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Why Learn Actionscript?

In its early days, Flash was considered primarily an animation tool. However, as people began to comprehend the awe-inspiring things they could accomplish with the program, Flash sites began to pop up everywhere. Macromedia responded by delivering more powerful tools for creating Web content, and Flash quickly went from being a simple animation program to a powerful application development tool. Now, Web site visitors expected not just eye-popping animations but mind-blowing interactivity as well. Everyone from individuals to Fortune 500 corporations began to see the potential of interactive content. However, even though a number of technologies (including JavaScript) existed to help facilitate this interactivity, none was as elegant or easy as Flash. Once people began to realize they didn't need a computer science degree to use the program, Flash's popularity exploded.

Today, if you're a Flash developer, one thing is certain: Animation skills, no matter how phenomenal, are no longer enough. A firm grasp of ActionScript is essential because without it, only the most elementary interactivity is possible. By acquiring an in-depth knowledge of ActionScript, you can:

  • Provide a personalized user experience

  • Achieve greater control over movie clips and their properties

  • Animate elements in your movie programmatically—that is, without using the timeline

  • Get data in and out of Flash to create forms, chat programs, and more

  • Create dynamic projects that respond to the passage of time or the current date

  • Dynamically control sound volume and panning

  • Much more

Add to these benefits the fact that viewing and interacting with Flash content can be more than just a Web experience. Flash can create self-running applications or mini-programs that operate independently of the browser—a capability more and more people are putting to use to create games, learning applications, and more. If you want to do this, too, you need at least an intermediate knowledge of ActionScript.

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