The Flash community is one of the most prolific and generous of any such collective. Here are a few select resources, grouped into a few categories, to start you on your journey. Take what you need from these sources, and give what you can to the growing community.
It would be impractical, if not impossible, to list all the online resources available to the interested Flash user. However, here are a small number of resources for you to look into. The companion web site for this book, indicated at the end of this list, will maintain a larger list of online destinations, including those contributed by readers.
.9.1.1. Tutorial and open source sites
These superior sites, among many others, help you by developing original tutorials and open source files (as well as hosting contributions from readers, in some cases), all free of charge. Again, the inclusion of just these few sites is in no way a slight to any other generous web sites. Many of the finest gems online can also be found in the blogging community, so be sure to check the blog aggregators later in this list.
Flash Creations (http://www.flash-creations.com)
This list is a subset of resources published by Macromedia. Macromedia's Flash resources are, of course, vast, and searching the main web site can also yield positive results.
Flash Support (http://www.macromedia.com/support/flash/)
Flash Developer Center (http://www.macromedia.com/devnet/flash/)
Flash Learning Guides (http://www.macromedia.com/devnet/flash/learning.html)
Flash Documentation (http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flash/)
Flash Exchange (http://www.macromedia.com/exchange/flash/)
User Group Program (http://www.macromedia.com/usergroups/)
Events Listing (http://www.macromedia.com/cfusion/event/)
.9.1.3. Blog aggregators
The fastest-growing and fastest-moving sources of information on Flash are probably developer blogs. There are far too many to list here, but fortunately, there are two popular Flash-heavy aggregators that collect blog topics from all over the world. Starting your search at one of these sites may result in more targeted hits than if you were to search the Web at large. The Macromedia XML News Aggregator (MXNA) has been included here because Macromedia does not host most of the featured content.
.9.1.4. Companion web site
Be sure to look at the companion web site for this book for updates, errata, additional resources, bonus projects, and more.
- Flash 8 Projects (http://www.flash8projects.com)
Much like online resources, there are quite a few Flash books on the shelves these days. Since their average cost of $40 or more will likely prevent you from buying them all, here are my official recommendations for more advanced Flash topics:
ActionScript: The Definitive Guide (O'Reilly)
Affectionately known as ASDG, this book is exactly what it saysthe definitive guide for ActionScript. The author, Colin Moock (http://www.moock.org), is a very well respected ActionScript guru. Although the current edition of this book, ActionScript for Flash MX: The Definitive Guide, only covers ActionScript 1.0, it is still an excellent resource for learning ActionScript syntax and deep underpinnings of the language. It covers ActionScript programming in a comprehensive and intelligent way, including a detailed reference section. Keep an eye out for the third edition of ASDG, which is currently in development.
For details on OOP development in ActionScript 2.0, see Colin's latest book, Essential ActionScript 2.0.
Essential ActionScript 2.0 (O'Reilly)
The title says it all. This book covers the in and outs of ActionScript 2.0, including object-oriented design, object-oriented programming, and design patterns. This is a valuable resource for serious scripters. With the impending introduction of ActionScript 3.0, a shift in coding techniques has brought the long-term worth of ActionScript 2.0 into debate. However, there is still significant value in becoming familiar with this version for a variety of reasons, including the maintenance of legacy code, as well as the impending introduction of Flash Lite 2.0 for mobile devices, which will be based on ActionScript 2.0.
Flash Hacks (O'Reilly)
Sham Bhangal's Flash Hacks is a fun and informative exploration of a wide variety of Flash-related topics, from animation to ActionScript. You'll learn how to optimize content and code, protect your SWF files from prying eyes, simulate 3D, and more. This is a great resource to bring beginners up to speed with the larger Flash universe and to reinvigorate the creative spark in more experienced developers.