9 Replies Latest reply on Aug 16, 2007 7:49 AM by injpix

    Want to learn AS properly

    asiabackpacker Level 1
      Hopefully you guys can offer me some advice. Here's my situation...

      I've been using Flash since the day it came out, and started using AS when it first appeared. I got pretty good at it back in the day, by just figuring out how to do what I wanted it to do. But now it's gotten to the point where the complexity of AS has far exceeded my skill level. Most of my work comes to me because of my design background, not my AS skills. But the limited knowledge that I do have of AS does help me with some of my work and I really enjoy what little I can do with it.

      I've noticed what a big market there has been for a while now for designers that are also good with AS, and also owing to the fact that I generally enjoy the more technical aspect of my projects more than the creative aspects, I want to delve more deeply into Actionscript, get really good at it, and get work based on my AS skills, with my design skills there as an added bonus.

      I have been trying to get better at AS for a while by just applying it to work that I am doing, and trying out new things (which is the way that I have developed a lot of other skills). But this is not really working for me. It is too cumbersome to try and really learn AS and tackle a project at the same time, and really just ends up slowing me down to the point of frustration.

      I guess this is a long way of asking if you guys have any recommendations for me on what to do to learn it properly, considering the approach I've been taking hasn't really been working for me. I was thinking about online courses, training videos...? I've tried a book or two, but just found it hard to really absorb the concepts from a text, even when combined with practical application. I just always find myself asking Why? Why, do I do it like that? Why does that work?

      There are so many resources out there. Are there any specific resources (courses, videos, even books, etc...) that have stood out for you, that you guys can recommend, or any other approaches that have been helpful to anyone else in a similar situation to me? (BTW, Another thing I don't even know is if I should be learning AS2, or AS3...)

      I don't mind making a financial investment, or even taking some time of (maybe a month?) to really focus on this, as I know the investment will more than come back to me by expanding my skills. And I will be doing more what I really enjoy doing, and have been wanting to get more into for a while (the technical side).

      Thanks in advance for any feedback at all!!!
      Elliott
        • 1. Re: Want to learn AS properly
          injpix Level 3
          If you consider yourself more of a designer then a programmer, then my concern would be, how far are you planning to go with programming in ActionScript? It’s not common to have someone superb at designing and coding, from my experience. It may help, in some projects to know ActionScript to animate components, but not necessary give it logical sense, as a programmer would probably do. But in other projects, this is not even needed by the graphic artist, as components are created during run-time and not author-time. This is how I would think it is mostly in America, I am not sure where you are located.
          You mentioned, “It is too cumbersome to try and really learn AS and tackle a project at the same time…” hey I praise you brother! I tend to use the latest class files that Flash has to offer or anything 3rd party, regardless if I used them before. I really appreciate someone that pushes themselves to learn new (better) ways of doing things. However I wouldn’t tackle as much as you are currently doing, considering you are primarily a designer that is learning ActionScript. I personally cannot work well under pressure, let alone learn. I can pick up new things fairly quickly now, but with all new things there is a learning curve. And that learning curve is something that you really need to consider if you choose to do it, especially at work.
          From this forum is where I picked up ActionScript pretty well. Not so much posting for help but helping others. The users that were asking for help drove me to learn more and more about ActionScript. During the same time I was working a website of my own. I was doing all of this on my own time, granted I wasn’t working at the time, so I had plenty of time to learn. But I wasn’t lazy or inconsistent about it either, roughly everyday for about a year I was coming to this forum and working on my project until I landed myself a job doing ActionScript. So essentially it was a job for me.
          And I think that is what you may need to do (perhaps not as much as I did) if you want to learn AS, to separate our work time from learning time. Dedicate an hour or two a day for strictly learning AS.
          Buying videos and books are going to help only if you give yourself the time and environment to learn. I would suggest replying back to other peoples questions on a forum and doing small online tutorials as I had. Once you become familiar with AS, then go and get a book. The book at this point shouldn’t be as daunting as it did prior.

          Goodluck.
          • 2. Re: Want to learn AS properly
            asiabackpacker Level 1
            Thanks for the tips....I guess like you say, learning anything new is often just a matter of persistence.

