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Preface > What's New in Flash MX ActionScript

What's New in Flash MX ActionScript

ActionScript evolved tremendously from Flash 5 to Flash MX (as the authoring tool is known) and the corresponding Flash Player 6, and this book has evolved along with it. See Table P-2 in this Preface for details on the Flash version naming conventions.

To preview many of the new features in action, visit:


Table P-1 provides a high-level overview of the major additions to ActionScript and tells you where to find more information about each new topic in this book. Unless otherwise stated, cross-references are to Part II, the Language Reference.

Table P-1. New features in Flash MX ActionScript
Feature For details, see...
Drawing API: draw strokes, shapes, and fills at runtime using new MovieClip methods MovieClip.beginFill( ), MovieClip.beginGradientFill( ), MovieClip.clear( ), MovieClip.curveTo( ), MovieClip.endFill( ), MovieClip.lineStyle( ), MovieClip.lineTo( ), MovieClip.moveTo( ); Section 13.8 in Chapter 13
Load JPEG-format images at runtime MovieClip.loadMovie( ), loadMovie( )
Load MP3-format sounds at runtime Sound.loadSound( )
Check the length of a sound and the amount of time it has been playing Sound.position, Sound.duration
Detect when a sound finishes playing Sound.onSoundComplete( )
Create, manipulate, and format text fields at runtime The TextField class, the TextFormat class, MovieClip.createTextField( )
Mask or unmask a movie clip at runtime MovieClip.setMask( )
Create movie clips from scratch at runtime MovieClip.createEmptyMovieClip( )
Determine a movie clip's depth at runtime MovieClip.getDepth( )
Execute a function or method periodically setInterval( ), clearInterval( )
Manipulate XML, string, and array data faster due to Flash Player performance improvements The XML class, the String class, the Array class
Store data locally (much like JavaScript cookies) The SharedObject object
Create packaged code modules with MovieClip subclasses and components #initclip, #endinitclip, Object.registerClass( ), attachMovie( ); Chapter 14
Communicate between two Flash Players on the same computer The LocalConnection class
Declare global variables _global; Section 5.3 in Chapter 2
Use international characters in the Unicode character set Section 4.5 in Chapter 4, Appendix C
Define event handlers on movie clips using callback functions Chapter 10
Use event listeners to respond to events from any object Chapter 10 and Key.addListener( ), Mouse.addListener( ), Stage.addListener( ), Selection.addListener( ), TextField.addListener( )
Add button behavior to a movie clip Section 13.9 in Chapter 13
Control button objects at runtime The Button class
Make content accessible to screen readers for the visually impaired The Accessibility object
Check the movie width and height at runtime, and reposition movie elements when the movie is resized Stage.height, Stage.width, Stage.onResize( )
Use lexical and nested function scope, or execute a function as a method of an arbitrary object Function.call( ), Function.apply( ); Section 2.5.7 in Chapter 2; Section 9.7 in Chapter 9
Access Player and system information such as screen resolution, operating system, and current language The Capabilities object
Capture keyboard and mouse input events with a centralized input API The Key object, the Mouse object
Load variables using an intuitive variable loading class rather than the loadVariables( ) function The LoadVars class
Monitor the download progress of XML or loading variables XML.getBytesLoaded( ), LoadVars.getBytesLoaded( )
Control the tab order for buttons, text fields, and movie clips TextField.tabIndex, Button.tabIndex, MovieClip.tabIndex
Turn off the hand cursor for buttons Button.useHandCursor, MovieClip.useHandCursor
Add getter/setter properties to an object, and receive notification when a property changes Object.addProperty( ), Object.watch( )

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