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Programming in Flash

It seems like there's a lot to draggable objects. This hour has included a lot of detail so far because using draggable objects is one of the most advanced features that doesn't require a lot of programming. The term programming gets tossed around a lot, but my definition of programming is using the ActionScript language to make a Flash movie play back differently based on user input, user interaction, timing issues, or data found outside Flash. If you want your movie to play back the same way each time (like a narrative or a cartoon, for example), you don't need to do any programming. Even if you want relatively sophisticated interactivity (buttons, draggable objects, and so on), you can achieve it with basic actions or behaviors. However, for a much more dynamic (changing) movie, you need to do some programming. Fortunately, ActionScript is fairly easy to use. Behaviors insulate you from the actual code. Also, the Actions panel includes helpers such as code hints, code completion, and Script Assist. When you approach the process of programming in small steps, you will probably find it easier than you would imagine after looking at the cryptic code some programmers create. It doesn't have to be difficult.

The rest of this hour introduces you to most of the programming capabilities of Flash. An entire book could be devoted to this topic (actually, I've written several), so naturally, it can't be fully covered in just this hour. I'm just going to point the way. If you have little interest in programming, it's safe to skip the rest of this hour. You can always come back later if needed. There's plenty more information in later hours, so only jump ahead to Hour 17, “Using Components.” (Don't skip the rest of the book!)


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