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on 27 March 2008
For many designers and developers who use Adobe Flash, the introduction of ActionScript 3 was met with some trepidation. The perceived increase in the complexity of ActionScript 3 code compared to ActionScript 2 - including the belief that you must use Object-Oriented Programming to use AS3 - has led some to decide to stick with AS2. This is unfortunate, as AS3 has a number of advantages over AS2. While AS3 is somewhat more complex than AS2, it is not prohibitively so, and the time required to bring oneself up to speed with AS3 is well rewarded.

"Learning ActionScript 3.0", by Rich Shupe and Zevan Rosser is, overall, a great introduction to AS3. The chapters are well organized, with a quick run-through of some familiar ActionScript concepts and code. If you've written any ActionScript before, you can skip this part, or skim through it just for some reassurance that not everything in AS3 is completely different from what you already know.

The subsequent chapters cover major aspects of ActionScript programming, ranging from graphics to sound and video to loading pretty much any sort of data. For example, the new display list in AS3 is thoroughly and clearly explained; as somebody still relatively new to AS3 I found this to be a pretty significant change to the way I think about Flash, so I appreciated how well the authors covered this part of AS3. And if you think that everything in AS3 only got more complicated, this book is worth it alone for the chapter on working with XML. These and other topics are explained clearly and thoroughly. The authors are both teachers at New York's School of Visual Arts, and their experience as educators shows through in their writing.

A neat aspect of the book is how it gradually transitions you into thinking about Object-Oriented Programming. For many people, the thought of having to do this with AS3 can be pretty scary. Initially, the code samples are meant to be placed right on the timeline. But part way in you get a primer on OOP. The book explains the concepts behind OOP very well, and gives the right amount of information - enough to get you going, but not so much that you'll get scared off at the thought of OOP. The code samples are no longer on the timeline, and suddenly you're working with object-oriented code, and it makes sense.

Those who are already familiar with AS2 will probably get the most out of "Learning ActionScript 3.0". If you're new to programming, and not just new to ActionScript, then this probably won't end up as the primary book you'll use to learn how to code. For example, topics that would normally get their own chapters in a 'learn how to code' book, such as variables, get only a section of a chapter by way of introduction. If you've already done some coding, this will be enough to reassure you that not everything is significantly different in AS3, but if you're new to programming, you might want something that spends a little more time on the basics.

In addition, the book would have benefitted from another round of proofing. There were a few typos that, although minor, were a bit of a distraction. The typos that I came across were pretty minor - nothing that you won't immediately notice, but it's too bad that they're there in the first place. And to be fair, I think I noticed only about a half-dozen throughout the book. (By the by, the errata page at learningactionscript3.com is much more complete than the page on O'Reilly's web site.)

Obviously, if the most significant criticism I can make of this book is that there were a few too many typos for my liking, I think it's a very good book. If you're looking to make the jump into ActionScript 3 coding, "Learning ActionScript 3.0" is a great place to start your education.
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on 23 August 2009
Unfortunately I cannot agree the the enthusiasm shown for this book by other reviewers.

My biggest criticism is the very poor coverage of the syntax of each new part of ActionScript covered. The code examples are too specific and offer no help on how to use them in general.

Good books like this type tend to be either very readable, start to finish like any other good non-fiction work. Or more "manual" like, consult the index - read the section - learn what to do. This book is neither easy to read nor a good reference.

Also it is not an "independent" book. Personally I am a huge fan of Adobe's products, but nevertheless any software as complex as AS3 must have got some things wrong. A few I have since learned about are glossed over or unnecessarily defended.

It is relatively short at 350 pages.

On a positive note, it is beautifully printed in colour (and yes, colour does matter to AS3 code!).

The all time best s/w book I know of is McFarland's Dreamweaver Missing Manual and there are several excellent AfterEffects books by the Meyers. Adobe AS3 desperately needs something of that quality written about it!
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on 29 July 2008
After endlessly searching for a decent AS3 book but having to settle with intermediate to advanced book I found this little gem and started some research. After finding reviews on the flashblog and other resources I decided to go ahead with the purchase.

not only is this book well illustrated in full colour, it also gives you a sense that your learning at a steady pace without feeling like your missing something as you progress.

