In this chapter you'll look at what ActionScript is, where you can use it, and what you can do with it. You'll learn where ActionScript fits in the grand scheme of the Flash Platform, and you'll take a complete tour of the tools and technologies involved therein.
You may well already know the answer to this question, because you had enough interest in it to buy this book! ActionScript 3.0 is the language used to program interactive Flash content. Where this content goes and how you can build it is the subject of the following section.
ActionScript 3.0 is a well-organized, mature language that shares much of its syntax and methodologies with other object oriented, strongly typed languages, so an experienced programmer can readily pick it up. Don't fear, though, for this book introduces ActionScript from the bottom up and starts gently.
If you've used Flash before but never ActionScript, you might know that you can build content for Flash Player without ActionScript—but without ActionScript, Flash is just an animation tool (though, admittedly, a good one). ActionScript is necessary when you want to create Flash content that is highly dynamic, responsive, reusable, and customizable. Here's just a short list of the many things you can accomplish using ActionScript:
Playing audio and video
Loading data such as XML files
Responding to user events such as mouse clicks
To get the most out of ...