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O'Reilly Publishes the Definitive Guide to Actionscript, the New Language for Flash Programmers

May 9, 2001

Sebastopol, CA--Given its ability to deliver high-impact experiences, even over low-bandwidth connections, Flash has become the standard choice for several hundred thousand multimedia web developers worldwide. Flash 5 now includes a new object-oriented programming language called "ActionScript," used to control animation and multimedia within Flash. In his just-released book, ActionScript: The Definitive Guide (O'Reilly, US $39.95), author Colin Moock introduces both programmers and non-programmers to the new language by first describing fundamental programming concepts and then delineating in detail the components, syntax, and usage of ActionScript.

In spite of the predominance of Flash on the web, little has been written about the language used to program Flash. As Moock says, "I really felt that there just wasn't enough information on programming Flash, despite how important it is. I also felt that many books treated the subject too casually, with not enough academic accuracy. I wanted to explore ActionScript in great depth, giving hardcore programmers a solid reference to use written in a language they expect. I also wanted to help new programmers discover the incredible world of building programmatic systems for broad distribution over the web."

ActionScript: The Definitive Guide is divided into three sections, structured so both programmers and non-programmers can learn how to use ActionScript. Section one, "ActionScript Fundamentals" describes fundamental programming concepts, such as variables, loops, conditionals, functions, arrays, event handlers, and objects. Section two,"Applied ActionScript Code Depot" covers the more practical aspects of creating code, like using the authoring environment, debugging, and packaging code in external files or as smart clips. It also covers some applied examples, such as creating online forms. The third section, "Language Reference" is a detailed reference outlining each of ActionScript's global functions, properties, objects, and classes.

"Almost every entry in the reference section has a brief 'real-world' sample, and I dissect many longer examples in the fundamentals section," says Moock. "However, my goal was not to provide a collection of ready-made applications. That approach can obviously be very worthwhile, but I wanted to concentrate more on a full description of the language. People should be able to learn to program by reading the book, not just to customize a guest book or a mouse trailer. As I write in the preface 'This is not a recipe book--it's a lesson in cooking code from scratch.'" Moock provides numerous examples of code on his companion site to the book, The ActionScript Code Depot.

Gary Grossman, creator of ActionScript, calls Moock's book, "The first comprehensive tutorial and reference devoted entirely to the ActionScript language... packed with up-to-date material and leaving no feature unexplored."

ActionScript: the Definitive Guide was written for serious programmers who may not have programmed Flash before, and experienced Flash authors who aren't programmers. Experienced programmers can leverage their JavaScript knowledge while learning Flash-specific intricacies, and web developers can acquire the fundamental tools for creative advanced multimedia web sites.

Colin Moock has been researching, designing, and developing for the web since 1995. He is now a web evangelist for ICE Integrated Communications & Entertainment, where he divides his time between writing about the web, speaking at conferences, and creating interactive content for companies like Sony, Levi's, Nortel, Air Canada, and Hewlett-Packard. Colin's award-winning Flash work and his renowned support site for Flash developers have made him a well-known personality in the Flash developer community. Macromedia has officially recognized his Flash expertise both on their web site and by appointing him a member of their Flash Advisory Board.

What readers have said about ActionScript: The Definitive Guide:

"The best ActionScript book I have ever seen. You would be hard pressed to find more information on ActionScript anywhere else."
--Lavik Lozben, Principal Engineer, Flash 5

"Colin Moock is a giant in the Flash scripting arena--one of the few people qualified to write such a complete, authoritative reference guide to the Macromedia Flash scripting language. He has incredible insight into the inner-workings of ActionScript from a practical point of view, having worked with us to help shape and refine ActionScript."
--Jeremy Clark, MarcoMedia Flash Product Manager

"ActionScript: The Definitive Guide is the complete reference guide, for beginners through to advanced users, always keep it by your side."
--Roy Evans, Flash Player Product Manager

Online Resources: ActionScript: The Definitive Guide
By Colin Moock
May 2001
ISBN 1-56592-852-0, 720 pages, $39.95 (US)

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