View Full Version : Is Flash 8 easier for non-coders?

11-01-2005, 11:31 PM
Trying to figure out if Flash 8 holds idiot-scripters hands better? Like does it give you choices?

11-02-2005, 12:19 AM
Check this page:


On the orange bar above the video window, click on "User Experience" and then "Script Assist".

This is one of their most bragged-about features. I'm surprised you didn't hear about it.

In short, the answer to your question is yes. But. It still helps to properly learn Action Script.

11-02-2005, 12:24 AM
Thanks! AS is freaking not easy. Good for the math oriented logic minds.

11-08-2005, 02:05 PM
yeah actionscript is giving me a headache. But it does seem somewhat similar to javascript in a sense.

11-09-2005, 04:46 AM
I'm a cartoonist, not a programmer. I failed second year high school algebra, and dropped out of college 3 times. I move my lips when I add numbers. That's my math (and logic) background.

I realized I'd gone as far as I could in Flash without learning AS. So I've been teaching myself from books, and various websites. And you know what? I find that it's like learning a foreign language (one of the few intellectual activities I'm good at).

Think of it like this: You decide to move to Yunnan Province in China (assuming you don't live there already). You don't know a word of the Yunnanese dialect. So you're helpless. You learn a dozen words, and suddenly you can feed yourself. Learn 100 words and you can ask directions and talk about the weather. Learn 500 words and you can pick up drop-dead gorgeous Yunnanese girls or boys in the local tea house (it also helps to have a wad of US dollar cash). By that time, the learning becomes self-perpetuating, because the bigger your vocabulary and grammar, the more you can do.

Action Script is exactly like that. At the beginning it seems daunting, like a huge concrete wall to climb. But learn 5 simple scripts and already you can do a lot. By the time you've spent 3 months learning it, you get so into it that you can't stop. It really is nothing more than a language, with its own vocabulary and grammar. It's a heck of a lot simpler than Chinese! And think of the geek chicks you'll be able to make a move on!

Flash Gordon
11-09-2005, 06:22 AM
How cow!

Flash 8 looks great!

11-09-2005, 09:11 AM
billingsgate: I'd be interested in where you started with ActionScript and what you found to be most helpful. I've been trying to start a tutorial for an absolute beginners guide to ActionScript but I can never get enough feedback from beginners to know where to start or to help figure out the best approach. In trying to explain things in my own words, its always over beginners heads so I need some real beginners to tell me how it is :)

In terms of learning Flash billingsgate is absolutely right. In terms of Flash 8 being easier, then I'd say no, absolutely not. What flash 8 does do for beginners is bring back "Normal Mode" which is now called Script Assist. This was a beginners actionscript mode that was in MX but (stupidly) taken out of MX 04. That makes MX 04 very difficult for beginners, especially with the introduction of the V2 component architecture and the greater reliance on listeners and things of the such. Flash 8 retains those complexities, but does bring back normal mode.

If you are just starting off, it might do you good to learn Flash MX using an actual copy of Flash MX. There arent as many features, the scripting is still fairly simple (though not that much different) and you still have Normal mode to make adding scripts to Flash a little easier. It takes away from a lot of the confusion that might get in the way of flash MX04+.

11-09-2005, 11:54 AM

It's difficult to answer your question in a nutshell. I suggest that perhaps you post a survey at Macromedia's forums, asking what beginners want.

I would put it this way: There are two types of AS beginners:

1) Designers and animators who know the non-AS aspects of Flash pretty well;
2) Absolute beginners in Flash.

These are two very different audiences with very different needs. I am obviously one of the former. Having worked with scores of Flash animators who have worked with Flash for 5+ years fulltime, yet don't even know how to write a stop(); action, I would say that the main problem getting through to this group is the basic snobbishness that exists between designers and developers. When I plead with my co-animators to learn how to program a replay button with gotoAndPlay(1);, more often than not the response is:

"Hmf. I'm an ARTIST, not a programmer."

So the goal is to promote the wonders and delights and UTILITY of Action Script. Not the gee-whiz-look-what-I-can-do stuff that developers slobber over. AS has to be shown to be relevant and useful for storytelling, not just for creating effects and widgets.

So for my type of people, you'd start out with basic navigation scripts (buttons), scripted movements, and nuts-and-bolts stuff that is practical in design work. Maybe the end goal of a beginner's lesson should be to create a very simple game like pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, something to show off to the spouse or partner and say "Lookie what I done did!"

By the way, a new book just came out that I've ordered from Amazon, called Foundation Action Script Animation. This may be the thing I've been looking for.

As for me, I'm diving head-first and am determined to become fluent in Action Script. I like to learn languages as a side hobby. I've studied German, Russian, Japanese, Italian, and Cantonese, and even took a Norwegian class for two weeks (the only ones I still speak are English, German and Cantonese). So now I'm studying Action Script. A lot more relevant for my work than Norwegian (sorry to anyone from Norway reading this).

So the final answer to you is: think of yourself as teaching a language, not computer skills.

11-09-2005, 12:20 PM

It's difficult to answer your question in a nutshell. I suggest that perhaps you post a survey at Macromedia's forums, asking what beginners want.

Well Ive been doing that for 3 years and its got me no where. You get the same responses like "I want to learn preloaders!" and things like that. It's hopeless.

11-10-2005, 03:57 AM
The best way to figure out how to teach something is to start teaching it. I've taught cartooning lessons for years, for all ages. I try things, some work, some don't work. After just a few classes I get a very good idea of what the general needs are in terms of student goals and how quickly they can proceed. Of course, each individual is different, but you can spot general trends. Why not offer an evening course at a junior college in beginning Action Script? It would be rewarding, you'd get paid for it, and you'd feel good for sharing your knowledge. And you'd quickly find out the answer to your question.

