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How did you learn Flash?

Often, I'm asked how I "learned Flash". I don't always know how to answer, since I don't think the way I learned it would work out for others. I also started programming before I even knew Flash existed.

People learning Flash, have a big challenge in finding good material amid all the noise. Some of the material really frustrates me. In fact, I recently had an "argument" with someone who wants to teach the old "on()" event model to high school students, instead of teaching best practices. For a lot of people, ActionScript is their first programming language, and I don't think it's a good idea to teach an outmoded event model that they will have to unlearn before they can make real progress in Flash.

What resources do you point people to, when they're starting out? Do you think there is a shortage of online resources that help people start out, with a solid foundation that prepares them to continue on?

Comments

I knew how to program before I started with flash. I had a pretty good understanding of javascript so it wasn't a big transition for me. I found two really good books and learned from examples. I had a really hard time finding a good resource on the web plus I like highlighting and making notes in books when I learn. It's hard to do that on my monitor.

That's easy: teaching it. When you try to teach someone else, you quickly find out what you don't know. Of course being thrown into a project will help you learn too. People learn different ways: reading the docs, reading books (probably mine is best :) )... but there are lots of ways, just "visually" or "hands on"...

I too started programming with C/C++. So things were quite different when I started using Flash.

I would have not learnt the best practices, if I had not subscribed some good mailing-lists... I guess, I had just read mails for years and later started sharing my knowledge...

Best-practice is relative term, I believe the most used practice is something that's practically useful...Purist might disagree...

There are things which we learn after some experience and learning from our mistakes...But I guess, being in community(mailing-lists, forums) help you make less mistakes..

Oh yeah, Colin's first book (ASDG) was big help but I could get it only after 1-2 years (India was not so cool destination for such books then :))

-abdul

Hi,
I am just learning flash now. I would agree that on-line resources are weak, but there are a few good ones. My favorite is gotoandlearn, and a few others. Also total training does a great job (not free, but worth it!).

I think that my java brackground helps me in actionscript, but without any prior experience in some type of programming, it can be quite tough to pick up.

All in all my self training is going oaky, but I am thinking about taking a serious class on flash.

I hear from old time flash users, that learning flash 4 and keeping up is easier than learning in flash 8. The IDE can be overwhelming, but once you get used to it, it functions good(for me anyway).

People told me to learn from the Flash Tutorial on the Help menu but I think is a bad idea. You might be able to learn some Flash IDE functionalities like the guides but you won't be able to learn anything about the coding best practices. IMHO I think the easiest way to learn Flash/Actionscript is having someone to teach you and keep telling you to code in classes and not timeline scripting. If you already know another object-oriented programming language like JAVA, might be easier to learn Actionscript 2. And I think the hardest part for a pure programmer to understand is the timeline :)

I first knew some pascal/c/c++ back when i was 16, then a friend at school came out with a cool flash 4 demo, it was mindblowing, those where the times when i programmed to make something "visible", that does something. I only know basic programming methods(sorting, searching, sales man, shortest path, backtracking, divide-et-impera, greedy) that i learned in school.

But when flash 5 came out i simply ate it :), the same with flash mx, they were my true flash guides.

I started on flashkit, understanding, modifying and adding, then i was lucky i got my hands on Oreilly - Actionscript 1st edittion by Collin Mock.

It was the SH**t! :)
The best thing to start with was and i think, still is, this book.

Based on previous knowledge of actionscript and c/c++ i started to learn php/java

Then in school, i had a course of FOXPRO 2.6 learning SQL a lot.

Then i used a lot PHPObject from GhostWire, until AMFPHP came out, since then i still did not passed to Flex or to the new features in flash 8 (bitmapdata ... etc)

I am content with : MTASC+SWFMILL+ASDT+ECLIPSE+ANT

together with :
PHP + AMFPHP
RED5 + JAVA
MYSQL

If i need something(components/graphs/charts), i simply buy them, so i create high visual impact, and i impress the customer.

They give me everything i need to create full blown applications.

GOOD luck to everyone that starts/passes by actionscript!

I came to flash from an HTML/JavaScript/PHP background so the immediate jump into ActionScript wasn't too stressful - but understanding OOP was a lot harder for me, particularly the weird ActionScript 1.0 way of doing it! What also made it all harder was that at the time Flash MX/6 had only just been released, no-one else at my company had worked with Flash at that level, very few people around the world were working with Flash 6 OOP so the only resources were a couple of tutorials on the macromedia website. I don't think even Colin Moock's ASDG had come out then!
In a way this was good as I was forced to make just about every single mistake it's possible to make when trying to get flash to do what I wanted it to do - and, as the saying goes, 'an expert is just a fancy name for someone who's made every single mistake it's possible to make in a particular field'!

I started with Flash 5 help files after a friend of mine told me: here you have the timeline, buttons, movie clips, shapes, and so on - I didn't get anything then.

Wanting to learn and make things visible was a key ingredient. I started breathing Flash and speaking ActionScript. Soon after Flash MX came out... that very same friend lend me ASDG.
Also, after some questions posted at FlashKit I started answering other's questions and learned a lot from it. Now I'm a moderator there and help whenever I have the time.

I love reading books, articles, blog posts... learning in general.
A book can be really important, and Moock's are the best! I owe them a lot.

At some point I felt the need to learn some html and JavaScript; PHP, MySQL, ColdFusion, XML, AMFPHP, ...

Learning new things feels soooo good!!

hi ..

Reading books ! friendsodED books helped me alot