AS 3.0 vs AS 2.0

New Here ,
Dec 13, 2007 Dec 13, 2007

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Hello, I used to work a lot with Flash til a few years ago, and was quite an expert in what's now called AS 1.0. I stopped using Flash just when Flash upgraded to AS 2.0, so never worked with that version of ActionScript. Now I've decided to pick up Flash again, and was wondering: should I just learn AS 3.0 and forget about AS 2.0 or do I need to know about AS 2.0?
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Guru ,
Dec 13, 2007 Dec 13, 2007

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This is a very debatable topic, however, I would say just learn AS3.

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Enthusiast ,
Dec 13, 2007 Dec 13, 2007

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Also, it depends on what you plan on doing with AS. For instance, if you are using AS to animate movieclips in a banner ad that will be served on another site, chances are you will not be allowed to supply any SWFs for Flash Player versions above 7. If that's the case, you'll have to stick to AS 2.0.

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New Here ,
Dec 13, 2007 Dec 13, 2007

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Flash Player 7?! Haven't people got a newer player yet?

I think my plan is to go back to creating web sites.

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Enthusiast ,
Dec 13, 2007 Dec 13, 2007

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Yeah, you would think, right? The media agencies' statistics seem to differ from Adobe's on the player distribution.

Building sites is way better than banners anyway. 🙂

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New Here ,
Dec 14, 2007 Dec 14, 2007

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My advice: if you know how to program in C++ or Java, go for actionscript3. Otherwise, stick with actionscript 2, it is still accessible to designers and artists like me (maybe you). Adobe has sold Flash to programmers since ActionScript 3, sorry guys (and girls), now we can only do Photoshop. Programmers on one side, artist on the other side, no more in middle multimedia creators. All this because, one day, Adobe gave the reponsability of ergonomics, pedagogical aspects and ease of use to...a gang of programmers, with the total pedagogical disaster we face with Flex and actionScript 3. Thanks Adobe, you just killed all the fun. Let's talk classes now, and forget about cool texts effect. Just browse the Flash forum topics, you'll understant what I mean when I say Flash has sold its soul to programmers. But hey, I understand them to get jalous. They had to work months to code a simple stupid tetris game in C++. While us, artists, we were doing fun FLash games (not always well programmed, but still playable). This had to stop, we where having too much fun. We were getting dangerous (OHH, these pseudo programmers could jeopardize the whole web with their unsecure codes !!) we had to stop them. The way to convice everyone to sell Flash to programmers ? the same way they do for soo much stuff these day: fear. This is unsecure, badlly and slow. We have to make FLash a lot more robust, like C++. They had ALL THE OTHER options (c++, c#, PHP, XML, JAVAscript, Ajax, DHTML. But that wasn't enought. Our Flash was sooo fun. They had to have it too, and make it works for their needs, their skills. VOILA, now its yours guys. And me, I'll have a look at other alternative, as Adobe does't have a clue about a thing called :ease of use. As a multimedia teacher, I will also look at some alternative to FLash, because, in my opinion, actionscript 3 is almost impossible to teach to web designers artist. Finally, don't tell me things like (oh, don't worry, you can still program in actionscipt 2). Yes, that is true. I can also still program in Javascript et HTML, or go back to my TR80. THis is not comforting position. It is like saing : you can't be part of the party anymore. However, you can still have a beer on the porch. Thanks Adobe, you killed the Multimedia and all the fun we had to program cool rollovers and clip effects.

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Enthusiast ,
Dec 14, 2007 Dec 14, 2007

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Whoa, the floodgates opened up there. Thanks for your post. I learned a new word today... pedagogical.

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Participant ,
Dec 14, 2007 Dec 14, 2007

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heh, actionscript was always a programming language, the reason it probably has migrated to Object Oriented is because most languages are going that way these days.

Hermis is in some way correct that it is unfortunately more difficult to learn and or teach, because object oriented programming isn't quite as quick or easy to wrap your head around.

I cannot speak for AS2 or AS1 as I have never used them (I started with Flash CS3) I did not find learning basic AS3 to be too bad. Most things have simliar standard ways of performing actions. So once you learn something you can apply it to almost anything.

The bottom line as far as I see it is that this isn't just actionscript that is going the way of object oriented, so to take the time and effort to learn a language that eventually will not be supported, and more than likely than not has less functionality, seems a bit silly.

For the short term, learning AS2 will probably be easier for you, and allow you to get done what you need to do. However in the long term learning AS3 will take only moderately more work, but you wont have to start from scratch when AS2 is no longer an available option.

Just my opinion.

