Book Review: Page (1) of 1 - 07/20/04 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at page facebook

Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Magic

The video player alone would make this an excellent investment. By Adam Bell
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Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Magic
Michelangelo Capraro, Duncan McAlester, and others
174 Pages
$29.99 US/$42.99 CAN
New Riders Publishing
click on image to buy
As I've mentioned in previous columns, I prefer learning software programs in 'learn as you go' books instead of huge 'bible' like passages.

And while I've found that some of the books in the 'Magic' series of titles from New Riders can be hit or miss, they have usually been hits. And if you can find one killer app in a slim yet powerful book of 12 different projects, it's a steal.

That's the case here with Flash MX 2004 Magic. Overall, I don't find the projects as compelling as the last series of Flash Magic releases (Flash MX Magic and Flash MX Audio Magic) there are still a few that really came out great. The ones most DMN readers will be interested in will be a special video player that plays .flv video files (that have been embedded inside of .swf files) and includes fast forward and rewind capabilities which many of the .flv video players do not include.

Additional projects include the creation of a Navigable 3D Environment, a Pac-Man 80's style maze-game, a sound mixing tool and an informational display system which uses Flash's new Data Grid component that loads an external XML file that displays data. What I really like about this tutorial project is that you get to learn how to properly 'skin' a Data Grid using a style sheet much as you would create a style sheet in a program like Dreamweaver for CSS and web pages or Quark or InDesign for print design.

While these are useful and interesting tutorials, I'm not sure how many of you reading this would be interested in creating applications for Pocket PC's or creating a transparent Flash based ad banner that would actually be placed over the content of a webpage (and you thought that pop-up ads were annoying?!) but these are also included in the book.

The text in these tutorials are short and sweet. You should have some prior knowledge of Flash (even earlier version of Flash) before you start experimenting with these tutorials.

As I mentioned before, while you likely won't use all twelve of these examples for your future designs, I would imagine that the video player alone would make this an excellent investment for videophiles who want to create unique visual presentations for their content without having to outsource or learn tons of ActionScript and guesswork. At just 30 bucks, that's a steal in of itself.

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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:Macromedia, Flash, MX 2004, Magic, New Riders, Adam Bell, video, flv, swf, Michelangelo Capraro, Duncan McAlester

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