6 Replies Latest reply on Sep 25, 2008 12:05 PM by Newsgroup_User

    Does anyone think the same?

    OgreOne Level 1
      Okay, so a choice between Flash or Director when creating a presentation. "Historically, it was Director (hands down) except for the "white flash" when showing two .mov movies in a row. Flash seems like a good alternative plus introduces a slurry of possibilities including playing the movies in FLV. The problem is navigation. Director has a library of actions that can be applied to any point in the timeline and affect what is in that frame (like loop for 10 seconds before continuing, and easy-to-apply keyboard actions, built-in transitions and interactive 3D modeling with 3ds max; to name a few). Currently, Flash's AS3 is so much harder for people like me because it goes to "traditional" programming the geeks (ITD) like to use and actually follows their mindset: a bunch of mumble jumble that ends up saying the same thing as one or two lines of AS2 code. However, Adobe is pushing AS3, which can be great. I just don't have time nor resources for complete retraining. This is where Director comes in...I don't see why Adobe doesn't beef up Flash so that it contains elements like Director that can be placed directly on the timeline without having to write the new code. I guess, though, unlike most people, I actually want to use Flash instead of PowerPoint for presentations or for like the current award show presentation I am creating which involves a lot more interaction and different media elements than any typical presentation. I will probably end up using Flash, though, but to stay away from pages of handwritten code, I will try it in AS2 as the _root method and individual scripting makes a whole lot more since to me. It should only require a little code per frame, but like I stated earlier, it would be great if Adobe actually did something to beef up the program.
        • 1. Re: Does anyone think the same?
          Level 7
          OgreOne,

          > Currently, Flash's AS3 is so much harder for people like me
          > because it goes to "traditional" programming the geeks (ITD)
          > like to use and actually follows their mindset:

          Colin Moock has written an article in reply to this notion, and I think
          it's a good one:

          http://www.insideria.com/2008/01/actionscript-30-is-it-hard-or.html

          > a bunch of mumble jumble that ends up saying the same thing
          > as one or two lines of AS2 code.

          I hear what you're saying about mumbo-jumbo, but honestly, it only feels
          that way when you don't understand it. Many folks think chess is a complex
          game (and it is, of course!), but you don't have to be Einstein to play it.
          Gradeschool kids play chess -- but until you take the time to understand how
          all the pieces move, watching the game might well feel like watching a bunch
          of arbitrary moves, until someone finally grimaces (for some inexplicable
          reason) and knocks over one of the kings.

          To many people, even AS2 seems as foreign and unfathomable as chess.
          Then AS3 comes along, and suddenly the game is called Xiangqi
          ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiang-qi) ... and holy cow, now all the pieces
          look the same! To the untrained Western eye, Xiangqi pieces do indeed look
          like ... well, nothing more than chicken scratches on identical white disks.
          Mumbo-jumbo! At least chess pieces are somewhat distinguishable.

          But if you take the time to learn one piece from the next -- even if
          (like me) you don't have the foggiest idea how to read Chinese -- you find
          that Xiangqi does indeed make sense. There's a learning curve, for sure,
          but the payoff (eventually) is a very satisfying "Aha!" moment. Xiangqi is
          actually chess! Some of the pieces move differently (bishops are now
          elephants, sort of) and some pieces are missing (no queen), and there are
          also new pieces (canons!) ... but if you can shift your perspective a bit,
          it's still chess.

          > However, Adobe is pushing AS3, which can be great. I just
          > don't have time nor resources for complete retraining.

          That's just it. You don't need complete retraining. Honestly.

          It might be easy to shoot holes in my chess/Xiangqi analogy -- analogies
          always have holes -- but there is enough similarity between the two games
          and the two versions of ActionScript that the comparison (I hope) brings
          some encouragement.

          I encourage you to read that Moock article. See if it doesn't knock off
          some of the mystique/fear-factor AS3 holds for you.

          > This is where Director comes in...I don't see why Adobe doesn't
          > beef up Flash so that it contains elements like Director that can
          > be placed directly on the timeline without having to write the new
          > code.

          Components do exactly that. So Flash has at least some of what you're
          talking about, but I do acknowledge that Flash's Behaviors panel goes away
          in AS3.

