Book Review: Adobe Flash CS4 Professional How-Tos: 100 Essential Techniques by Mark Schaeffer
I recently bought a new book to help with my Flash development project titled Adobe Flash CS4 Professional How-Tos: 100 Essential Techniques, by Mark Schaeffer. With the nature and planned format of the book it’s not so much of a straight read but more of a dip in book for appropriate techniques. As such, especially as each technique is only a few pages it is a handy read to pick to fill a few minutes here and there- the main text is 270 pages.
First off, don’t expect glossy colour images – this book has more of a formal, almost academic, feel to it – supported by gray images but they do the job reasonably. I would also question whether the 100 techniques presented are really the essential ones but it does make for a punchy title – it certainly made me purchase the book.
There are some good tips in the book, #41 for example offers advice on using shape hints to help shape tweening and #56 talks through automatically tracing bitmaps to conserve space. Tip #39 also offers an interesting discussion about whether to use scenes (or not).
If you are looking for a book with 100 useful techniques for using Flash this book probably isn’t going to be what you expected. The book is more of an introduction to Flash divided over 100 sections, containing fundamental techniques, and starts with techniques including How to Start Flash, Setting Document Properties, and finishes up with techniques including Setting Parameters for Component Instances, Formatting Text in a Component Label, and Getting to Know Components. If you were taking a college or training course on Flash this might be the sort of thing you cover in the curriculum, that’s not a bad thing but if you already familiar with Flash you might not get too much out of it.
On a final note it’s not a bad book, and a good introduction to Flash, but the title seems inappropriate which leaves a sense of disappointment if you are looking for some essential techniques to use in Flash.
The back of the book says there is a Free Online Edition with the purchase of the book however when you sign-up you will soon discover this appears to be only a 45 day offer.