Macromedia Flash has progressed far beyond its humble roots. When Flash was initially released, the appeal was based on little more than the advantage of having resolution-independent interfaces and animations download quickly over the Internet. Early users were wowed merely by the ability to implement interactive buttons without the need to program.
In the context of the Web at the time, that was hot stuff, and it started something of a revolution. Now Flash is all but the de facto Internet multimedia standard. As such, people of just about every discipline, from former print graphic designers and HTML programmers to teachers and lawyers, are getting interested in using Flash to bring their visions of Internet paradise to life.
Many of those new to Flash are in for a rude awakening because in order to be competitive on the increasingly sophisticated realm of the Web, Flash files frequently require significant Flash programming (ActionScript). Although ActionScript's genesis was also relatively humble, the scripting language for Flash has evolved into something that is often beyond the means of many beginners to learn in a short amount of time.
Components are the answer to this dilemma. Components allow Flash users to implement functionality that is based on advanced ActionScript without the need to actually work with the ActionScript. While components are not always a comprehensive solution to every conceivable requirement, they can, at the very least, provide significant shortcuts toward the required ends.
Components can also be very useful for advanced Flash users as well as beginners. For advanced programmers, components offer the ability to implement necessary functionality quickly and easily—allowing the programmers to focus on something else.
Anyone who is even half serious about working with Flash should learn to utilize components. This book is for anyone who wants to learn how to leverage components to work more effectively and efficiently. The book introduces you to using various types of components. It also shows you how to create components. If you are completely new to components, I recommend that you read the first few chapters before moving to more advanced chapters.
If you are familiar with components and you are interested in some of the specific components featured in this book, there is no reason why you cannot skip ahead to those chapters.
Each chapter features one or more components that you'll find on the accompanying CD. I recommend that you copy these files to your local computer so that you can save any changes and so that you can test any changes that you make.