Flash and AS3 links

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1 Introduction

This page contains Flash and AS3 links of all kinds, e.g. Tutorials or ActionScript libraries ...

Partially updated on June 2010 - I also decided to have all Flash/AS3 links on a single page, except for links that relate to specific matters of course ... Daniel K. Schneider)

See also:

2 General Flash/AS3/Flex links

2.1 Flash developer web sites

(only a few, see also the tutorials sections)

2.2 Flash links @ Adobe

2.3 Forums

  • Kirupa Forums. This web site includes a series of popular Flash and AS forums.

2.4 Adobe AS3/Flex links

2.5 News / Feeds aggregators

3 References, documentation, and manuals on-line

3.1 Cheatsheets

  • Atp Ria Guide.pdf. (Adobe) This 29 p. very short ActionScript reference for rich Internet application development provides an alphabetical reference for all native ActionScript APIs for the Adobe technology platform runtimes: Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR—as well as the Adobe Flex framework APIs.

3.2 Language References and Adobe Docs

Tips: Also have a look at the built-in CS3/4/5/6 Help. It's not really obvious to find things at Adobe. There is much more documentation that one might think at first glance. Here are just a few:

3.2.1 CS3 / CS4 /CS5 / CS6

  • Archive CS3/4. PDF only, I don't know if the HTML versions still exist somewhere

3.2.2 AS3

3.2.3 Flex

  • Programming ActionScript 3.0 @ Flex LiveDocs. Describes specific usage of the ActionScript 3.0 language and core Flash Player API. This is what beginning AS/Flex programmers should read.

4 Flash tutorials and examples

This section only should index good and free tutorials. No junk indexes with nothing but advertisements. There is a problem with Flash Version. Various Flash versions are considerably different and most sites include older stuff...

4.1 Good Flash examples

demos
Artsy websites
  • Yugop (Abstract animation art)
Flash trailers for company websites / advertizements
Flash comics
Flash games

4.2 Collections of tutorials

  • Both just links or "real" repositories
  • Warning: Many sites also include older information (e.g. Flash MX and AS2). There is quite a huge difference between ActionScript 2 and 3.
Collections - both text and videos
  • Republic of Code. Contains both good text and video tutorials (the latter from learnflash.com).
  • Flalog, self-described as Flash Actionscript Tutorial Solution Experience
Collections - mostly video
  • cartoonsmart.com/ Includes three good Flash video tutorials, e.g. shape tweening and a button tutorial.
  • LearnFlash.com. (Some good free ones, scroll down, for more registration is needed)
Collections - mostly text tutorials
  • WebWasp (e.g. a good pen tutorial)
  • ToxicLab.org. About 99 little Flash tutorials submitted by various people. The ones I have seen are short and nice.
  • Flash Valley (includes components and an OO tutorial for absolute beginners).
  • Flash Kit Index of Tutorials ('lots of very outdated ones too).
  • Flash Tutorials @ smartWebby. I haven't tried any of them, no idea what they are worth.
  • Flash11 (CS5) Nice wiki by Michael Verhaart. In many ways a project comparable to edutechwiki.

4.3 Recommended introductory CS3 tutorials

Basics (graphics and animation)
Flash/AS 3.0

4.4 CS4 tutorials

CS4 introduction

4.5 Flash CS3/4/5 Books

4.6 Flash/AS3 Books

5 Actionscript 3.0 and Flex tutorials

5.1 Tools

5.2 Rapid Overviews/Presentations/ Migration

5.3 General AS 3 Tutorials

  • Peter Backx's blog has nice tutorial/exmples for ActionScript.
  • gotoAndPlay() is a free web resource for both web gamers and web game developers.

5.4 Flex tutorials and examples

5.5 Special purpose

(to sort out)

  • $.console A console for debuggign, pops up over your application (looks good, not tested so far).

Amy Blankenship, April 7, 2010. This is a useful thing for people like me who teach a little bit of ActionScript with CS5 , too short though ...- 14:53, 19 November 2010 (CET).

