More than an actionscript introduction!
Although this book is ostensibly a "beginner" book on flash actionscript (no previous programming experience necessary), i got more out of this book than you can imagine, and i'm not done with it yet. i've already got a few favorite pages that i come back to again and again. what struck me right off the bat was that this book wasn't code-heavy, but had much more in the way of explanations than most books, which was exactly what i have been seeking for a long time now. then, as i got into it, i realized this book was changing my whole way of thinking about coding with flash actionscript, and it's because of their heavy stress on "modular" coding techniques. the authors call it "black box" programming and making "building blocks" of code. it's really encapsulation. whatever you want to call it, they back it up with solid examples. the demonstration of the apply() method on pages 360 and 361 was alone worth the price of the book! on pages 308 and 309, there's an example of making a movie clip containing video controls that you can just drag and drop into any movie, and bingo! you've got a set of controls for that movie (play, stop, pause, fastforward, rewind). again, the idea is that if you build something once, you should be able to reuse it, with minor tweaking here and there. chapter 10, games & sprites, is really cool! there's a fully functioning "zapper" arcade-type video game with a complete explanation of the rationale behind how something like that is designed and coded, and what variables should be global, which ones belong on _root, and which should stay local to each object (all of the examples in the book can be downloaded from the publisher's website, btw. in fact, you can download the examples even if you haven't yet bought the book). although a lot of the stuff in the earlier chapters is very basic, taking you through stuff like variables, arrays, loops, conditionals, etc, the stress on modularity is woven throughout. the main idea that you come away with (certainly the central idea of the book) is that it's worth the time it takes to design and plan something modularly. even though at first it does take longer, in the end you wind up with something that's way easier to modify. now, i say all that from my own perspective, and i'm probably an intermediate level programmer. so maybe the stuff i'm saying about this book and it's stress on modularity would be old hat to a pro. i don't know. then again, i've got about 8 books on actionscript, each one having stuff unique to itself, and this one has things in it that just aren't to be found in the others. all through the book, there's also an ongoing project for building a modular flash website. i haven't gotten into working along with that yet, but i'm sure i will eventually (i've had the book about a month). in any case, they add a little more to the project at the end of each chapter, so that it progresses into more advanced stuff at about the same pace as the rest of the book. there's a basic introduction to classes and oop in the last chapter. it should be understood that it's not extensive, and that's not the focus of this book anyway. it does tie in with the stress on modularity, and there's good explanations of when and how you might use classes in your programming. but if want material specifically about classes, there are other books that make that their focus. to sum up: i would recommend this book for beginner to intermediate programmers. although much of the stuff in the earlier chapters will probably be a rehash of what you already know, the stress on modularity is there from the beginning, and there is good material throughout. if you've heard about modular code and code reuse, but never really seen good examples of it, open this book to some of the pages i mentioned above (308, 356, 360, 361, 364) and see if any of it registers an "aha" moment. also, if you're looking for a bit less code and lot more explanation about techniques, get this book. i also recommend "foundation actionscript animation: making things move" by keith peters, from the same publisher.