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Subject: Re: FLASH: A teacher replies to Cheri et al
From: Waldo Smeets
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 23:13:44 GMT

Hi Julie and others,

first off all I need to say that this is a very interesting discussion. I think I
can contribute in it by explaining how I learned actionscript basics.

I'm not a programmer at all, and nor a graphics designer. For 6 months ago a knew
about Flash 3 and did some little things in it, but i didn't use it cause I'm not
that kind of guy that's interested in design. I just work 8 hours a week as an
HTML-standin at our company, and I did a little javascript (merely form checking
etc) last year. When I read about Flash 4 and ActionScript I immediately downloaded
the demo from mm and started playing with it. For me Actionscript is a combination
of html structures and javascript structures. The "Tell Target" functionality
reminds me off a simple web server directory structure (directory up ../, directory
down /), all the other basics are very similiar to javascript basics. Off course the
language isn't the same, but for me the basics are (and i think that that are the
basics of programming).

I would recommend a good book called "Javascript for beginners" or something like
that. It won't be a waste off time cause javascript can always be used by someone.
To be honest, I haven't read any Flash 4 books yet (still waiting for JC's book), so
perhaps they better suite your wishes. But if you know the programming basics, you
can find out how most of the files presented at totorial sites work. That's how I
learned all that stuff!

To see what I learnt in this way:


Waldo Smeets

julie schreef:

