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Preface > Why Flash Hacks?

Why Flash Hacks?

The term "hacking" has a bad reputation in the popular media. They use it to refer to breaking into systems or wreaking havoc using computers as weapons. Among people who write code, though, the term "hack" refers to a quick and dirty solution to a problem or a clever way to get something done. And the term "hacker" is taken very much as a compliment, referring to someone as being creative and having the technical chops to get things done. The Hacks series is an attempt the reclaim the word, document the good ways people are hacking, and pass the hacker ethic of creative participation on to the uninitiated. Seeing how others approach systems and problems is often the quickest way to learn about a new technology.

Flash Hacks is about coming up with new ideas for your Flash web designs, ActionScript, and Flash content.

Flash authoring is all about creativity, in both design and coding, and pushing the envelope of what is possible. Although multimedia scripting has become more structured and formalized, there is still plenty of room (and need) for hacks and workarounds when the standard routes fail.

When I first opened up the Flash application and started reading the official documentation, it took me a while to understand how Flash is really supposed to be used, and from feedback I have received since, this is a common problem.

Flash is thus an area in which experimenting, hacking around limitations, and knowing a lot of design tricks is part of the workflow because the aim is often to create something original and engaging. Reading the Macromedia Flash documentation will take you only so far before you need to start looking for clever hacks and inside tricks that overcome many of Flash's limitations.

Therefore, this book is not just about showing you some interesting hacks, it is about showing you some of the nonobvious techniques and ideas that will make your Flash designs more original and your applications more effective.

Of course, this also means that you won't be using many of the hacks presented here as-is, but instead will use them as starting points for further exploration and development. Experimentation is to be promoted—it is what Flash and the Flash community are all about. This book borrows much from the rich tradition of the Flash community but also presents many original ideas to teach, entertain, and inspire you.

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