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The ActionScript 3.0 Quick Reference Guide: For Developers and Designers Using Flash: For Developers and Designers Using Flash CS4 Professional (Adobe Developer Library) [Paperback]

David Stiller , Rich Shupe , Jen deHaan , Darren Richardson
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

27 Oct 2008 0596517351 978-0596517359 1

"No matter what your background, the pages that follow will provide you with some excellent knowledge, insight, and even a little bit of wisdom in the realm of Flash and ActionScript. Happy learning!"-- Branden Hall, from the Foreword

Written by Flash insiders with extensive knowledge of the technology, this guide is designed specifically to help Flash designers and developers make the leap from ActionScript 2.0 to the new object-oriented ActionScript 3.0 quickly and painlessly. Formatted so you can find any topic easily, ActionScript 3.0 Quick Reference Guide explains:

  • Object-oriented programming (OOP) concepts, such as packages and classes
  • ActionScript 3.0 features and player enhancements that improve performance
  • Workflow differences between ActionScript 2.0 and ActionScript 3.0 including tools, code editing, component sets, and image and font rendering
  • Where did it go? A guide to help you find familiar features in ActionScript 3.0, such as global functions, operators, properties, and statements
  • How do I? Step-by-step solutions for performing tasks with ActionScript 3.0, including input, sound, video, display, events, text, and more

Also included are overviews of Flash and ActionScript features and workflows. ActionScript 3.0 is a huge upgrade to Flash's programming language -- and this guide helps you upgrade your skills to match it.

Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Adobe Developer Library; 1 edition (27 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596517351
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596517359
  • Product Dimensions: 22.7 x 15.6 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,079,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Authors

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Product Description

About the Author

David Stiller is a resident author at (over 50 articles), co-author of Foundation Flash CS3 for Designers (friends of ED) and contributor to How to Cheat in Adobe Flash CS3 (Focal Press). He blogs regularly at and is a longtime regular on the Adobe Flash and ActionScript support forums.

Rich Shupe is the co-author of Learning ActionScript 3.0 (O'Reilly) and has been teaching ActionScript programming to students of all levels since the language became available. He founded his own training and development company, FMA, in 1995 and is a faculty member of New York's School of Visual Arts' Computer Art Dept. He writes about ActionScript at

Jen deHaan is a software quality engineer on the Flash authoring team at Adobe Systems, Inc. She is an author and co-author of 17 books (and tech editor for several others) over the past five versions of Flash. Jen's latest blog is at

Darren Richardson is a technical editor for O'Reilly Media. He gained high visibility among Flash and ActionScript developers by writing over 50 articles for Web Designer Magazine and community-related sites. He can be found on a nearly daily basis blogging at

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome handbook 12 Dec 2009
It's not that there aren't typos, or even erroneous code snippets into that title; there are, albeit just a few.

But it's as simple as this: whether you are a newcomer to the Flash world, or an experienced ActionScript 2.0 developer - like me - that book is a life-saver during your trip into the world of ActionScript 3.0.

Yes, "Essential ActionScript 3.0" is great, and "ActionScript 3.0 Cookbook" is very useful and I use them both continuously; but "The ActionScript 3.0 Quick Reference Guide" is indispensable and, if I had to choose only one title among those three, that would be the one. Deserves every penny spend buying it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Before I bought this book I had read the AS3 Cookbook (nice, but very much geared towards Flex) and Moock's Essential AS3 (huge, and sometimes it's like a brick to read as well; I don't design such complex projects), and this book fits my needs as of now very nicely. I pull it up on the commute, and I have got the "finally I understand this!" (OOP, Classes...) several times while reading this book. Recommended!
Those migrating from AS2 should perhaps start near the end of the book, as it clarifies (did for me anyway) some very important things about framscripting do's and don'ts in AS3. Why near the end?
The real disappointment, and actually I feel cheated about this, is in the title "for developers using Flash CS4". The release of this book coincided with Adobe's launch of Flash CS4, but as far as I can see this book contains NOTHING about the new ActionScript features introduced in CS4, like simple 3D and audio handling. This book is for CS3, but everything applies here for CS4 as well (of course). I was looking for the freshest stuff on how to deal with the new features, but this manuscript is not new, and has not been updated to reflect new features in CS4. This is why I pull at least one star.
There are also annoying typos which makes some examples throw errors.

Despite this: my general impression is that it's well written (english is not my first language) and enlightning.
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1.0 out of 5 stars rubbish 18 Feb 2011
This book should be called "Explaining ActionScript 3 for developers and designers who have done a lot of work with ActionScript 2 and are really struggling trying to upgrade"

This is not a quick reference. It is verbose and is written in an irritatingly colloquial fashion, check this out from early on:

"Part I seats you comfortably in the ActionScript 3.0 bistro, offers to take your
coat, and gives you a free basket of fresh bread, hot from the oven. You'll get
drinks, of course, and be presented with a menu that unveils the variety of
tools you can use while exploring ActionScript 3.0. Specials include the Flash
authoring tool and Flash Player 10, with a dash of Flex Builder 3. You'll also
see a few third-party script editors."

I don't know about you but I'd want to be at the magazine rack for a quick reference, not sat down for a long lunch.

I hope O'Reilly eventually publish a nutshell on AS3. I was really hoping this would be nearer to something like a nutshell which is maybe why I am so disappointed.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable, Fun, Good Code, a Must-Have 21 Dec 2008
By margot - Published on
I was browsing at Borders at Park Ave and 57th, where they had exactly one copy of this. I'd heard of this book but hadn't seen it yet--it was announced over the summer but O'Reilly kept delaying publication so the book could be current with Flash CS4. I looked up a few items in the ToC and index, and went straight to the checkout queue. I had to have this book right away! even if Amazon could sell it to me cheaper!