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New Here ,
Dec 14, 2007 Dec 14, 2007

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Where do we cross the line between programming language and adding interactivity with simple actions ? The point is more about: can you add complexe interactivity without coding like hell (read a few lines of code). Can we too make games and dynamic interfaces without being a talented programmer ? Adding interactivity (and a little more) with a few click is possible with Dreamweaver, with Flash AS1 and 2, with Director, with Encore, Acobat, Powerpoint, etc, etc. Not anymore with ActionScript 3. It seems that to make a simple rollover with AS3 you need (this is CRAZY) : a external file containing many many lines of codes, two or tree functions, etc ,etc. THis is far from a few click.
P.S: pedagogical, I don't think this is a real english word ('am French). It would translate into "easy to learn or teach"

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Enthusiast ,
Dec 14, 2007 Dec 14, 2007

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Yeah, the comment about the learning a new word was made in jest. I'm not sure I understand why you are angry with AS3. You don't have to use it but if you choose to, it's there. If Adobe really wanted to hand this application over to programmers entirely, they'd not allow us to use AS 2.0 at all.

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New Here ,
Dec 20, 2007 Dec 20, 2007

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yes, you get my point Mithrandirself . ActionsScript, back to FLash 3, was not a real programming language, to my eyes. It was like a very simple Basic. Kids could get the basics of it. It's all a question of syntax and structure guys. Having to code everything in one page (worse, on external documents ?!!) instead of putting code ON the objects adds another level of abstraction. Reminds me of this very simple language we where learning back to school, when I was a kid , called LOGO. We had to move a turttle using simple commands. Kids could program simple stuff with this. For me, Flash could have been the next educative revolution of this century, making all kids wanting to learn programming et propulsing our nations into a new era of knowledge.... Instead, Adobe decide it wants high level programmers to learn Flash (as if they didn't had enought tools to build softwares)...And that is exactlly what is happening. In a way, if they REALLY intend to keep AS2 AND AS3 both alive and updated that would be great !.They'd have the best of both worlds. HOwever, I doubt to see new AS2 features in the futur.

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Participant ,
Dec 21, 2007 Dec 21, 2007

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again, "Having to code everything in one page (worse, on external documents ?!!) instead of putting code ON the objects adds another level of abstraction."

Is simply not true, you don't have to put anything in an external file whatsoever if you don't want to.

Removing the ability to place code on a particular button is actually a more organized way of coding, and easier to understand/fix later on. This was done to (as far as I know) encourage programming in a centralized location which is better. Lets say you have 10 buttons, and each button has its code attached to the button directly. If you wanted to make any changes you have to select each button, and make the nessicary edits in each of them. Now imagine 100 different buttons or other objects, Now imagine all those buttons having different codes depending upon where the project is along the timeline. This type of coding becomes an unmanageable nightmare real fast.

I think you underestimate your students ability to absorb information if you think that placing a button on a stage, giving it an instance name and then adding a listener and a function is going to throw them for a loop.

its a 4 step process, with two of those steps not requiring any programming knowledge whatsoever. I'm sorry your upset about the way things have changed, but if you took just a couple hours to figure out the new system its pretty easy to understand and teach. (you want to wait for a certain event, add an event listener. If you want to do something when the event occurs, add a function, both of these things follow a very simple pattern that can practically be copy/pasted in most cases.)

Honestly I bet that if you stoped focusing on how things have changed, and asked some questions in the AS3 forums about how in the simplest form you can do the things you previously could do in the old system, you would be able to learn all of the stuff you could previously do in no time at all. After which, if you look back on any old projects you did that took more depth than a single click of a button you'd probably notice the benefits of these changes.

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New Here ,
Dec 26, 2007 Dec 26, 2007

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Thanks for your positive comments Michael, makes me fell more optimist about learning AS3. However, all I said is still true. I understand everything you said, especially about coding things OUT OF THE ACTUAL objects, like attaching code to a button. I do things like that myself, even in AS2, for more complex projects. When you say "This was done to (as far as I know) encourage programming in a centralized location which is better.", I TOTALLY agree with you. This is a more efficient way of coding, no doubts about that. Note also that this is the way most robust programming languages do things (I beleave). Again, my point is the following: AS3 is more focused on programmers, efficiency, speed, well organized, centralized, etc. No doubts about that. From a programmer's point of view, all this make sense. AS3 now looks more like C++, JAVA or all other programming language. However, from an artist point of view, or a kid point of view, or a teacher point of view, or my uncle point of view, having simple code on buttons, is a LOT MORE intuitive than to scroll of full page of code containing all the programs. Have you ever try to teach kids (or even adults) programming? As soon as your code reach more than a paragraph, you lost them. To some point, AS2 was THE LIMIT they could understand (to my point of view). I think you over estimate non programmers skills. And it is not only about where to put codes, there is a lot of changes in AS3 that makes AS3 cross the line separating programmers world and artist world. For example, typing variables maybe a little change for a programmer (even a better thing), but this is a NIGHTMARE for people like me. When you add many of these little pains, in the end, you found yourself with extra headachs. Simple as that. Finally, your thing about having to deal with hundred of buttons, again, show a programmers point of view. We artist, never have to deal with such projects, these are projects given to programmers . We rarelly have more that a few clips, a few buttons, a few sounds, and many cool animations, like 80% of personal flash website are built. If you need PHP, a hundred buttons, speed and easy updates, hire a programmer, not an artist. In the past, programmers could make heavy website- or programs with .NET, Javascript, PHP, ASP, COldfusion, etc,etc. We artist, we ONLY HAD Flash to have fun and TOO make websites. Now, what do we use to make simple, fun, unefficient website ? Multimedia is not ONLY about efficiency, money, security, and blablabla, it is also about FUN, education also. Now, our kids, instead of having fun with Flash (like they used to) and learn programming basics, even unofficials ones, they'll have fun with their Wii and their Xbox, wich is too bad, to my opinion. I wish my post here make you all programmers see a different point of view than the one of efficiency, speed, organisation, and undestand that the price you pay for such improovments are: less fun, less easy to learn and teach, centrelized code=frightening. To me, it is clear, a few years ago, the web was driven by artists. Now, it is driven by buisnessman, programmers and lawyers. Too bad, the party is over. And you know what the next step will be ? You'll need a special permit to run servers and publish stuff on the web in order to garanty "efficiency, security and uniformity to the web buisness". For me, AS3 is the begining of the end of the party. Flash soul was sold to programmers in order to make it more: efficient, organized, logical, uniform, etc, etc. But there is a price to pay for such changes, and we, artists pay the bill, in my opinion.

