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Flash MX Savvy

Books like these offer users to chance to really get to know the software they purchased a lot better By Adam Bell
click on image to buy
Flash MX Savvy
Ethan Watrall & Norbert Herber
Sybex
http://www.sybex.com

$50.00 US/$80.00 CAN
746 pages
click on image to buy
There's a lot of great things to get excited about with the recent introduction of Flash MX. All the new ActionScript changes, the inclusion of video, the usability enhancements, the ability to load external MP3 and JPEG files.....

.....unfortunately, the instruction manual isn't one of them,

Maybe I'm just one of those ol' fuddy-duddies, but I like a comprehensive instruction manual to come with my software. Not a bunch of PDF files that I have to print out for a few hours on my Lexmark. That's no fun.

Enter the 'bibles'. Books like these offer users to chance to really get to know the software they purchased a lot better. Problem is since the introduction of the first 'Bible' series of books, every publishing house figures they better come up with their own series of 'bible' like books to compete in the computer books aisle at Borders or Barnes and Noble.

With that, Sybex recently released their first series of 'Savvy' books which offer enhanced instructions for four very different graphic programs. PhotoShop, Maya, Dreamweaver/Fireworks Studio and Flash MX which is the book I'm reviewing here.

Flash MX Savvy is basically a lengthy introduction to the power that is Flash MX. Offering a series of 'Hands-On' mini-chapters in addition to teaching about the various principles of how to use Flash in its' own environment as well as working together with programs like Freehand, Peak, ProTools, Toast, Swift3D, Amorphium Pro and other apps. (Amazingly, the book doesn't discuss working together with Dreamweaver or Fireworks MX which has always been Macromedia's theory of 'Round-Trip' of web design. In addition, while Freehand collaboration received its' own chapter, Illustrator did not. Illustrator is my vector drawing program of choice and it too can export to SWF like Freehand.)


Additionally, many inspirational websites are offered to let budding designers come up with their own ideas and imaginative concepts from these pieces.

While the book showcases many of the features of how Flash works, it sometimes fails to provide sufficient information on these features. The book especially misses the point on many of the new features of Flash MX. Video compression, a very important and exciting new feature of MX, is only glossed about in a short chapter near the back of the book. Also while new features of MX received a special MX/eyeball icon on the margins of the book, a piece on the new Accessibility panel did not get an icon at all.

This seems to be one of the many problems with all of the 'bible' books. Even though they are super-thick and you've got to have the power of Barry Bonds on tons o' creatine to read books like this, you always leave the table wanting more. That's why I always liked how Friends of Ed divides it's Flash books in various categories yet all books stay as part of the same brand.

Overall, I got the impression from this book that the majority of the book was written during the last days of Flash 5 with a bunch of Flash MX info sprinkled in between the pages. It's not a terrible book at all, but at 50 dollars a copy, I would wait for a discount.

To get the best price on Flash MX click here.
To get the best price on Macromedia MX Studio click here.

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Adam Bell is the Design Director, CEO, Videographer and sometimes janitor with dzign@datatv.com (http://datatv.com/) amazingly not getting plastered in the French Quarter of New Orleans, LA.
Related Keywords:Savvy, Ethan Watrall, Norbert Herber, Adam Bell, ActionScript , Flash MX, Sybex

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