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on January 22, 2003
I bought Colin Moock's previous book (on flash 5) the day it was released because as an investor of many other sub-standard flash books, I knew the one from O'Reilly (the book's publisher) would be the most valuable. Without fail, "Actionscript: A Definitive Guide" blew me away. Not only was his book extremely informative, but his writing style was conversational, concise, and accessible. Though I had experience with actionscript, my background wasn't in programming, so it was nice to have an "in" to the advanced features of actionscript with Moock's example scripts and corresponding explanations. After a few months of employing the ideas and concepts found easily in Moock's first book...I felt like I finally had a firm grip on Flash 5...
Then Flash MX was released. Immediately I bought it and quickly transitioned myself into the new work enviornment (love it). Then I read up on all the new features...and thought to myself...I wish Colin would write a book for Flash MX's is way more powerful...and more complicated...
He did. It took longer than my patience would have liked...but the wait was well worth it...and the book explains its own delay...IT IS HUGE. Almost twice the size of the first edition...and that's because almost every chapter is edited, has new important explanations and the same easy-to-understand commentaries and examples. Indeed there are entirely NEW chapters...that specifically discuss new immensely more powerful Flash MX actionscript features. Also, all the appendices are new and updated (I frequently use them).
If you own Flash MX and you want to be a serious flash developer with serious marketable skills, BUY THIS BOOK above all--it is a REAL REFERENCE tool--something you will keep on your desk next to your mouse. Nothing is left out except some add-in features (like comm server and UI components) which you can get plenty of info on at macromedia's website. You can also frequent colin's website ( where he posts hundreds of additional tips, book errata info, and flash downloads.
I garentee "Actionscript for Flash MX" will become the best investment you made outside of the Flash MX application least until flash 7 is released! If you learn the concepts in this book, you will be able to create anything you or your client can imagine. In the end, that could mean lots of money or lots of fun...or both! Enjoy!
And by the it at's almost 20 bucks cheaper than the bookstores.
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on January 6, 2003
If there is one book that I would recommend for Flash, this would be it. The content is both thorough and well considered.
(Warning though - do not try to read it all in a week. Your head is certain to explode.)
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on April 2, 2004
This book claims to be "The Definitive Guide," but it contains not a single word about ActionScript to support Flash Remoting. For example, where's the discussion of NetServices.createGatewayConnection()? For help in writing ActionScript to interact with a database, you will have to consult another reference source.
The author has an annoying writing style in which he repeatedly refers to "we," as in: "When we export...a .swf file from a .fla file, we can incorporate...." Sometimes, though, he switches to "you," as in: "To append or insert script text instead of replacing it, you must manually copy and paste...." What we/you need here is a good edit.
Aside from the two criticisms addressed above, I'd rate this book as average in quality in completeness, clarity, and accuracy. Code samples work. The index is a bit thin. Some of the more complicated topics (e.g., "Move Clip Subclasses and Components") could have been enhanced through the use of additional examples.
As an O'Reilly book, this book is below average in quality.
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on March 15, 2003
This book is a gem. For new-to-programming or experienced programmer alike, this book will be undeniably useful.
Colin teaches you how to program in Actionscript. Infact, little in this book can be simply copy and pasted into your project... That's the beauty!
Unique flash solutions as with anything, created by fresh, intelegent minds with an appreciation of the tools they have to work with. Colin teaches you the subtle aspects of Macromedia Flash and it's powerful scripting language.
He uses generic programming terminology and introduces and explains them for the new programmer. This is very, very important for new programmers who wish to move themselves at some point across to another language.
Since leanrning Actionscript with Colin (Beginning of 2003) I have moved into learning PHP/MySQL. And thanks to Colin I can happily browse through the functions list or the language reference and have a pretty good idea what I'm reading.
Not for the unthinking-quickdraw type, this book is for thinkers and I give it 110% for optimising the time you spend reading/studying it vs. the results you get.
As for myself, productivity on generic flash websites has doubled, and the quality of the websites has also. Actionscript is developing with each release of Flash and will turn from being a designers-only tool to a programmers-who-can-design tool.
So all you designers out there - get studying!