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New Here ,
Dec 27, 2007 Dec 27, 2007

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I come from a design background (video, animation etc...) and I find learning Flash (especially AS3/OOP) more difficult than anything I've done before. Completely unintuitive to the way I've always done things. I'm much more into grabbing things and manipulating. Very timeline/keyframe/gui based.
The more I read about OOP the more sense it is starting to make. (I feel like I'm just starting to "get-it"). The more I get it, the more I realize how beneficial it is to keep things code-based. Tho possibilities are endless. In fact, I don't think I'll ever use the Flash timeline again. What a mess IMHO. I never thought I'd say this, but I hope they don't add more code functionality to the the existing gui in Flash. It's proving to be a very steep learning curve for this non-programmer, but in the end I think it'll pay off.

-mike

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Guru ,
Dec 14, 2007 Dec 14, 2007

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"a external file containing many many lines of codes, two or tree functions, etc ,etc. THis is far from a few click."

This is not true whatsoever. The same amount of coding if it was AS2. You do not need an external AS file, you can code right on the timeline. All you need is one function. There is no 'etc, etc'. That is it.

myBtn.addEventListener(MouseEvent.ROLL_OVER, myFunction);
function myFunction(event:MouseEvent):void{
// do something
}

This is real simple. The first line is adding a listener to the button, so that whenever the mouse rolls over the button, it will trigger "myFunction", which you can put any name there you want. After that is the function declaration, enclosing what should happen when that button has the mouse roll over it. Very simple. You are blowing this way out of proportion.

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Participant ,
Dec 14, 2007 Dec 14, 2007

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why would you need an external file to add a rollover effect?

if the thing you wanted to manipulate was named "object"

object.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_OVER, mouseHandler)

function mouseHandler(e:MouseEvent):void {
//tell the system what to do here when a mouse over occurs.
}

I guess it comes down to your definition of "complex", I'm not trying to say that its different from AS2 but seeing as this is their first attempt at object oriented they are lacking a great deal of helpfull stuff.

For instance there seems to be no direct connection between objects on the stage and objects in the code during write time. for instance if you named a button on your stage "btn" and then typed btn in actionscript the system has no idea that btn is an object of type button and does not display all of its methods and events etc. So your forced to search their not so awesome library of classes for what you are looking for, and the documentation could use a few examples and perhaps a little more in-depth description.

However thats not the point. The point is that most if not all serious programming languages are moving towards object oriented programming, so being angry about it isn't going to make it go away. If your unhappy that they removed all this innate ability to do stuff without code this seems like a bad place to put your concerns as this is a programming forum. Moreover did it occur to you that they might be putting that stuff back in, in the future. It could be that redoing the entire language and making it work with any sort of stability took a great deal of their time (you have to realise that all those easy non-programmer tools are basically generating that code behind the scenes for you, so the programming stuff has to be there first)

I'm not sure what you are looking for out of this, and it certainly doesn't help the person's initial question which is "should I learn AS2 or AS3".

I think you should learn AS3 by the way ;)

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Participant ,
Dec 14, 2007 Dec 14, 2007

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my bad, its ROLL_OVER not MOUSE_OVER

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Participant ,
Dec 28, 2007 Dec 28, 2007

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The point I was trying to make Hermis is that if you want to do simple things there are basic/almost copy and paste solutions to those problems that you don't even really have to wrap your head around.

I have taught non-programmers how to program, and I find that the biggest problem is the initial fear of something being so alien. Finding something people can latch onto and then building upon it is key, so as I've suggested before, if you have something you want to do in AS3.0 ask and I'm sure you can get an answer that will at least get you started.

Honestly, give us an example of something basic that you previously wanted to teach, and I'm sure we can give you the solution in AS3, and probably some hints on how to go about explaining it.

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