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* The bestselling guide to Macromedia Flash, the leading tool for creating animation and building interactive, multimedia Web sites, now fully updated and revised to cover the new release
* Covers everything readers need to know to master the newest version, including workarounds for hidden bugs and unpublished tricks and techniques not likely to appear in other books
* Packed with expert tutorials from the world's leading Flash gurus, with more coverage on using Flash with other applications than any other book
* Coauthor Robert Reinhardt is one of a handful of top stars in the Flash developer community and a regular speaker at FlashForward, the Macromedia User's Conference, WebTEK, Macromedia's traveling user seminars, and major universities
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
The authors of Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Bible don’t miss a trick. Everything’s in here, from the absolute fundamentals to ActionScript -- and way beyond. Planning, workflow, animation, media files, interactivity, programming, publishing, troubleshooting: you name it, it’s covered.

Lead author Robert Reinhardt speaks at Macromedia’s own user conferences. Along with Snow Dowd, he’s packed this book full of tricks you won’t find elsewhere. And if it’s new in Flash MX 2004, you know it’s here: from the integrated Actions panel to the brand-new interface components.

You’ll also appreciate the book’s comprehensive coverage of using existing graphics and integrating with Dreamweaver and Director. Oh, did we mention: two start-to-finish case studies. Bill Camarda

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2003 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764543036
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/17/2003
  • Series: Bible Series , #116
  • Edition description: BK&CD-ROM
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 1312
  • Product dimensions: 7.35 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 2.30 (d)

Meet the Author

After discovering Macromedia Flash while working on an art project combining film, photography, animation and audio, Robert soon realized there was a need for more comprehensive documentation of its capabilities. In 1998, not many people had even heard of Flash and publishers were wary of the limited market, but IDG Books Worldwide, Inc. (now Wiley Publishing, Inc.) committed to doing the Flash 4 Bible. The rest, as they say, is history. After studying and working together for five years in Toronto, Robert Reinhardt and Snow Dowd established a multimedia consulting and design company in Los Angeles in 1999, called [the MAKERS] ( In addition to work for entertainment companies, [the MAKERS] has done work for independent artists and nonprofit organizations.

Robert Reinhardt—With a degree in photographic arts, Robert takes a holistic approach to computer applications for the creation of compelling multimedia. Since January 2000, in addition to design and content creation through [the MAKERS], Robert has worked with the Content Project ( in Santa Monica, California. As a Director of Multimedia Applications, Robert has led various assignments including multimedia data analysis applications for Nielsen’s Media and Entertainment division and creating interactive advertising for Warner Bros. films Dreamcatcher, Kangaroo Jack, The Matrix: Reloaded, and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.
Robert continues to teach and write about Flash. In addition to this book, he is the coauthor of the Flash MX 2004 ActionScript Bible (Wiley), as well as Macromedia MX: Building Rich Internet Applications (Macromedia Press). He has developed and taught Flash workshops for education centers in California, including and Art Center College of Design, as well as doing on-site training and seminars for clients in the United States and Canada. Robert has been a regular featured speaker at the FlashForward, FlashintheCan, and SIGGRAPH conferences.

Snow Dowd—Snow initially collaborated with Robert Reinhardt on multimedia, film, and photography-based installation projects while earning a BFA in Image Arts at Ryerson University. During this time, she was also the production manager for Design Archive, one of Canada’s preeminent architectural photography studios ( Working with renowned photographers and an exacting international client base of architects and designers helped her gain a deeper appreciation for architecture and industrial design. She also learned to love color printing, but the novelty of darkroom chemicals quickly faded. Fortunately, multimedia design offered a rewarding alternative to the health hazards of traditional photography.
Now fully immersed in digital production, Snow is able to synthesize her background in visual arts and communication theory with an ever-expanding software toolkit. Focusing on content architecture and interface design, Snow strives to make print and Web projects that are beautiful, functional and memorable. A recent challenge was designing a Flash interface for a project to deliver legal information to remote Navajo and Hopi communities. The content is available in three languages, online as well as through touch-screen kiosks hosted in the offices of DNA People’s Legal Services, a nonprofit legal services organization.

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Table of Contents




Part I: An Introduction to Flash Web Production.

Chapter 1: Understanding the Flash MX 2004 Framework.

Chapter 2: Exploring Web Technologies.

Chapter 3: Planning Flash Projects.

Part II: Mastering the Flash Environment.

Chapter 4: Interface Fundamentals.

Chapter 5: Drawing in Flash.

Chapter 6: Symbols, Instances, and the Library.

Chapter 7: Applying Color.

Chapter 8: Working with Text.

Chapter 9: Modifying Graphics.

Part III: Creating Animation and Effects.

