoring file was opened from the CD, Flash will attempt to create the temporary test movie on the CD, which is almost always impossible and will result in an error.

The lessons in this book assume the following:

  • You know how to use menus, open and save files, and so on for either the Windows or Macintosh operating system.

  • Flash MX is already installed on your machine, and your computer meets the system requirements listed below.

  • You’re familiar with Flash’s interface as well as authoring movies, creating and using movie elements, using the timeline, using basic actions, and (especially) employing the Actions panel. If not, you might want to begin by working your way through Macromedia Flash MX: Training from the Source, an introductory book from Macromedia Press.

A collage of some of the many projects you will script in this course.

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