Okay, why is the book good? I've spent more time with it now. I'll give you my three biggest reasons:

1) It's readable. It really is. It's friendly and accessible. Did you ever enjoy those juvenile histories and biographies and How-and-Why science books that started out with something like, "Hi! This is a fun book, and we're going to take you on a fun journey, step-by-step. This is a great subject to be interested in! Aren't you happy? Well, we are!!!"?

Well, did you like books like that? I did, and I've always resented scholarly and technical books that didn't introduce themselves along those lines. So many of them are written like resentful documentation: "Go away. We hate you. This is only for ugly, squirrelly, socially backward people like US."

This book is overtly addressed to users of ActionScript 1.0 and 2.0, and those already using 3.0; to artists, designers, and developers of all stripes. It's all-inclusive. Like Rich Shupe's Learning ActionScript 3.0, it has a friendly, hand-holding attitude that goes through the length of the book.

2) A personal obsession: this book has a good section on how to write XML loaders that use HTML. This is a very poorly documented area of Flash. The ActionScript 3.0 Cookbook had a little bit on it, but the explanation was hard to follow and the code was buggy.

3) Another personal interest: SWF loaders and unloaders. This is the first book I've seen that tells you how to unload both the thing loaded and the "event listener" that keeps sitting there, using up processor time and space.

The book is also current with the less traditional Flash-related technologies, such as FlashDevelop and Flex.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Transitioning to AS3 19 Nov 2008
By Paul Elwood - Published on
Rich Shupe & crew have made a terrific guide for transitioning from AS2 to AS3. Their examples are clearly written, typically showing code written in both versions and pointing out the advantages of AS3 by comparison. Speaking as someone who uses flash as a designer primarily, his book as gone a great way towards making AS3 a lot less intimidating. Great job, highly recommend it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The title doesn't do justice to this amazing book 23 July 2010
By Alex Kiriako - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Flash/Actionscript has been in a constant change of flux, not only with new versions of the Flash IDE every year or two, but with a complete revamp into ActionScript 3.0. Even accomplished programmers first attempting to work with ActionScript 3.0 will face daunting roadblocks with mediocre IDEs, awful debuggers and disorganized documentation - all varying across multiple versions.

Also very discouraging is the vast amount of garbage on the web for Flash and AS3 programming. With approximately 3 million flash programmers (according to Adobe) the internet has tons of worthless and very confusing material to wade through to find useful answers. Which means if you're like most developers, and expect to use the internet to find answers to complex language and IDE issues you're frequently going to find yourself out of luck with respect to Flash and AS3.

That's where this book comes in. The authors have explained the history and structure of not only ActionScript but the various IDEs and available editors - clearly and simply. Frankly its been a god send towards my becoming effective as an ActionScript programmer. That's why I believe anyone working on their own to learn ActionScript for Flash and Flex will find no better alternative for navigating the extremely noisy legacy of Flash and ActionScript. For example, the Adobe migration guide from AS2 to AS3 doesn't hold a candle to the work of these authors for comprehensive clarity.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone learning AS3 after they've read something like "Learning ActionScript 3.0" by Rich Shupe and Zevan Roosser. The same goes for anyone transitioning from AS2 to AS3. In my opinion, this book sets new conceptual standards Adobe should be using for all their future language documentation. If you're past the first stages of trying to learn AS3 spare yourself ongoing grief and read this book cover to cover. It's that good.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The one book to finally help me understand migrating to AS3 18 Mar 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Let me start by saying that I've been using Flash for about 7 years, and most of them as a graphic artist. I was originally drawn to Flash because of its ease to make animations and its vector capabilities for the web. Over time, I kept experimenting with ActionScript 2 and though it was a struggle for a while as I come from a purely print oriented graphic design background, I eventually became very proficient at developing ActionScript 2 movies, using it to simulate some complex pharmaceutical packaging and manufacturing machines,their interfaces, and other procedures for training modules. Thus, I was extremely excited when I learned about the revamped ActionScript 3, which was to bring much better performance to the Flash Player and allow more creativity and give us better tools to develop Flash content. And then I got CS3, bought my first CS3 book (the Flash ActionScript 3.0 Bible), and I hit the wall. Suddenly, rather than just assign an action to a button using the onPress event for it, I had to learn the new Event Listener model. Suddenly, every book and resource I read about AS3 went on and on about Packages, Public vs Private variables, Class files, and all sorts of very intimidating terms. I decided that AS3 wasn't for me and kept publishing AS2 movies.

So, I recently got into a situation that I had to deliver an AS3 Flash movie and I was panicking. I decided to buy this book out on a hunch and wow it's been the best investment in a development book that I've ever done! Right off the bat, the author starts explaining why AS3 works the way it does, how AS2 was a stepping stone into the realm of AS3, and best of all, he explains how to transfer accumulated AS2 knowledge and experience to AS3 development. That is probably the most valuable detail about this book; not just that the author can teach the user AS3, but that he can teach AS2 veterans that have been avoiding AS3 like the plague how to transfer all of their know-how into AS3 magic.

So yea, I had avoided AS3 like a plague since the release of CS3. This book taught me how to handle it, and now I'm very excited at all the possibilities that AS3 brings; something no other book or web tutotial ever did for me.

Oh, and for what it's worth, even though the author constantly mentions Flash CS4, all of his examples (and the files at the book's website for the examples) work great with CS3.
2.0 out of 5 stars not so useful 14 May 2014
By B Klemz - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have picked up several books on Flash and AS3 and this is the least useful. I love the "AS3 Cookbook", but this quick reference guide has not proven to be quick or a good reference. It will be given to the library.
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