Chapter 10: Animation Strategies.

Chapter 11: Timeline Animation and Effects.

Chapter 12: Applying Layer Types.

Chapter 13: Character Animation Techniques.

Chapter 14: Exporting Animation.

Part IV: Integrating Media Files with Flash.

Chapter 15: Adding Sound.

Chapter 16: Importing Artwork.

Chapter 17: Embedding Video.

Part V: Adding Basic Interactivity to Flash Movies.

Chapter 18: Understanding Actions and Event Handlers.

Chapter 19: Building Timelines and Interactions.

Chapter 20: Making Your First Flash MX 2004 Project.

Part VI: Distributing Flash Movies.

Chapter 21: Publishing Flash Movies.

Chapter 22: Integrating Flash Content with Web Pages.

Chapter 23: Using the Flash Player and Projector.

Part VII: Approaching ActionScript.

Chapter 24: Knowing the Nuts and Bolts of Code.

Chapter 25: Controlling Movie Clips.

Chapter 26: Using Functions and Arrays.

Chapter 27: Interacting with Movie Clips.

Chapter 28: Sharing and Loading Assets.

Chapter 29: Using Components.

Chapter 30: Sending Data In and Out of Flash.

Chapter 31: Applying HTML and Text Field Formatting.

Chapter 32: Creating a Portfolio Site in Flash.

Chapter 33: Creating a Game in Flash.

Chapter 34: Managing and Troubleshooting Flash Movies.

Part VIII: Expanding Flash.

Chapter 35: Working with Raster Graphics.

Chapter 36: Working with Vector Graphics.

Chapter 37: Working with Dreamweaver MX 2004.

Chapter 38: Working with Director MX.

Part IX: Appendixes.

Appendix A: Keyboard Shortcuts.

Appendix B: Digital Audio Basics.

Appendix C: Digital Video Basics.

Appendix D: Using the CD-ROM.

Appendix E: Guest Experts Information.


End-User License Agreement.

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First Chapter

Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Bible

By Robert Reinhardt Snow Dowd

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7645-4303-2

Chapter One

Understanding the Flash MX 2004 Framework

Since its humble beginnings as FutureSplash in 1997, Macromedia Flash has matured into a powerful tool for deploying a wide range of media content. With every new version released, the possibilities have increased for imaginative and dynamic content creation-for the Web and beyond. Macromedia has responded to the development community's unprecedented embrace of Flash by expanding advanced features and enhancing tools for new users. Never before has Flash incorporated so many new features in a single release.

In this chapter, we introduce Flash MX 2004 and explore the many possibilities that are available for your productions. We also discuss how Flash compares to or enhances other programs that you may be familiar with.

Flash movies are usually viewed in a few different ways. The most common method is from within a Web browser, either as an asset within an HTML page or as a Web site completely comprised of a master Flash movie using several smaller Flash movies as loaded SWF assets. The Flash Player is also available as a standalone application (known as a projector), which can be used to view movies without needing a Web browser or the plug-in. This method is commonly used for deployment of Flash movies on CD-ROMs, floppy disks, or other offline media formats.

Cross References

You can learn moreabout projectors and standalones in Chapter 23, "Using the Flash Player and Projector."

It's a (Flash) MX 2004 World

Flash has seen significant development over the years in both capability and design. Consistently proven with each new release is that developers continue to push the technology into new territory. In its current iteration, Flash MX 2004 is advancing the successes of its predecessor, Flash MX. The new version offers more tools to create the latest breed of Web experiences, dubbed Rich Internet Applications (RIAs), and Macromedia has added more authoring features to help the novice user learn the toolset.

Cross Reference

We discuss the topic of RIAs in Chapter 2, "Exploring Web Technologies."

However, Flash is no longer a single authoring product. Macromedia has made two versions of the tool available: Flash MX 2004 and Flash MX Professional 2004. Both editions share many core updates to Flash MX, including our following favorites:

* Timeline Effects: A feature added specifically for new users, Timeline Effects enable you to quickly add motion and visual effects to your Flash artwork or text. Flash MX 2004 automatically creates all the tweens and symbols necessary for the chosen effect. You can change or edit effect settings at anytime while authoring your Flash movie. Learn more about Timeline Effects in Chapter 11, "Timeline Animation and Effects."

* Behaviors: Another feature added to help novice users, the Behaviors panel adds interactivity to Flash buttons, components, and frames very easily. If you've used behaviors in Dreamweaver, you'll find that using behaviors in Flash is very similar. Several examples throughout this book use the new behaviors in Flash MX 2004.

* Spell checker: You can now check the spelling of text within your Flash movie, including text in your ActionScript code.