5.6 AS3 Books

  • Moock, Colin, Essential Actionscript 3.0, O'Reilly. ISBN 0596526946. Read it (widged). This is a quite good book. It tries to do two things (1) provide a large overview of the ActionScript 3.0 language and (2) Provide a complex example of a quite complex program. The overview works well. I am not sure about the zoo example. It gives an idea of the way such a program gets written the OO way, but it's not clear that the book covers enough of the basics of OO programming to have you able to do more than copy, paste, and compile the code provided. The book works best for persons who start with actionscript and want to become acquainted with the different aspects of the language. One of the best books available. Keep in mind, however, that it has "essential" in the tiel. until a book "Actionscript 3.0, the definitive guide" becomes available. Something great about the book is that it is completely tool neutral. It is clearly explained how to run the code on either of Flash CS3, Flex Builder, Flex. Of Interest, codes and examples from the book are available on the author's website.
  • Object-Oriented ActionScript 3.0, by Peter Elst, Sas Jacobs, Todd Yard. Friends of ED. ISBN 1590598458. I read a prior edition, on OO ActionScript not yet 3.0. An excellent book to learn the OO concepts behind AS3. The code mixes clear explanations and interesting enough examples (tweening animation, video medias, etc.). It also gives valuable tips on how to improve your coding practices by documenting your code and planning your design. Code examples can be downloaded from the FoED website.
  • ActionScript 3.0 Design Patterns: Object Oriented Programming Techniques, by William Sanders, Chandima Cumaranatunge, O'Reilly. ISBN 0596528469.
  • Advanced ActionScript 3 with Design Patterns by Joey Lott and Danny Patterson, Adobe Press (1st Ed.) ISBN 0321426568. Had the merit to be out very early, right after Flex 2.0 got out. Didn't work for me. The O'Reilly book seems better.
  • Head First Design Patterns, by Eric Freeman, Elisabeth Freeman, Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates. O'Reilly. ISBN 0596007124. Nothing to do with Flash or ActionScript 3 but a splendid book to familiarize yourself with a design pattern approach to programming. Particularly suit learners who suffer with traditional teaching formats and are open to the idea of having fun when learning. The tone is light and friendly, but the content is real smart. Each chapter is made about half of theory and half of practice. The exercises proposed are really clever and really get you understand the concepts in more depth than when reading a more theoretical book. Code snippets are in Java, so you need at least to have reached the intermediate level in AS3 to be able to transfer the examples and practice from Java to AS3. Because of that, perhaps not worth investing your money... but you can probably get it easily enough from a library or a friend.

5.7 Flex Books

  • Programming Flex 2: The comprehensive guide to creating rich media applications with Adobe Flex, by Chafic Kazoun, Joey Lott. O'Reilly. ISBN 059652689X. Read it (widged). Very nice book. Ideal to get you started with Flex without any knowledge whatsoever of Actionscript or Flash (I had never programmed in Flash before reading that book). The first chapters are easy to follow, making sure that nobody will fall off the boat. The last chapters cover quite advanced concepts very efficiently.
  • Adobe Flex 2: Training from the Source, by Jeff Tapper, Matt Boles, James Talbot, Ben Elmore, Mike Labriola. Adobe Press. ISBN 032142316X. Had the merit to be one of the very first books on Flex 2. The title of the book reflects the fact that the approach taken here is to go through all that is required to create a complex enough on-line shop application. The application is being progressively written and you get precise information about why things get to be coded that way. It's a good book, especially if you are interested in the prospect of designing very modular applications. Its primary target is however freelance developers and really not students who want to learn how to write a mini-game.

5.8 AS 3 Example-based tutorials

5.9 AS 3 Examples

5.10 Sites with codes and Examples

6 Code snippets and toolkits for Flash and AS3

6.1 Reusable Flash and AS code

It's hard to separate websites that rather provide code for Flash designers with little AS knowledge and more advanced AS programmers. Sorry, you will have to find out yourself ...

