I recently installed Flash CS4 and for the most part I welcome and like the changes. One of the things I absolutely despise is the new help system. In CS3 you could press F1 and get the good ole help window where you could search for whatever you needed help on and it would be displayed right inside of Flash. The new help system is… different.
And very annoying. Now, when you press F1, you get taken to an online help system that at least looks promising at first. I type in my help string (let’s say for the sake of argument it’s NetStream) and press Enter. The first thing that pops up is NetStream in Flex 3 which is not what I want (although it may be the same as the NetStream in AS3, I want to get to the AS3 NetStream class not the one that sits in Flex. There is then a refine results area where I can click on ActionScript 3.x (is there sub-versions of AS3???) and it then displays the result I’m looking for. I then again have to click on the result to get to where I originally wanted to go in the first place. This is HIGHLY annoying.
So what if you aren’t online? Well, I haven’t tested this yet, but I read somewhere that if you are not online or your internet connection is not working properly, Flash CS4 reverts to a backup that is stored on your local disk. This help system is essentially apparently the same as the online one just stored locally (so you don’t get updates if they have been made online). Adobe justifies the use of this new system as a better way to get up-to-the-minute updates in help files but couldn’t they just keep the old system and release patches or have an update button somewhere in the Help menu that updates the help for you? This thing is REALLY annoying.
So where do you go from here? Well, I’m not sure if there is any way to get the old help system back (if there is, please for the sake of life comment here and tell me how to do it) but you can go online and hit up the AS3 language reference, although that isn’t searchable but does display all the classes for quick reference like the old help system did. The AS2 version of that (if you’re still into that sort of thing) is here and is searchable but takes forever to load (and by forever I mean like 4 seconds, way too long for me in this day and age :P).