          > I will probably end up using Flash, though, but to stay away from
          > pages of handwritten code, I will try it in AS2 as the _root method
          > and individual scripting makes a whole lot more since to me.

          Can you give an example of something that would take "pages" of
          handwritten code? Pages, to me, sounds like a relatively serious bit of
          custom coding. A custom MP3 player, for example, a game of Pong or Snake.
          Maybe that's the sort of content you're building. If so, it would also take
          pages of Lingo, wouldn't it? (It does for me.) If you're building
          presentations -- you mentioned PowerPoint -- then you're coding up
          navigational snippets here and here, wiring up a few buttons to goto frame
          labels, and the like. In my experience, that really doesn't take tons of
          coding, so maybe I just need more detail from you. :) I think this is a
          good converation to have in a forum, but without getting into specifics, any
          participant (even if only a reader) has to formulate his or her own
          assumptions of the sort of programming in question. Which means we're not
          on the same sheet.


          David Stiller
          Adobe Community Expert
          Dev blog, http://www.quip.net/blog/
          "Luck is the residue of good design."


          • 2. Re: Does anyone think the same?
            RossRitchey Level 4
            OgreOne,

            I used to be on the same page as you, but then I actually learned Actionscript 2, and I noted that Lingo just couldn't do what I wanted to do on the web.

            I agree with David that we would need more information about what you are building that seems to be such a big undertaking. From my experience Powerpoint type presentations are extremely simple in flash, so much so that I build Flash projectors instead of Powerpoints for all of my presentations. If you are going to use Actionscript 2, Flash has a presentation template built in (File/New .. Templates tab/Photo Slideshows), that you can simply change the images, add text and what not to have a slideshow type presentation.

            The code to auto-advance at a steady rate:

            setInterval(nextFrame,5000);
            function nextFrame():Void {
            gotoAndStop(_currentframe+1);
            }

            This is Actionscript 2, and will advance the SWF to the next frame every 5 seconds. Simply place it in the first frame of the SWF. You can change the time by changing the 5000. This is the time between calls in milliseconds. (1000 = 1 second). The Actionscript 3 version is pretty similar, and much shorter because AS3 has a nextFrame function built in:

            setInterval(nextFrame,5000);
            • 3. Re: Does anyone think the same?
              OgreOne Level 1
              Thanks David. I am currently working on the project; hope to complete in about a month. but will try to get some code snippets by the week's end. I am a book lerner and have tried many books on beginners AS3 and such. I learned AS2 from Collin's books on AS2 for Flash MX and 9. I understood those really well. However, it seems that the books I have looked at and 95% of the online examples/tutorials want the programmer to set up classes and references before even begining. I personally think it makes more since in AS2 to make movie clips buttons and to do simple navigation. I know that the advantages of AS3 is quick speed and how it handles on the Internet, but I do not plan on doing many things over the Internet. Not to mention that most of the FLVs are 10-20 GB in size. So I do need something more like director, but I like the ease of use of Flash. Keep in mind, I have been using Director since version 7 and Flash since version 4. In my web work, I only use flash for banners/buttons. Have not been able to use FLEX yet due to our IT's security policies (don't get me started)...I will check out the book as you mentioned. Maybe this will help. I just figure that there has to be a lot more people out there like me that do not want to get involved with either having to learn a new language and/or need to write only a simple script in AS2 to navigate. No, I do not have a lot of custom code per say, but I need to play a movie and have it loop with the option of stopping it if I navigate to another frame or loop forever if no key is pressed. I have 20 flv movies on 20 different frames. Advancing frames when needed by pressing a key or having it listen for the end and advancing to the next frame. I think I have it pretty much worked out by now. Last month, I tried to due virtually the same thing with the Slide Presentation and it worked but was a pain to update. I wanted to use the time line this time (I can intuitively create better effects this way). Anyway, I did try to use AS3 at first and it seemed like it would work, but because I had to reference the "stage" all the actions applied to every frame so I tried to have it go to the next scene upon end, but I get errors because I cant reference the first scene, etc...So AS2 I used. My code is half the length and seems to work fine off the Internet that I am not using anyway. Still, Flashes components could use some built-in "just actions" like in Director. Just my ramblings. Will try to get code soon.
              • 4. Re: Does anyone think the same?
                OgreOne Level 1
                David,
                Read the article and found his follow-up link: http://www.insideria.com/2008/07/the-charges-against-actionscri.html
                I like the part of "What Adobe should do". It kind of echos my thoughts on implementing more of Director's functionality in Flash.
                • 5. Re: Does anyone think the same?
                  OgreOne Level 1
                  So here's the code so far...

