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Chapter 1. Flash Basics > Tricks of the Trade

Tricks of the Trade

As I mentioned, Flash-heads tend to be strange characters. Perhaps they’ve turned out that way while developing creative and resourceful solutions to control Flash. Some of the tips that I’m about to disclose might seem wacky on first look, but they’re all very useful.

Invisible Buttons

Buttons are cool because you can automatically create an Over-and Down-state. However, they also offer something else: access to mouse events. There are situations when you want or need access to a mouse event (such as Roll Over, for example), but you don’t need or want all the pretty graphic features of a button. (Chapter 3, “The Programmer’s Approach,” discusses the value of code-data separation—that is, separating the generic programming code from the specific graphic content so that you can easily extract the programming and use it again with different content.) An invisible button is perfect for this. What is an invisible button? Simple: a button that has no graphic contents except a shape in its hit state (see Figure 1.11). I don’t know how many times I’ve drawn a shape, converted it to a button symbol, and then double-clicked the button instance to edit its contents by dragging the first frame to the Hit-state—but it’s a lot of times! The coolest part of invisible buttons is that Flash will display (while authoring) a semi-transparent cyan shape, so it’s easy to position the button.


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