18 March 2007

Flash Flopped

// This script takes the user to Scene 2 when goScene_btn
// is released.
goScene_btn.onRelease = function() {
gotoAndStop("Scene 2", 1);

Good grief! All I wanted was to make a button for use on the web, that when clicked on does something, like revealing a picture behind it. But in Macromedia Flash it's not as simple as I think it should. The above "code" is needed just to go to Scene 2 of some movie clip. I sure had the wrong idea about Flash.

A long time ago, when there was a computer called the Commodore Amiga, bundled with the computer was an authoring program called AmigaVision. One could write multimedia applications with AmigaVision all from by dragging icons into places and setting up their various parameters. For example, you can have a movie clip loaded, then a music file played, then some text shown on the screen, and so on. AmigaVision was probably inspired by HyperCard, the grandfather of authoring software, from Apple Computer. Unfortunately, I never actually used AmigaVision, even though I had it with my Amiga 3000 computer. I just never had the need to use it.

I had the wrong idea that Flash would be something similar to HyperCard or AmigaVision. Just drag and drop icons representing the various actions then adjust the icons to perform the work. I have no problem with learning programming languages. However, I do plenty of that at work already, when I get home I just want to have some fun. The Flash language, I think it's called ActionScript, seems to be object-oriented, that is, everything is an object with properties and actions associated to them. The lousy goScene button above has an event called onRelease associated to it, relating to the event that button is released. The trouble with this is that you need to know the exact thing to type, or know what to look for. Integrated development environment like Visual Studio help by predicting or listing the various options available as you type the codes. But again, when I'm home I just want to do something on the creative side, not learning a new programming language and the various details needed. And definitely not while the trial expires every day...

I may download another Flash demo, this time for use with my Windows XP PC, but perhaps I'll fare better if I read more about Flash first. I'm sure there are some good Flash books at the public library.

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