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However (and I'm just going to tease you a little, but I mean nothing by it!) it isn't a good idea to try and learn it if you have no experience with language grammar! (I couldn't resist since you didn't include any capitalization in your post!)
Capitalization is important to AS and you will need to dot all your is and cross all your ts.
Start small and break up your tasks. If you want to make an xml driven, photo gallery, with cool swoopy effects then work on the bits first. Learn about loading XML. Learn about loading photos. Learn about swoopiness. Then combine them together.
Post here often with questions -- on specific topics that you are facing.
Read the help files and the ActionScript dictionary.
Maybe get a book. There are a lot of good ones. (David Stiller from these forums has co-written one and often recommends other good ones as well.)
Hope that helps. It really is a lot of fun.
>> is it a bad idea to start trying to learn actionscript
>> without any previous html or other code experience?
You'll be fine. (You have to start somewhere!) At one point or
another, everyone on this forum started without previous experience of some
kind. For many Flash designer/developers, ActionScript is their first
programming language. Occasionally, you'll get someone who knows PHP,
Python, Java (what have you), first -- but even then, they were obviously
noobs in those languages. Jump in at any time. ;)
As Rothrock said, capitalization is important; in fact, punctuation is
too. The "grammar" of programming is called syntax, and programming is all
about communication. The recipient of your communiation isn't a flexible,
creative human, but rather a rigid compiler that cannot guess what you mean
if you make even a single mistake. I don't say that to discourage you, by
any means ... but keep it in mind as you start wading.
I agree with Rothrock's other points, as well. Start small. If
something doesn't make sense, break it down into a smaller task (and break
it down again, if need be) until you understand what's going on. The phrase
"make coffee" makes perfect sense to most of us, but if you've never done
it, you might have no idea where to begin. If you change that goal to
"grind beans," "fill carafe," "brew," it may seem easier to grasp. But
maybe the "brew" part still doesn't make sense ... so you break that down to
"pour ground beans into filter," "place filter into coffee maker," "pour
carafe into top," and "press red button."
In the case of Flash, you might want to start with the MovieClip class.
In this context, the term "class" refers to a blueprint for making an
object -- and it's all about objects. Everything programmable in Flash can
be thought of in terms of an object. Characteristics the object has are
called properties (the x and y position of a movie clip, for example, or its
width and height). Things the object can do are called methods (play(),
stop(), etc.). Things the object can react to are called events (onPress,
onRelease, onMouseMove, etc.). For the most part, one or more of these
headings -- properties, methods, and events -- are to be found in the class
entries for each object in the ActionScript 2.0 (or 3.0) Language Reference.
Movie clips are defined by the MovieClip class, dynamic and input text
fields by the TextField class, dates and time by the Date class, blur
effects by the BlurFilter class, and so on.
Co-author, Foundation Flash CS3 for Designers
"Luck is the residue of good design."
LYNDA.COM ;) Great books and videos; start here first my friend. Then after about four weeks, go to kirupa.com go through tutorials that interest you. And finally, grab some polish at www.gotoandlearn.com. And learn some stuff from the built in help files in Flash itself, great example scripting; spend 20 min a day here.
Your already a pro, kid.
Oh yeah, damn almost forgot to mention; cbeech and kglad! here on this forum!