It’s entirely possible, of course, to produce Flash content without ActionScript. Even if not interactive, such content typically bears the visual distinction of compelling custom artwork, which is why the Flash authoring tool has appealed to designers and developers alike for years. When ActionScript does enter the equation, the creative possibilities extend even further, occasionally venturing into territory that, in recent years, has become the mainstay of Flex; namely, Rich Internet Applications (RIAs). When you develop content that requires sophisticated user input—for example, when input text fields aren’t enough, and you need radio buttons, combo boxes, and the like—the Components panel becomes your genie in a bottle. The Flash CS4 Professional ActionScript 3.0 component set, introduced in Flash CS3, is easier to skin and use, and performs more efficiently, than ever before.
Out of the box, the Components panel (Window→Components) offers a handy number of predesigned
components—often informally called
widgets or controls—that provide
a wide range of features without the need for complicated programming. In
ActionScript 3.0 documents, these components are divided into two
categories: User Interface (UI) and Video, as seen in Figure 9-1. The UI group
contains numerous components comparable to HTML
<form> elements, such as
Button component differs from button ...