Alternatively, you could offer the same thing as a consultant to animation and design studios or organizations, such as the local chapter of the Graphic Arts Guild. Again, you'd find out people's needs and capabilities very quickly, and it would be targeted to that group I mentioned who are "artists not programmers". Many of them are thirsty to learn stuff like you have to offer.

Once you've done a few courses you'll feel pretty confident of what is needed and you'll probably have enough material to write a book on, for example, "Action Script for Illogical People".

Grant B
11-13-2005, 06:47 AM
wow. That sounds like great advice.

Not so much for me really (I'm a hobbyist and part-time web guy) but definately for someone more established and accomplished such as yourself Senocular.

Could open up a few more avenues in the process. Never does any harm to have a productive reason to get away from the desk once in a while too.

Forums are sociable places in themselves, but they don't beat physically shaking someones hand and seeing gratitude in their eyes. I teach private students and business classes English here in Japan. Although I love the pc at home, getting out and busy is much more rewarding. If you can mix the two - it's more fun.

Funnily enough, many computer enthusiasts sometimes consider themselves quite shy or introvert or whatever and more comfortable infront of a screen.
They can easily surprise themselves when they find themselves standing infront of a class of hungry minds. If you know the content you are teaching, you will find youself more comfortable than you ever expected.

Don't get me wrong, I'm relating this stuff to me and don't know or assume anything about you or others, but I think billingsgate's advice is great advice.


11-14-2005, 10:56 AM
Why not offer an evening course at a junior college in beginning Action Script? It would be rewarding, you'd get paid for it, and you'd feel good for sharing your knowledge. And you'd quickly find out the answer to your question.

I've done that too, for both Flash and Director. The problem there is that they just mostly do what you tell them too and don't like to talk much outside of the classroom. Also, the level of students vary so greatly. Very few are actually at that "I know the Flash IDE well enough that I want to get into scripting more" phase. Most either have no idea what they are doing using Flash for the first time or pretty much got the AS basics down - which is what I'm more interested in finding out about, the learning process there.

11-14-2005, 10:21 PM
Well, you can keep coming up with reasons why you can't do this or can't do that. The reality is that every student's needs, experiences, and level of ability is different. If you want to figure out how to create a course in Action Script, you just have to get out there and do it, see what works for the majority, and what doesn't work. In fact, all the better that people don't have identical needs!

I recently taught a course I'd never taught before: character design. I come from an animation and cartooning background. The students were all 20-something Hong Kong Chinese (that's where I live), all products of a rigid, soul-destroying, anti-creative fascist public school system. Some were animation students, some were video students. Some of the animation students had genuine drawing talent, none of the video students did. What's worse, most of the video students saw no need to know how to draw. They just wanted "character design theory". Some of the students were motivated and creative, others were just biding time in a required course. Add to all of this the language issue: some spoke good English, and my Cantonese is passable, but not fluent to a scholarly degree.

Talk about a variety of needs, experience and ability! My challenge was to find common threads that would be beneficial to all and leave no one behind. It was tough, often aggravating, sometimes even depressing. But by the end of the 10-week course I felt great, and I saw genuine results, even in the unmotivated, non-drawing video students.

By the way, not once did any of these students offer a single word of feedback as to what they wanted to learn. In fact, such people are conditioned since birth to never question a teacher, and to never volunteer to speak unless spoken to.

I'm not saying this to hold myself up as some great teacher. I am not a gifted nor charismatic teacher. But now I know how to teach character design to Hong Kong Chinese students. There are common threads. Some things work, some things don't. Some things motivate them, some things confuse them. I learned this by doing. And not by blaming the students for having such varied backgrounds.

If you have something worth teaching, it is a waste not to do so. And the best way to do it is to NOT expect everyone to have some homogeneous needs, abilities or backgrounds. By finding common threads that work at all levels, you'll develop a course that will reach the widest possible audience.

This is my last remark on the topic.

11-14-2005, 11:15 PM
You started with the excuses ;) I just wanted your thoughts on learning and you told me to look elsewhere - basically exactly the response I'm used to, none.

The quest continues. :)

11-15-2005, 01:15 AM
Flash 8 definitely gives the programmer major jumps into design effects with the new movieclip filters, simply rocks. What I used to have to get a designer to do I can do myself with code now.

Now because you can code "Drop Shadows", "Glows", "Bevel effects" you can animate them in as well, something that took bitmap sequences to do (which are completely non-dynamic) you can now do with code and make some amazing effects...

Little Learner
10-25-2007, 01:43 AM
hello, I'm sorry to invade in your conversations, but I'm a college student and I want to go into web and media design, mostly in animation I think but I'm not sure. Anyways I also want to do some coding and such, but I've never really done any of these things, and I really don't know where to go for help. I have this project I need to do for my class, and I've decided to do it on Flash, but I have never worked in it before and I have friends helping me out but they only really know how to use cs2 action scripting, and since I'm a totally beginner in all this :p I'm already really lost and if you guys had time I was wondering if you guys could help me understand how to use action scripting for cs3. Thank for reading this, and I'm sorry if this bothered anyone.

Little Learner

10-29-2007, 05:54 PM
Hi, welcome to the forum.

If you've got CS3, you've got access to all the versions of ActionScript. So my suggestion would be to look through the tutorials on this site, find one that interests you, and start there. There's no need to right away make sure you're coding in AS3.

Hope this helps.