How can I learn Flash online for free?
December 31, 2004 4:03 PM   Subscribe

How can I learn Flash? I'd prefer some free online resources. I know programming. (MI)

Today's awesome Jared Tarbell post finally convinced me to take a look at Flash programming. Also I was long a fan of Ellen's Presents. I'm an experienced programmer (C, Java, Perl, SQL, .*ML, Javascript). My idea of a good graphics program is MS Paint. I hate 95% of the Flash I run across.
posted by Turtle to Education (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Books or I've heard this is the easy way out. I use dreamweaver and have a 'lil' bit of C++ knowledge but when it's time to learn something, either the web or a book will usually do the trick. Dreamweaver has TONS of extentions that will incorporate Fireworks into whatever it is you want done and then you can go back and see what it is Fireworks did after the fact.
posted by BMF at 4:12 PM on December 31, 2004

Response by poster: OK, the books part was pretty well covered by a previous AskMe. But I was hoping I could get started without buying anything, just to get a taste. I downloaded a trial version of Flash MX, so after I install it I'll have 30 days to get hooked, before shelling out a lot of money I suppose. Hm. It looks like a very different culture from the one I'm accustomed to, with its free programming and tools.
posted by Turtle at 5:54 PM on December 31, 2004



or you can just Google computer based training, flash and get some more. Good luck.
posted by LouReedsSon at 6:20 PM on December 31, 2004

WINMX is the answer to ALL your software needs.
posted by BMF at 6:40 PM on December 31, 2004

WINMX is the answer to ALL your software needs.

...but we don't promote or condone piracy here! ;)
posted by LouReedsSon at 7:05 PM on December 31, 2004

Since you already know C and Perl, and appreciate the free stuff, how about Ming tutorials?
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 7:12 PM on December 31, 2004

For an experienced programmer the learning curve souldn't be that steep. Actionscript is basically an OO language with Javascript syntax. The weirdest thing is the whole timeline scheme (Flash used to be an animation tool with a scripting langauge attached to it, now it's more like a programming language with an animation tool attached to it)

All the Classes and method calls are outlined in the docs that come with the software and there are several tutorials as well that should be enough to get you started. Note that almost all of Jared Tarbell's code is open sourced so you can use them as a jumping off point but note that many of them are pretty old (i.e. Flash 4/5 with old school Actionscript (i.e. non-OO)).

Have fun!
posted by gwint at 7:16 PM on December 31, 2004

Okay, this isn't free, but I highly recommend, which you can join for $25 a month. You can quit after one month, and I'm sure you'll only need a month. The site has online training videos, and there must be 300 hours of Flash training.

I also teach Flash classes (in New York), but they aren't free. Still, if you're interested and you're in the area, feel free to contact me (email is in my profile).

Good luck.
posted by grumblebee at 8:47 AM on January 1, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks to all who answered. I'm looking into nakedcodemonkey's suggestion, which indeed suits me since it's free and uses Perl.

There's even a free (yes, I'm cheap) chapter online (PDF (nothing's perfect)) on Ming. Hmm... It takes four pages to explain how to draw a circle... I'll deal, I'm a programmer, not a designer.

The Wikipedia explains Flash pretty well, notes OpenOffice is a free way to create Flash, and helped me understand the difference between Flash and Director/Shockwave: apparently Flash is an open standard and you can see the source, Shockwave is a proprietary, compiled format, so no peeking.
posted by Turtle at 10:00 AM on January 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Apparently the Flash format isn't completely open. There's .swf, which some special tools can more or less legally decompile to .fla.

Now my problem is different: I have an open source .fla. But how can I read it without Flash MX?
posted by Turtle at 10:43 AM on January 1, 2005

I don't think you can read it without an Flash (unless you have some kind of hacking tool, perhaps). SWF is a semi-open format. FLA isn't. FLA is the native format for the Flash authoring tool. With an FLA and Flash, you can output a SWF and other file types (Quicktime, etc.). Other apps that create SWFs (i.e. Swish, Moho, After Effects) have their one native filetypes.
posted by grumblebee at 11:50 AM on January 1, 2005

By the way, for some great examples of Flash programming (and the source code for most of the posted files), visit bit-101. The site also has tutorials, a blog and a forum.
posted by grumblebee at 11:51 AM on January 1, 2005

Here's a book my SO likes best Essential ActionScript 2.0 by Colin Moock
posted by dsaelf at 4:41 PM on January 1, 2005

(Hmm. I left a Firefox window open on bit-101 for a few hours and when I returned it had gobbled all of my system resources.)
posted by Tubes at 11:27 AM on January 2, 2005

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