Object-Oriented ActionScript for Flash 8 Review

Original Publish Date: 5/14/2006

Author(s): Todd Yard, Peter Elst
Paperback: 560 pages
Publisher: friends of ED (February 20, 2006)
ISBN: 1590596196
Overall Score: 5/5

I finally decided to take the plunge into OOP after I realized that is where Flash is headed. With the advent of ActionScript 3.0 around the corner (or out now if you’re already dabbling in it), you just know that everything is soon going to be class based. This book is a great start to your journey, as someone who originally started to read Colin Moock’s Essential ActionScript 2.0 will tell you. It is a LOT easier to read than EA2.0 as I’m not well versed on theory nor do I, at least at this point, really care that much about it. I’m one of those people who want to dive in and learn the syntax/usage, and then I’d like to figure out where it all stems from, not the other way around as it just makes it harder for me to learn that way.

The beginning chapters are great and teach you very much about the basics of OOP. If you’re an experienced programmer, you honestly probably won’t get much out of this book as this would all be stuff you already know. If you’re a beginner, however, this is perfect for you. As a pro (and a con on some level) of this book, some of the pages explain how to set up the document before you work on it. This is good for people who are new to Flash, but in my eyes if you’re new to Flash you shouldn’t be reading an OOP book to start you into programming as this won’t help you really learn the syntax. If you’re using this book, it should be assumed you already know the basic Flash syntax and won’t need to be told how to set the document size (pages 84-92 are basically wasted on setting up a document for coding one of the examples).

There is a chapter on design patterns that is really good and explains their functionality pretty well. One thing to note in this chapter is that it comes kind of early in the book and sometimes (at least for me) it was hard to grasp the whole concept of what the Model View Controller, for instance, was doing because I’m still not thinking in terms of OOP, rather procedural, so I had to go back and re-read some of the design pattern stuff a couple of times to fully understand it (and I’m not sure that I do still to this point, but that’s outside of the scope of this book).

The one knock I have on the book, which really is a non-issue to be honest, but it’s a bit funny to see all the editorial errors through these technical books. It makes you wonder if the editors really read the whole thing or just skim it.

I feel this book definitely gets me ready to move on to greener pastures, a la Essential ActionScript 2.0, which I should now be ready to dive into. I don’t feel like I’m an OOP expert after reading this, but I don’t think that was the main point of the book. Of course, I learn a lot slower than others because I have a design background and no programming background whatsoever, but the book was painless to read and I enjoyed it greatly.

Don’t get me wrong if this review is sounding half negative, the book is essential to anyone getting started with OOP (as I am), and I highly recommend it. I just tend to point out everything I notice and sometimes I don’t always write down all the positives so my reviews seem to lean towards the negative a bit more. In no way does this mean this book is bad, because it really isn’t; it’s a great book.

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