Lots of books call themselves ‘essential’ but very few of them live up to that claim. This is an exception to the rule. ‘Essential ActionScript 3.0’ is exactly what it says: whether you are a beginner who wants to learn ActionScript from the ground up or an old hand who needs an authoritative reference work, look no further - this is it! I should probably add, however, that this is big and complex book and even though it is suitable for a programmer moving to ActionScript from some other language it may be intimidating to somebody with little or no previous programming experience.
There was a time when ActionScript might have been described as a ‘simple’ language used for controlling animated graphics using Adobe’s Flash. While it is still at the programming heart of Flash, ActionScript 3.0 is now a fully fledged object oriented language of considerable complexity. If you want to create Internet applications using Adobe’s Flex framework or desktop applications using the new AIR framework, you will need to master ActionScript.
Colin Moock’s book guides you through all the fundamental features of ActionScript programming - how to write classes and create objects, how to use instance and static methods, statements, operators and event-handing. It then moves on to explore the inner workings of the language and the standard Flash libraries, explaining how to manipulate bitmaps and vector drawing, animation, text input, display hierarchies and more.
It’s probably worth pointing out that this book operates primarily within the ‘world’ of Flash, not of Flex or AIR. In other words, the programs mainly deal with graphics and animation rather than with controls, data and operating system integration. Put another way, the packages used by the programs are generally imported from ‘flash’ rather than from ‘mx’ (the Flex ‘namespace’). If the specifics of the Flex framework are your main interest, you may need some other book in addition to this one. I say ‘in addition to’ rather than ‘instead of’ for the simple reason that, whether you are principally interested in programming Flash graphics or Flex controls, you will need a solid grounding in the ActionScript language. And, for that, this book really is the essential guide.