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19.3. Onward!

Our ActionScript conversation is over, but yours has just begun. By reading Part I, "ActionScript Fundamentals" and Part II, "Applied ActionScript", you've learned to speak ActionScript -- now it's time to apply that knowledge to your own projects. Before you embark, here are a few parting thoughts:

  • As with any art form, learning to program is a process not an event. For as long as you program, you'll learn more about programming. Consider the multiple-choice quiz example from Chapter 1, "A Gentle Introduction for Non-Programmers", Chapter 9, "Functions", Chapter 11, "Arrays", and Chapter 13, "Movie Clips" -- we rebuilt it four times! Each time we refined our approach, added features, and learned something we hadn't considered before. Just as each painting teaches the painter something new about her subject matter, so creating and recreating applications will reveal new approaches to you.

  • There's practical help in Part III, "Language Reference", which contains detailed descriptions of ActionScript's built-in functions, properties, classes, and objects. While you may not want to read it from start to finish, you should definitely skim each topic so you have a sense of ActionScript's capabilities.

  • Revisit this book and Part III, "Language Reference" often. You'll pick up new insights each time through because you'll be considering the information with a higher level of understanding and will be able to relate concepts to real-world experiences. Treat Part III, "Language Reference" as a dictionary and keep it by your side while you work.

  • There's a thriving community of Flash developers out there offering ideas and solutions and -- most importantly -- sharing source code! Dissect as much as you can. Identify the things you can't understand and look those topics up in this book. Macromedia maintains a list of web sites and mailing lists devoted to Flash at http://www.macromedia.com/support/flash/ts/documents/flash_websites.htm.

  • Don't limit your exploration of ActionScript to this book. Look at things from multiple angles by consulting other sources of knowledge and inspiration, such as those listed in Appendix A, "Resources" and the Preface. You'll also find a long list of Flash resources at http://www.moock.org/moockmarks and reviews of worthwhile Flash books at http://www.moock.org/webdesign/books.

  • Finally, remember to drop by the ActionScript Definitive Guide support site, http://www.moock.org/asdg, for lots of code samples, tech notes, and discussions of new topics.

With that, I wish you happy coding! Throw an extra iteration into a while loop for me sometime. :)

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