            I used to be able to learn AS by just applying what I wanted to learn to a project I was working on. And I did also learn a lot in the beginning by going on forums, asking and answering questions. But now the problem is, there is such a big gap between what I can do, and what i want to be able to do that this method isn't working. I think, like you say, I just need to take a period of time when I am not working and dedicate it to learning AS, knowing that it will come in time...

            I think one thing I also need is a primer on programming concepts, as I really need more of a broad understanding. Someone recommended this tutorial on OOP on the Kirupa site that I've just started reading: http://www.kirupa.com/developer/oop/index.htm
            Let me know if there are any other resources you know of to give me a good basis/grounding in the concepts that I'll need to move forward as more of a programmer.

            Thanks!
            • 3. Re: Want to learn AS properly
              harmeetv
              I think I can help you because I'm having same kind of background you have. Although now I'm working as a Tech Lead (Action Script). What you can do, leave all other things and start from the basic concepts of Programming like OOPS, Basics of programming concepts, how to work with classes etc.

              I think the best way to learn this is to refer good books. Make a habit to read atleast one to two hours daily and create some dummy projects or examples with all the things you learned. One you are familiar with basic concepts, you can go far away. If you concentrate on too many things simultaneously, you will not be able to give 100% to each and every thing, so just focus on one book and learn new things from that book only. Once you complete one book then go for second. You can find lot of books at www.expressionsz.com
              • 4. Re: Want to learn AS properly
                harmeetv Level 1
                One good book you will find at expressionsz.com is Object Oriented Action Script for flash8
                • 5. Re: Want to learn AS properly
                  BarryGee
                  I have recently started reading Colin Mooks , O'reilly : Essential Actionscript 3 (ISBN 10: 0 596 52694 6, ISBN 13: 978 0 596 52694 8) So far so good. Very good / clear explanations of OOP concepts and examples of applying these concepts to AS3.

                  So far i would highly recommend.

                  Barry.

                  PS. I too am a designer getting more into development every day.
                  • 6. Re: Want to learn AS properly
                    asiabackpacker Level 1
                    Great tips-thanks guys.

                    Another question is, can you make any recommendations on whether I should be delving into AS2 or AS3?

                    Thanks!
                    • 7. Re: Want to learn AS properly
                      BarryGee Level 1
                      I suppose that would depend on what your end product is going to be. If you are designing mainly for flash lite then as3 isnt supported yet, however if your flash apps are for pc / mac use then i would say as3 would be your best bet. I am personally on the transition from as1 to as3 missing out as2. From what i can see if you know as3 then as2 wont be a problem anyway.

                      Barry.
                      • 8. Re: Want to learn AS properly
                        asiabackpacker Level 1
                        I'm designing for the web...pc/mac.

                        Sounds like I should jump straight into AS 3. Like you, all I know currently is AS1 (and even that, I don't know well), so I'd be making the jump too....is there any reason not to jump into learning AS3 instead of 2, (other than what you say about Flash Lite)?
                        • 9. Re: Want to learn AS properly
                          injpix Level 3
                          kirupa.com has great articles, I always stop by there to see if they have an answer to my problems. However I had a hard time understanding OOP during my early years programming. I think that knowing the basic syntax of ActionScript (and I recommend start using ActionScript 3.0) and being familiar with Flash’s built-in class’s methods, properties and event handlers would be more beneficial to you then jumping in OOP. But, I don’t know what skill level you are with AS, so perhaps jumping into OOP is good thing for now. And I am not putting down OOP in anyway, I prefer it and I enjoy using design patterns.

                          And for resources, again this forum has plenty of users here to assist you and recommend other suggestions to your replies. Start with small tutorials and mess around with snippets for code, by changing a few values. The list below are the resources I have found to be helpful (in order);

                          -This forum
                          -Helpdocs/Livedoc- just hit F1 in Flash. I go to it almost everyday when programming to find out the class’s methods and properties. I mostly use the ‘ActionScript 2.0 Language Reference’.
                          - http://www.ultrashock.com/ - they have a OOP section that has awesome moderators and users that contribute.
                          -kirupa.com
                          - http://www.gotoandlearn.com