                  Frame 1:
                  stop();

                  var flvControl = player;
                  flvControl.play("resources/movies/loop-test.flv");

                  var myListener:Object = new Object();
                  myListener.complete = function() {
                  nextFrame();
                  //player.play();
                  };
                  player.addEventListener("complete",myListener);

                  var keyListener:Object = new Object();
                  keyListener.onKeyDown = function() {
                  if (Key.isDown(190)) {
                  flvControl.stop();
                  nextFrame();

                  }
                  };
                  Key.addListener(keyListener);

                  Frame 2:
                  stop();
                  var flvControl = player;
                  flvControl.play("resources/movies/pulse.flv");

                  var myListener:Object = new Object();
                  myListener.complete = function() {
                  player.play();
                  //nextFrame();
                  };
                  player.addEventListener("complete",myListener);

                  Frame 3:
                  stop();
                  var flvControl = player;
                  flvControl.play("resources/movies/drophouses.flv");

                  var myListener:Object = new Object();
                  myListener.complete = function() {
                  player.play();
                  //nextFrame();
                  };

                  player.addEventListener("complete",myListener);

                  Frame 3 keeps the flv looping while another movieclip is timed to play over it on another layer and then junp to the next frame once that clip is complete. Also, some of the FLVs are placed in mc containers 3 levels deep to create a crossfade effect between the two. I know I am AS challenged but i am more into design, non-Internet multimedia programming, so this works.
                  • 6. Re: Does anyone think the same?
                    Level 7
                    OgreOne,

                    > Read the article and found his follow-up link:
                    > http://www.insideria.com/2008/07/the-charges-against-actionscri.html
                    > I like the part of "What Adobe should do". It kind of echos
                    > my thoughts on implementing more of Director's functionality
                    > in Flash.

                    I figured you would find that. ;) I'm not saying I disagree with it,
                    either ... but from a pragmatic standpoint -- even though many of those
                    suggestions would be cool -- it's going to take a decision by Adobe to
                    pursue those avenues (or a savvy extension writer). That's a decision that
                    may or may not come (I honestly have no idea). In the mean time, Flash
                    demands more typing than Director does, and that's truer for AS3 than it is
                    for AS2. Given the circumstances as they are, your best bet is to decide
                    what authoring tool works best for your workflow, and from there, what
                    language within that tool (Lingo versus the JavaScript-style Lingo, AS2
                    versus AS3, etc.).

                    Here are some thoughts in reply to your other post:

                    > I am a book lerner and have tried many books on beginners AS3
                    > and such. I learned AS2 from Collin's books on AS2 for Flash
                    > MX and 9. I understood those really well.

                    I'm with ya.

                    > However, it seems that the books I have looked at and 95% of
                    > the online examples/tutorials want the programmer to set up
                    > classes and references before even begining.

                    I agree with you there, and my hunch is that most of the new books do
                    that because they're aiming for a larger market -- for Flash developers
                    *and* Flex developers, because both tools support the same ActionScript 3.0.
                    Flex Builder needs everything to be laid out in classes, and Flash *can* do
                    it that way, so by presenting code samples as classes, authors reach
                    Flash-heads and Flex-heads in the same book.

                    > I personally think it makes more since in AS2 to make movie
                    > clips buttons and to do simple navigation.

                    And you can do exactly that with AS3. For what it's worth, I just
                    finished a new book with a buddy of mine, Tom Green, called Foundation Flash
                    CS4 for Designers.

                    http://www.friendsofed.com/book.html?isbn=9781430210931

                    It covers AS3 only, as does the first edition of this book, Foundation Flash
                    CS3 for Designers (with the addition of one chapter on Flash Lite):

                    http://www.friendsofed.com/book.html?isbn=9781590598610

                    Tom and I decided to use non-class-based code samples, to appeal to the
                    sort of readers -- perhaps like yourself -- who don't want to get so deep in
                    the woods. After all, as you've seen, there are plenty of other books for
                    that (good ones).

