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Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars Good but could be better. Time for a second edition/extra content/more distilled?, 19 July 2010
This review is from: Essential ActionScript 3.0 (Paperback)
As other readers have commented, the author does tend to repeat himself in this book. And at times some of the things he covers are so intuitive, you think it's hardly worth covering.
I think this was taken to the extreme in chapter 17, where the author takes nearly 50 pages to cover Namespaces. Right near the end of the chapter you finally get a get useful example (Permisssion Based access) , but if you've worked extensively with Java and XML there's a lot of money for old rope here. By contrast I think in Chapter 19 on Flash Player security, an overview was given and then scenarios were described and solutions given. This was a good chapter. Any repetition done in this way was useful and acted to positively reinforce material.

Part 1 covers the core of ActionScript. I think it does quite a good job of introducing a beginner to the concepts of OO Design. There's a bit of chicken or egg stuff going on with forward references the OO newbie might get thrown by, but on the whole the book does a good job of cross referencing stuff. I would have really appreciated a distilled chapter highlighting the syntactic nuances from a Java developers perspective instead of having to wade through 19 chapters (454 pages) for Part I. (Food for though in a second edition?)

Part 2 (chapters 20-28 - pages 457-818) is more about front-end stuff, displaying content, working with events etc. This is where the most useful stuff was.
The Stage Detector class was a core foundation used in several other places throughout the book, which alone make the book worth the purchase.
Once again unfortunately there was a turn off chapter for me. The Bitmap graphics chapter 26. By about half way through I started skim reading, finding it extremely dull and tedious.

Part 3 Covers 3 chapters on Flash Authoring/ActionScript, an MXML taster and Distributing a class.

Then theres' the Appendix which contains the Virtual Zoo example
- which is used to give people a grounding in OO that gets a final overhaul from part I,
- using the information gleaned mostly from part 2, a front-end attached to it.

The book covers the era of Flex 2/Flash Player 9/Flash CS3 (authoring tool) : So things have moved on a bit since then (Published in 2007).

As the book indicates there is no coverage of Regular Expressions. Not such a biggie for me... But there are also other things like Vectors and Dictionaries, and printing too that aren't covered. If you are looking for more up to date content then ActionScript Bible by Roger Braunstein may be the ticket. (All these are covered in his book. Can't vouch for it's content yet. Next on my list to read - Table of Contents looks good - Published April 2010 - Flash Player 10).
It doesn't cover RSL's (runtime shared libraries either) : see Enterprise Flex Development (also has good section on printing)
Finally it doesn't cover Tween Engines or anything like that too if you are more into gaming/animation. See Keith Peters : AdvancED ActionScript 3.0 Animation or ActionScript for Multiplayer Games and Virtual Worlds (One-Off) -A bit off my radar.

Overall thought it's a pretty lucid text book, with code that is well commented and easy to follow. Apart for the two chapters (17 & 26) I'm happy with the purchase.
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