> I am very glad to read the replies to your original post. It's nice to know
> that a few other people are as confused as me. The longer I work with Flash
> 4, the more frustrated I have felt. I realize the possibilities of this
> language, but every time I try to implement even slightly complex
> ActionScripting (which we have been calling Flingo at the company I work
> for) I can't get it to work and I don't know what I am doing wrong, so I
> just revert back to Flash 3 methods and end up with 500 frame files, with
> millions of go to actions, that could probably be 50 frames if I knew how to
> program them correctly. The books I've seen have only added to my
> frustration. They are just like the Flash 2 and 3 books except they add one
> tiny chapter on ActionScripting.
> I don't know any programming languages (except for html- which I don't think
> counts), so stupid little things confuse me. I know that I could ask a
> question to this list and invariably someone will give me a code that will
> work for almost anything I want to do, but I won't understand how to do it
> on my own and that is what I want to be able to do. Because otherwise I
> will just end up remaking things that have already been done.
> Everyone keeps mentioning the fact that basic programming has helped them.
> Is there another programming language that anyone can recommend I learn that
> will help me with ActionScripting? I am currently trying to learn lingo,
> but I have heard that it won't really help.
> I don't think it is the responsibility of the people who write to this list
> to post long explanations to this language (however I do think that
> Macromedia seriously dropped the ball with their incredibly brief book to
> Flash 4). I have ordered the Flash 4 Bible and I have high hopes that it
> will help someone as confused as me. Has anyone read through Flash 4
> Magic....how is that book?
> thanks for reading my rant,
> julie
> > From: Tom Green <tgreen17athome [dot] com>
> > Reply-To: flasheratchinwag [dot] com
> > Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 08:58:02 -0500
> > To: flasheratchinwag [dot] com
> > Subject: Re: FLASH: A teacher replies to Cheri et al
> >
> >
> >
> > Cheri Harder wrote:
> >
> > <snip>
> >
> > butprobably not the time, nor the know-how of writing tutorials) I don't think
> >
> >> I would know where to start.
> >
> > Cheri: You start at the beginning. Step1- Open Flash.
> >
> >> As a "geek" so to speak (and a poetic one at
> >> that) I have been studying "variables" and "While Loops" and Cursors and
> >> Case and If..then..else for 12 years. It would be difficult to know where
> >> to start in a tutorial. Do you start from "this is what a variable is" or
> >> do you assume they know some programming terminoligy?
> >
> > Here's a little technique I use to get the student to understand a variable. I
> > tell the student a variable is simply a baggie that holds information. The
> > neat thing about it is that it can be given a name. Rather than get them
> > thinking tecchie, I usually use "ScumSuckingPig" as the name. This has become
> > so popular that the students usually work in a drawing of the class mascot- a
> > ScumSuckingPig. Quite effective. As an aside, when the college submitted its
> > application as an Authorized Macromedia Training Centre, we submitted a video
> > of me running a complex Director coding class. We hit a custom variable -
> > moveIt- and when I asked the class for another name, they said, in unison,
> > "Scum Sucking Pig". So somewhere at the mothership is an example of the
> > ScumSuckingPig.
> >
> >> How much do you assume? Nothing?
> >
> > Yes. You can't go leaping into John's stuff, for instance, without a logical
> > progression. The first ActionScript command I teach is stop.Then I move into
> > the button actions to navigate. Then, step-by-step, I inch them closer to
> > John's preloader.
> >
> > People learn by doing so each lesson has a unique project associated with it.
> > One of my groups had their first ActionScript class yesterday. We created a
> > simple Flash Movie that involved a spinning record that moved offscreen into
> > place. ( Importing .ai art, creating symbols, creating movie clips, using
> > motion tween) . A tone arm runs onto the stage. ( Creating a button with no
> > down state. Defining a hit area. Using Transform or the rotate tool). The logo
> > fades onto the page. ( Setting and tweening Alpha). The user is prompted to
> > put
> > the tone arm onto the record. ( Enable Button Actions). And when the arm goes
> > on the record a sound plays. (Import a sound) When they roll off the sound
> > stops. As you can see the first step is Assemble the Assets but there are a
> > whack of fundamentals involved.
> >
> > Now they code it. Put a Stop action in a keyframe on an Actions layer. Add a
> > label to a Frame. Open the instance of the the button and add Go to and Play
> > Actions using the labels. Add a Stop Sound Action and a Go To and Stop. And so
> > on.
> >
> > That one takes three hours to get through but the students have a pretty neat
> > example and a clearly documented step-by -step they can refer to.
> >
> >> Then each and every tutorial would be a book and a half?
> >
> > Not really. I have written handouts that are as small as five pages- tracing
> > variable valuables using the Message Window in Director- to 64 pages where the
> > student constructs a Space Invaders game using Object Oriented Programming.
> > The
> > tonearm example is 12 pages with screen shots that is laid out in Pagemaker.
> > The key, is to have each lesson build upon the other.
> >
> >>
> >> Action Script is not really a language, even. But it makes some use of some
> >> "basic" programming theory and we are learning daily how to adapt what it
> >> DOES do into what we NEED it to do. And there are "basic programming"
> >> tutorials all over the place.
> >
> > You and a couple of others who waded into this (Tim Allen for one) are missing
> > the point of my post. I will continue developing my own stuff simply because
> > nothing exists. I am more concerned about those who aren't in my classes and
> > wonder "How do I code a simple rollover that calls a URL". These people are
> > the
> > vast majority of Flash users. Read the posts. It is very clear where they are.
> > They will have to learn ActionScripting and aren't programmers. So where do
> > they pick it up in a manner that they can understand?
> >
> > I am encouraged to see the mothership (Thanks Eric) has noticed this but there
> > are three places where they should be tried out before they are released. The
> > first is in a real live honest to God secondary and post secondary classroom
> > .
> > The teacher will let you know, real fast, what works and what doesn't work and
> > why. The second would be to do some beta testing. Shoot samples out to people
> > on the list and ask them to walk through it and let you know what works and
> > what doesn't. The third is to get the guys writing these things to do it in
> > front of a class that is coming at the subject cold. You get enough "I don't
> > get its" and you quickly identify that maybe we have a problem here
> >
> >>
> >> I've never been a teacher, and it very easy for me to get into the rut of
> >> assuming my listeners know what I'm talking about, when it is so much a part
> >> of my life that I can't imagine someone NOT knowing.
> >
> > Cheri, you didn't "know" when you got into to programming.
> >
> >> Teaching is easier for
> >> you, because that's what you do, and I'm sure you do it very well!!!
> >
> > Thank you.
> >
> >>
> >> Tutorials written for geeks by geeks helps us geeks and are appreciated very
> >> much (I don't know anybody who gets paid for writing them, maybe some do)
> >> but I think we're all still learning, yes?
> >
> > Yep, but the vast majority of the learners aren't even close to your
> > competency. We sometimes forget this.
> >
> >
> >
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  Re: FLASH: A teacher replies to Cheri et, julie

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