                    So if you're a book learner, you might just get something out of one of
                    those. They say "Designer" in the title, but they cover quite a bit of
                    code. You can download a sample chapter of the older edition, and you can
                    read reviews on it at Amazon (lots of 4- and 5-star reviews, and one or two
                    folks said the ActionScript chapter alone is worth the price of the book,
                    which is a bargain at $26).

                    > I do not plan on doing many things over the Internet. Not to
                    > mention that most of the FLVs are 10-20 GB in size.

                    GB?! Really? I've never tried to encode a 20GB FLV, so I don't know if
                    that would even work. If it does, more power to ya! You just made my eyes
                    pop out of my head. :-D

                    > Keep in mind, I have been using Director since version 7 and
                    > Flash since version 4. In my web work, I only use flash for
                    > banners/buttons.

                    Then we're a lot a like. I started with Director in 6.5, and in Flash
                    3. For years, I had a reluctance to do more with Flash, but I eventually
                    ended up spending most of my time there.

                    > No, I do not have a lot of custom code per say, but I need to
                    > play a movie and have it loop with the option of stopping it if I
                    > navigate to another frame or loop forever if no key is pressed.

                    A big help (for me, anyway) is to wrap your head around the idea of
                    classes. Everything in ActionScript is defined by a class. If you're
                    dealing with a movie clip symbol, look up the MovieClip class. If you're
                    dealing with a text field, look up the TextField class. Button symbol?
                    That's the Button class in AS2 and the SimpleButton class in AS3. Arrays,
                    dates, math functions? Those are the Array, Date, and Math classes,
                    respectively. You get the idea. Classes dictate the characteristics an
                    object has (properties), the things it can do (methods), and the things it
                    can react to (events). Generally speaking, you'll find those three category
                    headings in every class entry. Many objects inherit functionality from
                    "parent" and "grandparent" classes, so when you see links that talk about
                    showing inherited properties, methods, and events, make sure to click those.

                    That take-home point is that you don't have to hunt and peck your way
                    through the Help docs. There really is a method to the madness, and it
                    starts by asking yourself: a) what object am I dealing with, then b) is
                    this a characteristic, action, or response?

                    > I have 20 flv movies on 20 different frames. Advancing frames
                    > when needed by pressing a key or having it listen for the end and
                    > advancing to the next frame.

                    Frames are elements of a timeline, which is basically your movie clip.
                    Even the main timeline is a movie clip, so the MovieClip class entry will
                    become one of your best friends. Capturing keystrokes comes from the Key
                    class in AS2 and the Keyboard and KeyboardEvent classes in AS3.

                    > I did try to use AS3 at first and it seemed like it would work, but
                    > because I had to reference the "stage" all the actions applied to
                    > every frame so I tried to have it go to the next scene upon end,
                    > but I get errors because I cant reference the first scene, etc...

                    In AS3, the Stage class doesn't have a scenes property, but the
                    MovieClip class does. I obviously don't know the details of what you were
                    aiming for, but if you were referencing the stage and asking it for
                    something to do with scenes, maybe that's what was going wrong. (If
                    instead, you had referenced the main timeline [a MovieClip instance], it
                    might have worked.) Food for thought, anyway. And there's nothing wrong
                    with using AS2 if it's more comfortable to you at the moment.

                    > Still, Flashes components could use some built-in "just actions" like
                    > in Director. Just my ramblings.

                    I hear ya. In AS2, you do have a Behaviors panel, so that might be
                    another thing to try. But ultimately, I encourage you to try your hand at
                    coding some of this stuff on your own. I'm didn't start my career as a
                    programmer. I'm just a dude with an English degree who rides a unicycle. I
                    like graphic arts, and I can draw, so I got excited about Director (and
                    early Flash) back in the day simply because multimedia seemed like the
                    neatest thing on the block. Nearly a decade later, I actually do more
                    coding for clients than design work, but I do still do both. I didn't
                    *plan* to become a programmer (I didn't *want* to!) ... and it was
                    definitely hard at first. But so was the unicycle. And so was Xiangqi. ;)


                    David Stiller
                    Adobe Community Expert
                    Dev blog, http://www.quip.net/blog/
                    "Luck is the residue of good design."