Lesson 9. Learning ActionScript Basics
Just because you have Macromedia Flash 8 Basic doesn't mean that you don't have access to one of the most powerful features of Flash. ActionScript is what you use to "make things go," and without it, well, your Flash applications aren't really applications. They're more like pictures at an exhibition: Very nice to look at, but what do they do? Well, if they had ActionScript, they would be calculating sales tax, or reading in information from text fields, or streaming MP3 files from some other location through the Flash Player, and any number of super-cool things that go beyond the scope of just looking pretty.
ActionScript adds life to the Tech Bookstore!
If the term ActionScript makes you tremble, fear not. ActionScript really is about bossing things around. You use it to tell movie clips what to do, to call that neighbor-kid LoadVars and tell him to go get some things for you at the local text file. It's about organizing things. In short, it's nothing radically different from what you do when you give your spouse a shopping list before you send him to the store (men, we know that means us because we can't be trusted at the store alone without a list). You're telling things what to do, in what order, and how. So if you're bossy, ActionScript will be a breeze.
In this lesson, you'll use ActionScript to load in external data. You'll use ActionScript to send data out of Flash as well. What's more, you'll finally get to animate your menus. You won't be using Script Assist in this lesson, so warm up your fingers; you'll have to type ActionScript on your own. In every circumstance, though, you'll see that most tasks are very similar to one another, and you should get the hang of it in no time.