* Document tabs: If you're using the Windows version of Flash MX 2004, you can quickly switch between multiple Flash documents .fla files) by clicking the document's tab in the authoring environment.

* Improved Actions panel: The Actions panel has an improved Script navigator, enabling you to edit the actions of any keyframe or instance in your Flash document. You can also pin multiple scripts in the Script pane, so you can quickly switch from one script to another. The Actions panel is discussed throughout Parts V and VII of this book.

* Find and Replace: A highly requested feature, Find and Replace does exactly what it says: locates and updates elements in your Flash document. Everything from text to font types to colors to imported graphics and sounds can be searched with this tool.

* Better graphics support for imported files: Macromedia dubs this "high-fidelity import," which now enables you to import Adobe PDF and Adobe Illustrator 10 files with better conversion to Flash-equivalent vector graphics.

* Video Import wizard: Continuing with Flash MX's video encoding abilities, you have greater control over compression options and in/out points during the video import process. You can find more information about this feature in Chapter 17, "Embedding Video."

* Flash Player detection: Flash MX 2004 can create fully built HTML and Flash movie detection files for your Flash content. In previous versions, such automation was only available in Dreamweaver. Now, you can setup this detection process directly in the Flash MX 2004 authoring environment.

* ActionScript 2.0: Perhaps one of the biggest advancements in this new version of Flash is a whole new version of the ActionScript language. While most of the coding conventions remain relatively intact, ActionScript 2.0 adds strict data typing, case sensitivity, and close compliance with ECMAScript 4.0.

If you use Flash MX Professional 2004, sometimes referred to as Flash MX Pro or Flash MX Pro 2004, you can take advantage of the following additional features as well:

* Script editor: You can edit AS or ASC files (which are external code files for Flash movies or Flash Communication Server applications, respectively) directly in the Flash authoring environment. All of the code support available in the Actions panel is available in the Script editor as well.

* Screen-based visual development environment: One of the biggest differences between Flash MX 2004 and Flash MX Pro 2004 is the ability to use a new authoring concept: screens. Screens enable you to quickly put together forms or slide shows.

* Advanced components: Flash MX Pro 2004 ships with more components than the standard version, including data connectors that can tap XML and Web service-based data sources. The standard version of Flash MX 2004 has 13 components, whereas the Professional version has 30 components, including Media components that load Flash Video files (.flv files) or MP3 files. We discuss many of the Standard version components in Chapter 29, "Using Components."

* Data binding: The Component Inspector panel, available in both editions of Flash MX 2004, has an additional Bindings tab, enables you to easily attach dynamic data to components.

* Project management: The Project panel, available only in Flash MX Pro 2004, organizes all of the files associated with your Flash projects. You can create and define sites in Flash MX Pro 2004, just as you do in Dreamweaver. The same site definition files are used between the two programs, making it easy to edit files in either application. The Project panel can publish multiple Flash documents (.fla files) at once, and it can be integrated with Microsoft SourceSafe to version-track your source code. You can learn more about the Project panel in Chapter 3, "Planning Flash Projects."

* FLV Exporter: One of the most amazing aspects of Flash MX Pro 2004 isn't even in the authoring environment! A separate installer ships with Flash MX Pro 2004 that enables you to export Flash Video (.flv files) from professional video applications such as Adobe After Effects, Apple Final Cut Pro, and Apple QuickTime Player Pro. This tool actually installs a QuickTime Component that can be used by most QuickTime-aware programs. The quality of the video produced by this tool is far better than the native Video Import wizard. To learn more about the use of this tool, see Chapter 17, "Embedding Video."

Many enhancements are not directly seen in the authoring environment though. While there are two editions of Flash MX 2004, there's still only one Flash Player 7 that's used to view the movies published from either edition. Flash Player 7 adds the following enhancements, among others:

* Small font size rendering: You can enable text fields in Flash documents to optimize the display of small font sizes during playback. While it's generally a good idea to anti-alias (or smooth) text in Flash movies, small font sizes can contribute to illegible text-such sizes can be too blurry to read. Now, in Flash Player 7-compatible movies, you can force small text to render aliased, with smoothing turned off.

* FLV file playback from standard Web servers: When streaming audio and video was introduced with Flash Player 6, a new file format, Flash Video (.flv file), was introduced. Prior to Flash MX 2004, this file format could only be served from a regular Web server if it was imported into a Flash document at author-time. Now, you can load FLV files directly into a Flash movie (.swf file) at runtime, using NetStream objects in ActionScript. To learn how to load FLV files in this manner, read Chapter 28, "Sharing and Loading Assets."


You still need Macromedia Flash Communication Server MX to truly stream Flash Video (.flv files) at runtime. The new FLV loading feature of Flash Player 7 progressively downloads the video file, while Flash Communication Server can stream any portion of a video file.