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on March 10, 2003
We are using Flash as the UI on an "avionics-grade" project. When I came on the project I knew I would be using every aspect of ActionScript - from simple 'ifs' and 'loops' to the low-down dirty details of the XMLSocket object - and I would need an "avionics-grade" reference. I read the reviews and Mr. Moock's book was highly regarded. The book has not disappointed me once - on the contrary, its proved to be the "definitive guide" on more than one very important decision. I have not spent much time in the first half of the book where the basics of Flash are explained, but on occasion I've thumbed up there and found good info. The true productivity-enhancer is the alphabetical class-by-class reference in the second half of the book. Many times a day I come to a decision point in my code, flip to the book's index, find the object I need, scan the object's methods and properties, read more in-depth, discover a previously unknown tidbit of AS knowledge, and return to my code with the feeling that an informed decision is about to be made. If you are going to be doing hard-core ActionScripting I would advise you to buy this book and place it opposite your mouse.
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on March 4, 2003
Extremely readable book. I'm a graphic/web designer with plenty of non-scripting experience with Flash. I've had several failed attempts at learning programming/scripting (Perl, PHP and Javascript, primarily) so many of the basic concepts were familiar to me. For me, perhaps tying the scripting in with something I already know well will be what I need to retain the material. Time will tell.
My only wish/want/desire for this book, and this is picking at nits, is to have more to do - more exercises - especially for some of the more complex concepts. I was not inspired to replicate every little chunk of code embedded in the explanations and test it in Flash. Through some of the longer stretches (esp. between the first and second versions of the quiz exercise) I found my eyes glazing over a couple times. But I'm still giving this book five stars because the Language Reference (over half the book's 1000+ pages) will prove to be invaluable over time, I'm sure.
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on March 19, 2003
This book is primarily an obvious purchase because of the extremely cretinous policy driving Macromedia's manual publications. Much of what is in this book belongs in Macromedia documentation.
Like all reference texts (really dictonaries for language learners) this book is not for beginners. Unless you have some experience with program design, you are unlikely to learn how to assemble even a reasonable suite of code from the text. That's not a criticsm of the text - it just isn't written for that market.
Almost every language construct gets a piece of exemplar code to illustrate calls and side effects. Even the OO side of things, such as it is in Actionscript, gets played out.
This is a fine book and the sheer labour involved in fiddling with every function is a credit to the author's resilience.
If you are actually programming in Actionscript rather than merely mooning over the nice Flash UI, then this book will be very useful.
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on March 5, 2003
Instead of filling a review full of badly phrased superlatives describing how good this book was for me, take it as given that this was the perfect book for my type of Flash usage, that way you can gauge how useful you might find the book by our similarities.
I write applications and little games in Flash, I also enjoy experimenting with Flash for no other real purpose than to satisfying my curiosity. I'm not an amazing programmer (in my opinion) but I do it every day and although I like to think I'm getting better, I always like to read the BEST way (out of the many) of getting something done in Flash.
I use many online forums to help me along and, until discovering the reference section in this book, often found the best help to be in Flash's own help file.
I have other books on Flash and it's usage and currently have this one closest to my computer :) I HIGHLY recommend it.
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on November 23, 2003
I've been using Flash now for about three years and have got more and more into the programming/development aspect. I'm an active part of the Flash communities and had heard a lot about Colin through the forums, which prompted me to buy his book. I consider it a must for anyone who is serious about developing applications within the Flash environment from the very beginner to expert. His style of writing makes it easy to quickly get to grips with even the most complicated areas of actionscript 1. I always keep the book within arms length of my computer as the thorough language reference section regularly provides me with not just ways of doing things, but explains best practices and why.
I have bought quite a few instructional books particularly relating to Flash and this is the best by a mile, it makes the price tag seem very good value indeed.
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on February 28, 2003
As a flash developer, I can't praise this book enough. Though I've used the Macromedia Actionscript Reference that came with Flash 5 since its release, when Flash MX didn't ship with a similar paper manual, I struggled with the Macromedia electronic actionscript reference for a while, and ended up purchasing this book. I was pleasently surprised at how much better Moock's reference is. All the notes, examples, and bugs for each entry that simply can't be found in Macromedia's version make this book indispensable. I estimate from the 'bugs' sections in the reference alone, I've saved myself a hundred hours of wasted time and frustration. Beyond the reference area, this book contains 17 chapters of content that even the most advanced actionscripters could learn a thing or two from. Seriously, this book is worth its selling price many times over.
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