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FLASH deconstruction

Todd explains ActionScript so well I dare one of those dummies books to explain it better! By Adam Bell
Over the past few years, I've read a lot of books on Flash Design and specifically on ActionScript, the language used to create the majority of the interactivity used in creating Flash applications. Most of the books I've read try to explain ActionScript but usually do so leaving you even more confused than before.

That's not the case with Flash deConstruction, a new book by one of the true leaders of the Flash movement, Todd Purgason of SoCal design studio Juxt Interactive. For years, Purgason has been speaking at numerous conferences on the benefits of using Flash as a Design tool. (Including with this author at the last PROMAX/BDA conference in June 2001.) However, in this book Todd explains ActionScript so well I dare one of those Dummies books to explain it better!

Todd actually takes the time to deconstruct various websites Juxt has created for its' clients (without giving away too many secrets.) and goes through the entire process step-by-step, piece-by-piece. In what has to be a first, Todd actually compares creating ActionScripts to ordering burgers at a fast-food joint! (You've got to get the book for that to make sense.) He also does an excellent job explaining how to use Flash 5's often confusing XML object. While Todd agrees with me that there are flaws in the current version of the XML object. (I tried it on one project for dynamic headlines and it was slow and a RAM killer) he explains why it's so buggy but also showcase its' true potential by explaining how it was used in the making of an online movie clip maker where users could make their own Flash videos and then send the finished product to friends. I like the fact that Todd explains how to use the XML object to connect with programming languages from Perl to PHP and beyond. Very cool and I'm glad Todd thought of everything.

Another area I like is in the back where in the Appendix, Todd explains all sorts of bugs and shortcoming in the first versions of Flash 5 and also in the current releases of Flash 5 for the Mac and PC. Usually most of us gloss over the Appendix in most books, but this is one time where I would recommend this a must read. In fact, you might read this section first over everything else!

In addition to the examples, Purgason has interviewed a number of the top Flash experts including Hillman Curtis, Josh Ulm, Joshua Davis and Brendan Dawes to mention just a few. In a sense, you've got the New Masters of Flash without actually buying the New Masters of Flash book! (Not that it's a bad book or anything.....Just not as good as this one.)

There is no CD-ROM in this book. Instead Todd has placed all the source files online at for all to download even if you don't purchase the book. However, this is one of the best Flash books I've acquired in the past year and as a result, if you're going to plunk down 45 bucks for a book on Flash, this is the definite one to get.

-- Adam Bell

FLASH deconstruction
by Todd Purgason
New Riders Publishing
$45.00 US/$67.95 CAN

Want to buy it? Click image to see Amazons price.

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Adam Bell is the Design Director, CEO, Videographer and sometimes janitor with ( amazingly not getting plastered in the French Quarter of New Orleans, LA.
Related Keywords:Flash, book, review, Adam Bell


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