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I will be writing an ongoing series of articles dealing with the development process of Flash based websites. We have plenty of articles dealing with specific flash functionality, but nothing that goes into any great detail about making the site start to finish. The few that deal with the site development process, in my own opinion, arent very useful. So, I would like to hear the advice of other developers on their processes and the little development details they feel are often over looked.
01-26-2007, 05:25 AM
Here are my feelings and let me know if this is what you are shooting for:
When realizing the design, avoid unnecessary nesting of elements.
Code should be written using standards, such as naming conventions, formating, etc
Layers should be named!
Just for starters....
:confused: <-- I love that new smiley
These are the types of things I am asking for.
01-30-2007, 02:53 AM
unnecessary nesting should be avoided. Not sure why, but I see that one quite often.
03-20-2007, 03:04 PM
I'm not a hardcore coder so I can't comment on code practices, but what about practical things such as:
1. Try to resist adding button sounds and background music until you are close to the end of the project, as they can get irritating quickly and you will be tired of them before the site is complete.
2. Do not hard code numbers - always define variables at the top of your AS (or in a seperate variables.as if your file is huge) so they are easy to change in the future
3. Get into the habit of switching the layer size to "short" when you start a new document to save space later on
PS. Loved part one by the way.
4. Plan out on paper a tree of swfs before you begin - ie. starting with the main.swf at the top, plan what will load into what in advance of beginning the project.
5. Don't get hung up on detail before you are sure that the code works. eg. make sure that your button rollOvers, rollOuts and releases are all working in the most basic sense before wildly animating them, even if its with simple traces such as "rolled over", "rolled out" and "clicked". I personally prefer to get the basics of the site working before I implement all of the fancy stuff. Obviously I design it in photoshop/paper/my head first, but imo developing a skeleton site is important to make sure everything is working practically before you "skin" it.
These are just the some of the habits that I've gotten into over the years though - it doesn't necessarily mean that they're right. Everyone has different ways of working...especially if they've taught themselves gradually over time rather than being formally trained.
04-26-2007, 12:30 AM
The cornerstone of good Actionscript development is really embracing object oriented thinking. Learn to consider the design of an object oriented application as important as the graphic design. The days that a developer could get away with hacky procedural development are quickly slipping away!
I'm a book learner so I can suggest a few titles for various points in your Actionscript journey:
Just learning what "object-oriented design" means?
Essential Actionscript 2.0 by Colin Moock
The bible as far as I'm concerned. Ignore Moock's writings at your own peril!
Want to know how to make your object oriented designs more robust & flexible?
Head First Object Oriented Analysis & Design by Brett D. McLaughlin, Gary Pollice, and Dave West
This book fosuses on application design and while it comes from a Java point of view, there's very little actual code in it so it's essentially platform-agositc.
Head first Design Patterns by Elisabeth Freeman, Eric Freeman, Bert Bates, and Kathy Sierra
The most legible book on design patterns I have ever seen. You'll want to read it twice!
Getting ready to make the jump to Actionscript 3.0?
Essential Actionscript 3.0 by Colin Moock
We all know the standard Moock's writings adhere to. I assure you this will become as important to AS3 developers as EAS3 is to AS2 developers now.
ActionScript 3.0 Cookbook by Joey Lott, Darron Schall, and Keith Peters
Recipe-formatted how-tos for all kinds of common Actionscript 3.0 tasks. Light yet thorough and very digestable. I'll become your standard sidearm.
I will say once you have made you website plan and before starting to work on your graphics/code, you should already think about what you can do to make sure everything will load fast (or at least as fast as possible).
Then I really like and use the "lego" construction style for a Flash website, where you have a well structured set of swfs that act as modules so you can just update/change one module at a time without any code broken or loss of functionality. It seems to me that there are a lot of Flash website out there that are very difficult to update because of poor planning.
Things got so busy I havent had time to do anything with this. I finally made the transition to AS3, so its about time for some new articles..I will be compromising an outline based off everyones points here and post it here for you guys to look over and make suggestions..
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