The online resource site offers all of the files needed to sit and study the chapters in the book closer.

I have also recently embarked on what I thought was a problem with one of the resource files and emailed the support group, I was astonished to get a reply within 15 Minutes, pity that I was being a fool and there was no problem. Non the less the help was amazing.

I can't recommend this book enough for anyone wanting to make the jump from AS2 to AS3 or for anyone completely new to AS3.

Thank you
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on 23 August 2008
This is the best book on Action Script I have read. It doesn't just explain techniques but it explains why things are so. For example, it explains why it's sometimes better to use sprites than movie clips and why you should always remove event listeners when they aren't needed.

I have read Colin Moock's book as well as the ActionScript 3 Bible and the documentation provided by Adobe. To my mind, this book is the best of all because it allows you to start using ActionScript 3 straight away. With a lot of books, you have covered many pages before you do anything useful. This book has you putting stuff on the screen straight away.
I already had knowledge of ActionScript 2 but I would have thought it would be useful to beginners too.
For those who already have some knowledge, it consolidates and adds to what you know.

I really feel quite confident with the language now in a way I didn't before.
It is well supported with downloadable examples from its companion website.

The book has an excellent layout format and makes good use of colour.
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on 4 June 2008
Since I got the new Flash CS3 I browse the web looking for AS3 books to help me in the transition to the new AS3, as a flash designer I found this is the best book you can get, it will let you get your hands dirty very quickly with the new AS3, it explain very nicely how it works and why.

One of the best thing is the online support, you get all the exercises files, and here is a fact I email a question about a piece of code, and got answer 5 min later, yes 5min!!! it cant get better than that, well maybe it was a bit of luck, but in any case is pretty good.

So if you are not a developer, how needs to understand all the fuzz about AS3 and OOP get this book.
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on 10 November 2008
I've got oodles of programming books and I'd put this one up with the best of my collection. It's carefully written to ensure all levels of experience and aptitude are catered for, I'd class myself as somewhere in the intermediates with a decent knowledge of actionscript 2 and I found it enormously useful.

All examples and diagrams make perfect sense, and the explanations they use have actually helped me come to terms with other programming paradigms I'd used but never fully understood.

Thoroughly recommend this one.
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on 27 May 2009
I think this is a very difficult topic to manange, I am a designer who wanted to learn Action Script not a programmer so it was very difficult to find a book that wasn't based on Flex!! I have learnt a lot reading through the book and the downloadable tutorials.
Excellent all round set up and when I had a problem understanding a section Rich Shupe helped me out with an email quickly. I was very happy with his response.
I still have a lot to learn but it is a great resource and enjoy experimenting with the tutorials.
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on 4 June 2009
Written in «cookbook» style, this is a very beautiful composed book with detailed explanations to practical cases and usual problems. I am an advanced user and I use this book for a quick reference for solutions to advanced problems. Complex made easy. Congratulations to the authors.
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on 28 January 2013
...the authors care about words. This is not written by an inarticulate tech-head more interested in showing how clever (s)he can be. The authors have a gentle, dry humour completely appropriate to an instructional text.

I'm OK with AS2; to a limited extent - I design and publish learning materials for UK universities. But always baulked at AS3 - fiddled with it a bit; but got carried away with HTML5, CSS3 and JQuery. A year later I am fully convinced that those admirable technologies cannot achieve what Flash does simply and quickly without fuss.

Yes, Adobe's arrogance irritates me. But they should be much forgiven for pushing AS3 and Air. And the author makes it easy for people with at least some production experience with AS2 to take the first few hesitant steps.
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on 1 August 2013
Not suitable for beginners, does not build understanding of actionscript grammar in a logical way, the examples include lots of code which is not explained properly. I am new to programming and did not find this book useful, I tried actionscript 3.0 a visual guide and was much more impressed. In this book it explains what all code new means and builds knowledge in a more gradual and logical way, much more useful for beginnersActionScript 3.0: Visual QuickStart Guide (Visual QuickStart Guides)
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