By Rich Shupe
24 August 2009


User level

This article contains excerpts from Learning Flash CS4 Professional, which offers beginners and intermediate Flash developers a unique introduction to the latest version of Adobe Flash. This book will help you master the new Flash CS4 motion editor, integrated 3D system, and character control with the new inverse kinematics animation system.
Learning Flash CS4 Professional is aimed at Flash designers and developers who are picking up Flash CS4 Professional for the first time, as well as users upgrading from prior versions who are looking to acquaint themselves with the version's new features. No prior experience with Flash is necessary to enjoy this book, as you learn the Flash interface from the ground up, but there are plenty of new features of which veteran Flash designers and developers can take advantage.
The printed book is available through most major online and retail bookstores worldwide, and can be read online at Safari Books Online. For more information visit the O'Reilly store.
Learning Flash CS4 Professional © 2009 Rich Shupe. Reproduced by permission of O'Reilly Media Inc. All rights reserved.

ActionScript 3 basics

ActionScript 3 is the internal programming language that Flash designers and developers use to add interactivity to projects. Sometimes a linear progression through the Timeline with animations that never vary is not enough. ActionScript can add variety, randomness, and user input and control to the mix.

Flash components

Components are wondrous little widgets that add functionality to your projects with little to no programming required. Used by ActionScript neophytes and veterans alike, their feature sets range from simple to complex. Usually, they contain a graphical front end and integrated code to assist in or complete their purpose. However, code-only components are also sometimes used as ActionScript libraries to expand the capabilities of the language.

Audio in Flash

Audio has long been an important part of the Flash world for designers and developers alike. From MP3 jukeboxes to presentation voice-overs and sound effects, audio is as much a part of some Flash files as the vectors on which they are based. Of course, used injudiciously, sound can be an annoyance. However, well-planned sound can add a lot to games, applications, and demos.

Publishing and deploying a Flash application

In this chapter, you'll publish a SWF and a host HTML file that will run in your friendly neighborhood web browser. As an added bonus, you'll also create an Adobe AIR desktop application that wraps the portfolio into one neat little package. You can download the AIR app and run it locally or even leave a copy behind at job interviews.

Where to go from here

To learn more about Flash CS4 Professional, be sure to visit the getting started section of the Flash Developer Center and review the Flash Learning Guides, which cover ActionScript 3, animation, components, graphic effects, and video.
Also check out the Learning Flash CS4 companion website for the book.
Finally, read excerpts of Learning ActionScript 3, the author's companion book, which gives an overview of object-oriented programming, the display list, and programmatic motion.