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Yep, Macromedia took out the "normal" editor for ActionScript in the MX 2004 version but so many people complained about it that they put it back in version 8. I really don't understand why they took it out in the first place.
Not that this helps you, but when you do upgrade to Flash 8 you will have it back.
> I just upgraded from Flash MX to Flash MX 2004.
> The actionscript area is less user friendly than before.
Heh, I suppose that depends on your comfort level with programming. To
people who prefer to type their code, it became that much less cluttered.
But I hear ya. I know what you're missing.
> Is this crutch gone now, or is it hidden?
What you're referring to is called Normal Mode (versus the Expert Mode
of the Actions panel). It is gone in Flash MX 2004 -- back as Script Assist
in Flash 8.
> Why would they make the program harder for those of
> us who don't have actionscript memorized?
That, I can't answer. But for what it's worth, you do still have the
blue "plus" button that enters ActionScript for you, and the ActionScript
Language Reference is only ever a keystroke away (F1 key). That may not be
much of a comfort, but if you really think about it, there isn't a whole lot
to memorize if you're only using ActionScript for basic navigation like
gotoAndPlay(), getURL(), and the like. The syntax is always the same, once
you know it. Functions, such as getURL(), are "action words" -- verbs, if
you will. You can usually spot them by the parentheses. They do things
based on what you tell them to, and what you tell them goes into the
parentheses. The expected format -- like, is it a number, is it a
string? -- is explained in the AS Language Reference. You can tell at a
glance by the :Number, :String, and so on in the listing, as well as the
stiller (at) quip (dot) net
Dev essays: http://www.quip.net/blog/
"Luck is the residue of good design."
Thanks. This is part of why I was hesitant to learn MX 2004 with version 8 coming out. Oh well.