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# 5.13. Calculating the Distance Between Two Points

## Problem

You want to calculate the distance between two points.

## Solution

Create custom `Math.getDistance( )` method.

## Discussion

You can calculate the distance (in a straight line) from any two points by using the ```Pythagorean theorem```. The Pythagorean theorem states that in any right triangle (a triangle in which one of the angles is 90 degrees), the length of the `hypotenuse` (the long side) is equal to the square root of the sum of the squares of the two other sides (referred to as the `legs` of the triangle). The Pythagorean theorem is usually written as:

 a2 + b2 = c2

You can use this formula to calculate the distance between any two points, where `a` is the difference between the points’ x coordinates, `b` is the difference between their y coordinates, and `c` (the distance to be determined) equals the square root of (`a` 2 + `b` 2). In ActionScript, this is written as:

`var c = Math.sqrt(Math.pow(a, 2) + Math.pow(b, 2));`

How do you calculate the distance between two points using a right triangle? While it might not seem immediately obvious, you can form an imaginary right triangle using any two points in the Flash coordinate system, as shown in Figure 5-1. Figure 5-1. The hypotenuse of a right triangle is drawn between two points to calculate the distance between the points

The hypotenuse of the imaginary triangle is formed by the line connecting the two ...

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