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Preface > Conventions Used in This Book

Conventions Used in This Book

The following typographical conventions are used in this book:

Plain text

Indicates menu titles, menu options, menu buttons, and keyboard accelerators (such as Alt and Ctrl). Submenu options are also indicated with an arrow, such as File→ Open.


Indicates application names, new terms, library symbol names, function names, method names, class names, package names, layer names, URLs, URIs, stream names, email addresses, filenames, file extensions, pathnames, and directories. In addition to being italicized in the body text, method and function names are also followed by parentheses, such as setInterval( ).

Constant width

Indicates code samples, application instance names, clip instance names, symbol linkage identifiers, frame labels, commands, variables, attributes, properties, parameters, values, objects, XML tags, HTML tags, the contents of files, or the output from commands.

Constant width bold

Shows commands or other text that should be entered literally by the user. It is also used within code examples for emphasis, such as to highlight an important line of code in a larger example.

Constant width italic

Shows text that should be replaced with user-supplied values. Constant width italic is also used to emphasize variable, property, method, and function names referenced in comments within code examples.

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This icon indicates a warning or caution.

In the interest of brevity, we expect you to understand the following conventions used throughout all O'Reilly books on Flash and ActionScript. For so-called instance-level methods, such as connect( ), which are invoked on an instance of a class, such as NetConnection, we refer to it in the prose as NetConnection.connect( ). However, in the code examples, you don't use the class name but rather an instance of the NetConnection class, such as:

my_connection.connect(  )

On the other hand, so-called class methods (a.k.a. static methods) are invoked on the class itself, in which case the class name is used verbatim, such as:

Classname.methodname(  )

The analogous issue applies when referring to instance or class (static) properties. The difference should be clear from context or the Macromedia documentation for a particular class.

Once a concept, component, or class has been introduced, we often simplify the language for readability. For example, instead of writing "establish a network connection using an instance of the NetConnection class," we might simply write "create a NetConnection to access the FlashCom application."

When there are multiple names for an item, or nuances as to its meaning, we choose the most appropriate or convenient one. The meaning should always be clear from context. Most notably:

  • The client object is technically an instance of the server-side Client class stored in a variable named client.

  • The application object is technically an instance of the server-side Application class.

  • Shared objects have two names. One of the names matches the external shared object file, but without the extension. For example, people can refer to the people.sol or people.lso file. The variable that holds a reference to the shared object usually includes the _so suffix, such as people_so. Regardless, constant-width text can become distracting, so we also refer to it informally as "the people shared object." Again, let your context be your guide.

  • Many items have related names that take different formatting or use different capitalization. For example, an instance of the DataProvider class might be used to populate the dataProvider property of a DataGrid component. Likewise, the PeopleList component might be supported by the PeopleList class.

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