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July 31, 2003

"ActionScript Cookbook": Helping Flash Developers Kick It Up a Notch

Sebastopol, CA--When faced with the choice of putting in long hours and pulling out their hair in frustration over a scripting project, or going home a little early because the project was accurately and concisely done, most Flash developers would opt for the latter scenario. Joey Lott's latest tome, ActionScript Cookbook (O'Reilly, US $49.95), is designed to help Flash MX developers be home in time for dinner while still impressing the powers-that-be at work with their coding prowess.

"ActionScript is completely essential to Flash developers in today's market," notes Lott. "While there will always be a place for linear animations, most of today's Flash content requires much more interactivity, and ActionScript is the key. As I was writing the book, I was increasingly motivated by excitement for the material. The more I wrote, the more new and useful recipes seemed to present themselves. It is absolutely great to be able to discover answers to common problems and questions, and make them accessible to people to help them in expressing themselves through their work with Flash and ActionScript. This book is for anyone who knows what they want to accomplish, but needs to know how."

ActionScript has blossomed into a large and important language whose sheer volume of capabilities can be daunting. Because complex Flash issues can arise, cagey coders need to use all resources at their disposal to avoid and untangle tricky situations. "ActionScript Cookbook" is bound to be one of the most well thumbed references in the ActionScript developer's library. Employing classic O'Reilly Cookbook style, Lott guides scripters towards swift resolution of issues, while imparting practical techniques for resolving similar dilemmas in the future.

Appealing to the budding coder as well as the experienced ActionScript scripter, this book offers new perspectives and approaches to ActionScript development that will empower all developers. Rather than focusing on ActionScript in the abstract, this practical, nuts-and-bolts toolkit puts theory into practice with ready-made answers to common ActionScript problems. A complement to O'Reilly's "ActionScript for Flash MX: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition," "ActionScript Cookbook" shows developers how to assimilate the information taught by more theoretical books. "ActionScript Cookbook" explains how the code achieves its goals and why the design choices were made. A developer can use the "Cookbook" to solve an immediate problem and then explore it further in "The Definitive Guide" when time permits.

Lott provides readers with something that they can use daily in all their ActionScript projects, offering solutions that solve problems and simplify processes. He begins with the premise that readers are familiar with the Flash authoring tool and have used some basic ActionScript in the past, then breaks it all down into tasks that are relevant, practical, and insightful. The book follows a logical progression from short recipes for small problems to longer, more complex scripts for thornier riddles, which allows developers to start linking modular ActionScript pieces together to create rock-solid solutions for Flash applications. Here's a small sampling of what can be found amongst the 28 recipe-laden chapters (including seven full chapters of sample applications):

  • Drawing shapes at runtime

  • Controlling movie clips programmatically

  • Accepting user input and manipulating text strings

  • Accessing audio and video via Flash Communications Server

  • Working with Flash Remoting to connect to back end databases

  • Using record sets with data grids

  • Building a Flash Paint Application

  • Creating a Video/Chat Message Server Application

  • Creating an MP3 Jukebox

  • Creating a personalizable MyPage Application

If you regularly tackle ActionScript challenges, you'll want to keep this book computer-side. Whether you are a beginner or master--or somewhere in between--these recipes help you handle situations that arise in every ActionScript project.

Additional Resources:

ActionScript Cookbook
Solutions and Examples for Flash MX Developers
By Joey Lott
ISBN 0-596-00490-7, 896 pages, $49.95 US, $77.95 CA, 35.50 UK
order@oreilly.com
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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