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Subject: FLASH: A teacher wonders why ActionScript tutorials "bite"
From: Tom Green
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 05:53:49 GMT

I had lunch today with a fellow member of this list and it quickly
degenerated into a whining session regarding ActionScrpt tutorials.

The bottom line was : Why are actionscript tutorials are generally
written for geeks by geeks?

There was even a post today that tended to overlook the fact that one of
the most common questions on this list is "Where do I learn
ActionScript"? The post?

"The radio button script is basic and covered pretty much line-by-line
in the
above-referenced URL:
On (Press)
Set Variable: "numChildren" = ..:numChildren
Set Variable: "counter" = 1
Loop While (counter <= numChildren)
Set Variable: "arrayElement" = "..:child_" & counter
Set Variable: "control" = Eval (arrayElement)
Begin Tell Target (control)
Go to and Stop (1)
End Tell Target
Set Variable: "counter" = counter + 1
End Loop
Set Variable: "..:selected" = _target
Go to and Stop (2)" and so on.

If you are new to this, does this make any sense without a clear
annotation of each line of code?

I am not attempting to crap in the nest here but my students find it
extremely difficult to learn ActionScrpting because the assumption made
is the reader already knows what it is about and how to do it. For
example, I purchased Milburn and Croteau's book because John did the the
code sections. Great explanations of what the code is all about . There
is nothing about how to use it and there were no comprehensive
tutorials that walk the newbie through the creation process of things
like pop down menus , preloaders or Drag and Drop. Even the educational
material from Macromedia assumes a prior in depth knowledge of the
language. When the student goes looking for good tutorials on Chrissy's,
John's , Colin's and even Asmussen's sites they are confronted with a
prcis of how it was done. I just wish there were tutorials that start
with :

1. Open Flash
2. Open a new document.

Get my drift? This has bugged me to the point where I have asked John if
I could "deconstruct" his Ultimate Preloader, document it and use it as
a handout for my students. John has graciously given his permission and
I have submitted my first draft to him for his comments and criticisms.
So, I am doing something about it ( apart from whining) but ,gosh,
there could be more.

Good examples of tutorials that work are over in the Director universe.
One of the best Lingo books on the market (for the newbie) is Director
DeMystified by Jason Roberts. If you think ActionScript is tough just
wrap your mind around Director's language- Lingo. Yet Jason presents
Lingo and its concepts through a series of step by step tutorials that
clearly lay out the code and the logic behind it. His Swifty exercise
that gets into case statements, custom handlers and variables is
absolutely brilliant and goes for a full chapter. The upshot with this
book is the student needing to code a button can reference the relevent
pages and walk through it and reproduce it. Once they have gotten
through Jason's book then they can wade through Gary Rosenweig's
Director 7 book and take what they have learned to the next level. This
just simply isn't the case over here in the Flash universe. The closest
I have ever encountered were the .pdf's from the Minister in South
Carolina over on Chrissy's site.

In fact, the Lingo code explanation revolution started when Gary
Rosenweig saw what I am talking about and did something about it on the
Direct-L list. He posted a site that was a series of concise lessons
that walked the newbie through the language with practical, annotated
examples. Ventanna noticed and his site became his Director 5, 6, and 7
books. Each one was even better than its predecessor.

Now for my questions. Are there any sites that annotate and clearly
demonstrate Actionscript technique? If not, why not?

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  Re: FLASH: A teacher wonders why ActionS, peter hagerty
  Re: FLASH: A teacher wonders why ActionS, Dorian Nisinson
  FLASH: Yo Branden! (another question, so, David
  RE: FLASH: A teacher wonders why Action , Anji Mayfield
  Re: FLASH: A teacher wonders why ActionS, Cheri Harder
  Re: FLASH: A teacher wonders why ActionS, Branden Hall

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