Flash Enabled: Flash Design and Development for Devices
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Title: Flash Enabled: Flash Design and Development for Devices
Author(s): Phillip Torrone, Branden Hall, Glenn Thomas et al.
Published by: New Riders.
RRP: USD $49.99 (Less at Amazon)
Format: Mass-market paperback
User Level: Beginner - Advanced.
Review By: Jesse Stratford, ActionScript.org
At a glance: 9/10
A great book which taught me plenty I didn't know in no time flat. A very worth-while read for anyone developing for devices.
Just last week a client came to me asking me to develop an application for them which would run on a Flash enabled kiosk. Two weeks ago I had no idea about Flash design for devices. I didn't know what a Zombie Button was, I hadn't given much consideration to efficiency on machines with processors below 200Mhz, or interface design on devices with very limited screen space, but luckily two weeks ago I received Flash Enabled in the mail, so my client got their product, on time, designed with the limitations of a touch screen kiosk in mind, and were never any the wiser that this was the first application I'd designed for a non PC device (WebTV excluded).
The moral of the story is that this is a very good book. Of course, with contributions by Mike Chambers, Branden Hall and many other demigods in the Flash industry, you wouldn't expect anything less. As you can probably tell from the title this book is for people who plan to develop or design Flash presentations for use on Flash enabled devices such as Playstation 2, Xbox, Portable PCs, mobiles phones, interactive TV etc.
The book seems to be aimed at people who know Flash already; there are no descriptions of how to make a button, or how to setup linkage in the library. In fact there's not much ActionScript in the book, and when code does appear they don't hold your hand, but if you're an intermediate developer or even a strong beginner you'll eat this book up.
One other thing I liked was the easy-going nature of the authors. Many of the concepts in the first few chapters were completely foreign to me, but the nature of the writing was concise and informative, so I ran through it all, no problems. Seemingly 'obvious' pointers are included too, which I think is a good move; they assume you know nothing. Having said that I noticed that there wasn't heaps of 'flow' between the chapters/sections of this book, partially (I imagine) because many of the concepts you learn don't depend on previous concepts, but that's not a criticism, just an observation.
Topics covered include: considerations with regard to player versions supported and memory/speed limitations of various devices, effective interface design for devices, typographic considerations (including a whole chapter on making your own pixel fonts!), game and interactive application development, back end integration, and much more. The appendix contains a mammoth list of relevant web sites (including a link to our very own site), which are bound to be useful to people who do more development on these platforms than me.
We all know how prominent Flash is on the web and it looks like it's set to be a major player in application and interface design for modern 'siwtched-on' devices too. If you plan to develop Flash animations or applications for mobile phones, portable computers, web tablets, interactive TV, or anything non-PC-standard at some stage in your Flash career I would really recommend reading this book.