Hi all,

I am a complete newbie when it comes to Flash programming. I am basically a server-side programmer with more than enough knowledge of client-side technologies. However, Flash is something I am keen on learning.

I was looking for info on the following about Flash:
1. What kind of software I would require for Flash programming. (I want to be able to use it with ColdFusion/HTML/JavaScript.)
2. How much it costs and where I could find it?
3. Are there any compatibility issues if users use IE6.0/FireFox2.0?
4. A good/recommended book+website to learn the language.

I test my code locally but the server that my websites reside on is hosted by an outside organization. Is there anything I need to check with them so the Flash aspect works as expected?

Thanks in advance!

I was looking for info on the following about Flash:
1. What kind of software I would require for Flash programming. (I want to be able to use it with ColdFusion/HTML/JavaScript.)
2. How much it costs and where I could find it?
3. Are there any compatibility issues if users use IE6.0/FireFox2.0?
4. A good/recommended book+website to learn the language.

Okay here's my attempt to answer your question, I to am a server-side web developer that has dabbled with flash.

1. Well the best thing to do would be get the trial version of Flash CS4 to start, u can try it for 30 days I think, then you can decide whether u want to buy it or not. There are other tools out there to create flash animation, but if you want to do custom Actionscript get Flash CS4!

2. Goes for $699USD. I remember it being over $750 CAD. Goto the source: Adobe - http://www.adobe.com/products/flash/

3. Luckily the latest flash players for each of those browsers seems to work A-OK with .swf files I've created using flash cs4, so no issues that I know of. Just have to make sure ur visitors use the latest flash player.

4. the Adobe site is once again my first spot for references: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flash/ , tons of tutorials and examples. I usually start from there to be inspired.

Well that's it, in a nutshell!

Okay here's my attempt to answer your question, I to am a server-side web developer that has dabbled with flash.

1. Well the best thing to do would be get the trial version of Flash CS4 to start, u can try it for 30 days I think, then you can decide whether u want to buy it or not. There are other tools out there to create flash animation, but if you want to do custom Actionscript get Flash CS4!

2. Goes for $699USD. I remember it being over $750 CAD. Goto the source: Adobe - http://www.adobe.com/products/flash/

3. Luckily the latest flash players for each of those browsers seems to work A-OK with .swf files I've created using flash cs4, so no issues that I know of. Just have to make sure ur visitors use the latest flash player.

4. the Adobe site is once again my first spot for references: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flash/ , tons of tutorials and examples. I usually start from there to be inspired.

Well that's it, in a nutshell!

Thanks fayola! Just the last part of my original query - What (if anything) do I need to check with the organization that hosts my website to make sure Flash works as expected?

What (if anything) do I need to check with the organization that hosts my website to make sure Flash works as expected?

You might want to check that your hosts allow .swf files to be uploaded to their servers. Most web hosts nowadays allow .swf files, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to check!

Also if you want a coldfusion database to be hosted on your site, it might be worth checking that your host supports that too.

On the subject of your original post...If you can't afford Flash CS4 (because it is expensive!) there are some free / low cost alternatives:

For starters there's the free Flex3 SDK from Adobe, which will enable you to create flash movies using pure AS3 and MXML.
With the Flex3 SDK, basically you create .as files for your AS3 classes and perhaps some MXML files with your favourite text editor and then use the SDK's command line tools to compile your .swf. The SDK is available for almost all platforms I believe (win/mac/most *nix variants).

If the idea of building your .swfs manually seems a bit daunting or you just can't be arsed (which I certainly couldn't!), then there are a few GUI's/IDE's available for the Flex3 SDK.

These include:
Adobe's Flex builder (Not free, but much cheaper than CS4)
Eclipse (free) - I think you need a plugin as well as the Eclipse IDE
NetBeans (free) - I think there's a plugin to use Flex with it (but I could be wrong!),
Flashdevelop (free, but only available on windows!)

Flashdevelop is the one I'd definitely recommend if you're running windows - it's by far the best IDE for using flash/flex/AS3 IMHO as it's relatively small, it's free and it's great. I've been using it for a few years now and it's absolutely brilliant!

Before installing Flashdevelop, you'll need to go to the Adobe website and download the free flex3 SDK. Once it's downloaded unzip it somewhere on your hard-drive...

Next, go to www.flashdevelop.org and download and install the latest version of Flashdevelop.

When you try to compile your first AS3 project, the compiler will prompt you for the path to the flex3 SDK. Simply browse to the root folder of the flex3 SDK and hit OK and from then on the compiler will be able to find the SDK and build your swfs!

The Flashdevelop IDE has a visual studio / netbeans style look and feel to it, so if you're a C/C++/VB/.NET/Java programmer then you'll be pretty comfortable with it.

The workflow in Flashdevelop is slightly different to traditional flash programming as there is no timeline; everything is done in code. But it isn't difficult to learn!

Flashdevelop also has built in syntax highlighting for several different type of files. So I use it as my main HTML, XHTML, XML, PHP, Javascript and CSS editor!

There are plenty of examples and tutorials to download on the flashdevelop site , plus there are tons of built in project types - AS2/AS3/HAXE/AIR.

RE: Are there any compatibility issues if users use IE6.0/FireFox2.0?
At the end of the day a .swf is a .swf and should load into the latest version of any of the major browsers flash plugins.

The only thing that can cause problems when using different browsers to view flash web pages is the way that the flash content has been embedded into the HTML...Different browsers and different versions of browsers support various HTML tags in different ways. So code that works for the latest version of Mozilla might not work in an older version of IE.

Sticking to the w3 standard is advisable to at least ensure your flash content will load into the newer, more compliant browsers..But if you want to try to get it to work for multiple browsers both old and new, there is an open source .js available called swfobject.js which as far as I understand it, detects the type and version of the browser being used to view the page and can then dynamically generate the correct object/embed tags for your .swf, so the users browser will always see the appropriate tags, thus enabling virtually any browser (any of the major ones anyway!) to load your entire page (flash 'n all!)

Incidentally, Flashdevelop's AS3 project templates use swfobject.js to embed .swfs into html files! ;)

Books:
A few books on AS3 which I'd recommend are:
Object Oriented Actionscript 3
Foundation Actionscript 3 Animation: Making Things Move!
Advanced Actionscript 3.0 Animation
All of which are published by Friends of ED (www.friendsofed.com)

As for tutorials, I find that google is my best friend there...There are AS3 tutorials all over the place!

That's about it from me I think...Hope it's of some help!
Cheers for now,
Jas.

You might want to check that your hosts allow .swf files to be uploaded to their servers. Most web hosts nowadays allow .swf files, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to check!
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As for tutorials, I find that google is my best friend there...There are AS3 tutorials all over the place!

That's about it from me I think...Hope it's of some help!
Cheers for now,
Jas.

Wowww JasonHippy! That explanation deserves more than a few reputation points!! Thanks for the detailed description!