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12 Great Ways to Learn ActionScript 3 in Flash PDF  | Print |  E-mail
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Thursday, 02 June 2011 12:04

 

12 Great Ways to Learn ActionScript 3 in Flash

by Josh Tynjala

Want to learn a bit about Adobe Flash and programming with ActionScript 3? You might find this list of resources helpful for getting started, or if you find you’ve gotten stuck, it might give you some places for new information you’ve never encountered. Though the list below isn’t fully comprehensive, it provides a wide variety of ways to learn about Flash and AS3.

  1. All documentation available in the Flash CS3 product is available online on Adobe’s website, including many parts that may be downloaded in PDF form (if that’s your preference). For those that are new to programming, or maybe if you just need a bit of help learning about classes and objects, check out Getting Started with ActionScript in the documentation.

  2. Adobe provides a lot of great articles on their website. Be sure to check out the Flash Developer Center and the ActionScript Technology Center, which are both a part of the larger Adobe Developer Connection.

  3. Consider the ActionScript 3.0 Language and Components Reference a must-have tool for looking up properties, functions, styles, and events for all of the classes available natively in Flash Player and included with Flash CS3. Unlike other documentation that you might only read when you’re starting out, this resource will be useful almost everyday that you work with Flash and AS3.

  4. Many articles online discuss the differences between ActionScript 2 and ActionScript 3. For example, Emmy Huang has a quick overview of new AS3 features in Tips for learning ActionScript 3.0. Another article by Gary Grossman and Emmy Huang you might want to check out is simply titled ActionScript 3.0 Overview. Also, be sure to look at the ActionScript 2.0 Migration document to see what functions and classes have been changed, moved, or removed. When changes exist between AS2 and AS3, this document often includes instructions for how you should change your approach.

  5. Many online forums are dedicated to Flash and ActionScript where you can ask questions and learn from others. I frequently visit the ActionScript.org forums. Another you might consider checking out is Kirupa’s Forum, which has a popular thread created by senocular called ActionScript 3.0 Tip of the Day. There are many more forums out there, so be sure to spend a couple of moments with your search engine of choice to find them.

  6. Similarly, mailing lists are a good source of information for learning about Flash and ActionScript and for asking questions when you run into trouble. Rather than going to a forum in your browser, you send and receive community messages through your email client. Flashcoders has always been a popular list. The Mail Archive provides an alternative online view of flashcoders content.

  7. Join a local Flash user group or consider starting your own. Typically, Adobe user groups meet once a month, and they offer tutorials and presentations by local experts or special guests from the worldwide community. These guests tend to work with Flash in the trenches for companies large and small. From time to time, you might even get to meet a real Adobe employee who can offer excellent insights into the products they develop or promote. For more information, check out the Community section in the Flash Developer Center (and try the Flex Developer Center too).

  8. Learning from instructional videos seems to work well for many new developers. Lynda.com offers many hours of video focused on Flash CS3 and ActionScript 3 for a low subscription price. Lee Brimelow‘s site gotoAndLearn offers free video tutorials about Flash too. The Flash category on Adobe TV offers a wide variety of videos for all skill levels. You might also want to check out Colin Moock’s Lost ActionScript Weekend, an 11 hour training video that covers object-oriented programming in AS3 available thanks to O’Reilly and Adobe.

  9. Current and upcoming books that focus on Flash and ActionScript 3 include the following:

  10. Go to conferences like Adobe MAX or other events like FlexCamp, ApolloCamp, and the OnAIR Bus Tour. These events frequently include hands-on sessions where instructors walk you through the basics step by step, and you’ll meet experts and fellow learners alike. If a conference seems expensive, consider asking your boss if your company can help cover the cost. Companies often don’t mind paying for tickets and travel to these sorts of events if what you’ll learn will directly impact your work.

  11. Read other people’s source code. One of the best ways to learn to be a developer is to see how others do things. Try to understand how their code works, and take a few moments to change things and experiment with it. If you’re not exactly sure where to start, you might want to view the source code for the user interface components in Flash CS3. On my PC, those class files are located here:

    c:/Program Files/Adobe Flash CS3/en/Configuration/Component Source/ActionScript 3.0/User Interface

  12. Finally, you’ll discover that the blogging community centered around Flash is quite strong and innovative. Be sure to visit the Adobe XML News Aggregator, Fullasagoog, and Feed Squirrel. Each of these sites provide a central point for many Flash and Adobe-related blogs. Use them to discover your favorites.

The list above should provide you with hours of reading (and viewing) material about Flash and ActionScript 3. Looking to to learn Flex too? Check out my post 10 Great Ways to Learn Flex.

Last Updated on Friday, 08 July 2011 13:26
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