There are several kinds of components that Flash designers should know about:

  • *.swf - Flash (embedd as movie)
  • *.fla - Flash source code (i.e. a template with drawings and code)
  • *.as - Action Script source code (watch out for the version !!)
  • *.swc - Compiled components (like the ones in the built-in components library).
Code Repositories (mostly free)
Where you can add and manage your own snippets
  • Snipplr.com, this allows you to keep an album with your own code... and access the code contributed by others. Search for "Flash" or "AS3".
  • DZone Snippets. Public source code repository. Easily build up your personal collection of code snippets, categorize them with tags / keywords, and share them with the world.

Search for ActionScript.

Commercial (I only want to have 5-6, the best at some point and not a long list ...)

6.2 Reusable AS components and libraries

Libraries are meant to ease work for ActionScript programmers, but some of these also can be used by Flash Developers. E.g. a tool like the Greensock Tweening Platform allows a person with very little programming skills to create small interative programs where user action can trigger animations.

Tweening libraries:

  • Hyperframework “a creative coding framework built on top of ActionScript 3. A major goal of HYPE is to allow newcomers to Flash and ActionScript to creatively play and express themselves while they are learning how to program.” (ok oct. 2010)
  • Tweener Tweener (caurina.transitions.Tweener) is a Class used to create tweenings and other transitions via ActionScript code for projects built on the Flash platform. (ok oct. 2010)
PHP bridges
  • WebORB for PHP Server-side technology enabling connectivity between Flex and Flash Remoting clients and PHP applications.

3D ActionScript toolkits

  • See Flash 3D, an entry that should list most of the tools and available AS3 libraries.
  • See Flash Papervision3D tutorial (just a short intro) for links to other Papervision tutorials.

Physics and particle engines

Graphics/Visualization libraries

  • Flare is an ActionScript library for creating visualizations that run in the Adobe Flash Player. From basic charts and graphs to complex interactive graphics, the toolkit supports data management, visual encoding, animation, and interaction techniques. It features a modular design that lets developers create customized visualization techniques. Note tested (but from the demoes you can see the great potential of this !)
  • Degrafa is a declarative graphics framework for Flex 2/3. I.e. you can use it to create user interfaces, data visualization, mapping, etc.
  • flashgraph is ActionScript 3 components for graphing functions and expression evaluation.

Game programming

See List of Flash Gaming Engines and Streamhead for a more complete list.

  • yogurt3d is a Flash and ActionScript Game Engine for 3D games. Includes documentation and tutorials. (ok on oct 2010)
  • FFilmation is an isometric (2D1/2) engine. (last update, May 2010 as of oct. 2010)
  • Flixel, for creating 2D Video-games,e.g. includes support for animated sprites, tilemaps, and particle emitters
  • FlashPunk “a free ActionScript 3 library designed for developing 2D Flash games. It provides you with a fast, clean framework to prototype and develop your games in. This means that most of the dirty work (timestep, animation, input, and collision to name a few) is already coded for you and ready to go, giving you more time and energy to concentrate on the design and testing of your game”. ([1], retrieved sept.2010)
  • PushButton Engine, “an Open Source, Flash game engine and framework that's designed for a new generation of games. PushButton Engine makes it easy to bring together great existing libraries and components for building Flash games.” (retrieved sept. 2010). This is probably the most known and best documented engine.

Function and LISP-like programming

(should be categorized somewhere else .... sometimes)

7 Flash/AS3 and programming education

7.1 Using Flash and Actionscript to teach programming

  • Stewart Crawford & Elizabeth Boese (2006), ActionScript: a gentle introduction to programming, Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, Volume 21 , Issue 3 (February 2006) Pages: 156 - 168. Also here and here (Actionscript 2.0, but some ideas are still good).
  • Stiller, E. 2009. Teaching programming using bricolage. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges 24, 6 (Jun. 2009), 35-42.
  • Sands, M., Evans, J., and Blank, G. D. 2010. Widening the K-12 pipeline at a critical juncture with Flash™. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, 25, 6 (Jun. 2010), 181-190. (ACM Abstract