* Support for Web services: You can now load data from a Web service running on a remote server. Web services have gained momentum over the last two years as a standard format for sending and receiving data over the Web. Web services access WSDL files (Web Services Description Language) that can tap dynamic data sources such as databases.

Macromedia Flash Remoting MX remains, however, the fastest and most efficient way to deal with data transactions in Flash movies. Expect to see future updates for Flash Remoting MX for the new version of Flash MX 2004.

* Tougher security restrictions: Flash Player 7 implements new security policies for data loaded into Flash Player 6 or higher movies. You can only load data from the same domain as that hosting the Flash movie (.swf file), unless a policy file, named crossdomain.xml, exists on the remote domain you are trying to access.

Web Resource

For the most up-to-date information on the new security policy and crossdomain.xml files, see Macromedia's site at:

* Better runtime performance: Macromedia has posted that Flash movie performance has been increased by a factor of two to five times for video, scripting, and general display rendering. In our own tests, we found that even our most complex Flash movies ran better and faster in Flash Player 7.


This is a relatively simple feature to test. Open one of your most intensive Flash movies created in Flash MX, and publish it as a Flash Player 7 movie from Flash MX 2004. Run the new movie in Flash Player 7 and see if you notice a difference.

* Automatic player updates: The Windows version of Flash Player 7 can now be updated automatically. This great enhancement means that you can more reliably use enhancements that Macromedia may make available in minor revisions of Flash Player 7, not to mention future major revisions of Flash Player.

For a complete list of features in each edition of Flash MX 2004, see the Help pages in the Help panel's booklet, Getting Started with Flash [right arrow] Getting Started [right arrow] What's new in Flash.

Web Resource

Before you buy or upgrade Flash MX 2004, we highly recommend that you take a look at the detailed feature comparison table on Macromedia's site at:


If you're using the trial version of Flash MX 2004 (included on this book's CD-ROM), you can switch to either the Standard or Professional version at anytime by choosing Help [right arrow] Switch to Flash MX Professional 2004 or Help.Switch to Flash MX 2004, depending on which version you're currently running.

Macromedia also released new versions of Dreamweaver and Fireworks, as part of the Studio MX 2004 software bundle. The user interfaces for Flash, Dreamweaver, and Fireworks are nearly identical, each touting a Property inspector, dockable panel sets, and specialized tools to integrate the products with one another.

Cross References

To learn more about enhancing your Flash production with Dreamweaver, Fireworks, FreeHand, and Director, refer to Part VIII, "Expanding Flash."

Although the broad array of Flash work created by Web designers and developers already speaks for itself, the sleek interface and the powerful additional features of Flash MX 2004 surely inspires more challenging, functional, entertaining, informative, bizarre, humorous, beautiful, fascinating experiments and innovations.

There are probably more ways to use Flash than there are adjectives to describe them, but here are just a few examples:

* Forms for collecting user information and dynamically loading custom content based on this interaction

* Real-time interaction with multiple users on a forum or support site, including live audio/video feeds of connected parties

* A video portfolio using native MX 2004 video import capabilities and dynamic loading of content

* Animated I.D.


Excerpted from Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Bible by Robert Reinhardt Snow Dowd Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2006

    Darn this book!!! no good for begginers!

    I bought the other book of wileys bible, the Flash MX 2004 actionscript bible. I thought as a designer and begginer. Indeed the tutorial is not friendly, Their target must be intermediate and advanced programmers. NOT for Begginers! specially those who wanted to learn actionscript for the first time. Also before you proceed to the first step of the tutorial. The book will punch you dozen of scripts without explanation, how DARE WILEYS RELEASE THIS FOR BEGGINERS!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2006

    KNV: pretty good book

    This book seems to be long, fill with almost 1000 pages and everyone of them covers enough information so that the reader would know its main ideas. Very detailed book. It takes some times to sit down and focus but you'll have the confident of knowing the subject at the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2004

    Great Book

    I am know some flash and with the help of this book I learned ten times more, I should of bought it earlier for my school projects.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2004

    Hard to understand

    This is the most confusing book I've ever read on programming anything. If you sit down in front of the computer with this book and try to follow along you get lost quick. The sequence of the chapter is crazy. You have to wade thru 19 chapters before you get to make the first project. Thats 610 pages of introduction before you really do anything. If you have basic computer skills, as I would assume anyone reading this book would, a good 40% of this book is a complete waste of time. This book does cover most everything you'll ever need to know about Flash but you really have to work to deciper the information. There are times when you're confronted with pages and pages of nothing but text. Now, to me programming in something like Flash I need pictures and alot of them. This is a very visual environment isn't it?

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