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Subject: Re: FLASH: A teacher wonders why ActionScript tutorials "bite"
From: Dorian Nisinson
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 22:08:20 GMT

Hi Tom,
Just to add my 2 cents to this discussion. I think the problem is that
the people who "get" ActionScript right away have the background
necessary to do so. It is difficult for them to write introductory
tutorials on ActionScript because they do not, and probably cannot
remember, what it was like to look at the expression editor and think,
"What the heck is this!"
In order to write the kind of tutorial you are talking about you need
to have a clear memory of that absolutely nonplused state of mind. I
have been giving this subject a lot of thought as I too keep seeing all
the questions about how to learn ActionScript. I send folks to the
various tutorials but many come back with questions that indicate they
really need something more.
I am giving this some serious thought, in between working for a living,
Tom, and I will see what I can come up with. I feel your pain, and
besides, I am scared of that wolverine you keep chained to your desk. ;>


Tom Green wrote:
> 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
> précis 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, Dominik Kowalczyk
  Re: FLASH: A teacher wonders why ActionS, Tom Green
  RE: FLASH: A teacher wonders why ActionS, David

  FLASH: A teacher wonders why ActionScrip, Tom Green

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