3 Replies Latest reply on Sep 9, 2006 2:18 AM by Eto_x2

    Moving from Actionscript 2 to 3 while learning

    Eto_x2
      I am currently taking a webdesign course which includes Flash and actionscript. However, I am a bit worried about the following: I already see Actionscript 3 tutorials out (e.g. at lynda.com) but A3 will only work in Flash in version 9. I feel it would be best when learning Actionscript, to learn version 3 - but how do I do that?
      Do I need to buy another program (Flex) just to learn Actionscript 3, when afterwards I am only going to use Flash 9? I don''t have the means for that and I doubt that the school at which I take the course (and where I can practice using Flash 8) has that program.
      Also, the course ends in Februari 2007. If at that time Flash 9 is not out, won''t I undermine my chances at work knowing only Actionscript 3? I know there will be probably be tutorials for A2 programmers to get used to A3, but what about the other way around?

      So all this would almost lead me to believe it is better to learn Actionscript 2 now, and then later take an additional course to learn actionscript 3. But if the differences are significant and everyone will be using A3, that feels rather like a waste of time and money.

      The timing of my course is what makes this awkward, of course, but has anyone got any suggestions on the best approach to minimize expense and studytime?
      Thanks!

        • 1. Re: Moving from Actionscript 2 to 3 while learning
          Level 7
          Eto_x2,

          > I am a bit worried about the following: I already see
          > Actionscript 3 tutorials out (e.g. at lynda.com) but A3
          > will only work in Flash in version 9.

          That's right.

          > I feel it would be best when learning Actionscript, to
          > learn version 3 - but how do I do that?

          Well, there's Lynda.com. ;)

          > Do I need to buy another program (Flex) just to learn
          > Actionscript 3, when afterwards I am only going to use
          > Flash 9?

          You really don't have to buy anything, which is the good news. :) The
          catch is, you'll probably find the work tedious unless you do by Flex
          Builder 2 (or wait for Flash 9). Here's how it works: the Flex 2 SDK,
          including a command line compiler for AS3, is free. You can download it and
          write applications, same as you can download the Java platform and write
          applications.

          http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/tdrc/index.cfm?product=flex

          (Scroll down a bit; you'll see it.) Of course, that's bare bones. You
          can edit your files in Notepad or any text editor and literally type out
          your applications. This would be comparable to (though much more difficult
          than) writing a complex website in a simple text editor. It can be done,
          but Dreamweaver makes things *much* easier -- and so does Flex Builder 2.
          Naturally, you pay for that convenience.

          If you've already purchased Flash Professional 8, you can download the
          Flash Professional 9 ActionScript 3.0 Preview, which is *alpha* softare. It
          is essentially Flash 8 with a tacked-on ActionScript 3.0 compiler.

          http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flash9as3preview/

          So you have a handful of options already.

          > If at that time Flash 9 is not out, won''t I undermine my
          > chances at work knowing only Actionscript 3? I know
          > there will be probably be tutorials for A2 programmers
          > to get used to A3, but what about the other way around?

          My advice: learn AS2 and enjoy that learning process now. AS3, yes, is
          killer. It is a phenomenal leap up. BUT, let's put things in perspective.
          AS3 is squarely aimed and traditional programmers, *not* traditional Flash
          developers. AS3 will *mainly* be used by people who are writing so-called
          Rich Internet Applications (RIA) -- that is, winform-like apps for online
          use. If you're planning to do Flash animation, presentations, and even
          "simple" gaming (Simon, Asteroids, Snake, etc.) you'll be absolutely fine
          using AS2. People will continue to use AS2 for years. People are still
          using AS1.

          > So all this would almost lead me to believe it is better to
          > learn Actionscript 2 now, and then later take an additional
          > course to learn actionscript 3.

          That route is fine. Make sure you get into OOP (writing classes) with
          AS2, because that will step you easier into AS3 when the time comes.

          > But if the differences are significant and everyone will
          > be using A3, that feels rather like a waste of time and
          > money.

          This is just me talking, but I simply don't see Average Joe flocking to
          AS3. I'll bet my favorite hat we don't see "everyone" using AS3 -- only the
          hardcore programmers will. There will be a huge hold-out crowd who
          continues merrily along with AS2.

          > any suggestions on the best approach to minimize expense
          > and studytime?

          Unless you're writing class files in AS2, you're not really making use
          of what AS2 is all about. (Using strong typing, :Number, etc. is trivial.
          It simply doesn't make an AS2 programmer.) AS2 is all about writing classes
          to instantiate the objects you need in order to do anything and everything.
          AS3 takes that principle and runs with it.


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


          • 2. Re: Moving from Actionscript 2 to 3 while learning
            Peter Lorent Level 2
            Not to mention the fact that most clients still want to publish for Flash Player 7... (that is, in my experience) so from my point of view it will be a while before clients will want to work with AS3.
            • 3. Moving from Actionscript 2 to 3 while learning
              Eto_x2 Level 1
              Thanks David, I think I'll do just that - go with AS2 for now, then leap to 3 later if the need arises. I do think in the end I will become an AS3 user. In the (distant) past I used to program in Lingo (Director 6 version) and I would want that kind of power in my hands. But your point, and LuidiL's as well, is valid: many people, including clients, will still want to use AS2. If I only learn AS3, I'd probably not be able to judge if their wishes were possible in AS2.

              Thanks again, both of you!