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Flash Hacks (en anglais) [Anglais] [Broché]

Sham Bhangal

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Amazon.com: 4.5 étoiles sur 5  15 commentaires
34 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Broaden your use of Flash MX2004 18 novembre 2004
Par Scott Valentine - Publié sur Amazon.com
Have you seen the Hacks series from O'Reilly? Great stuff! I've yet to be disappointed with this series. While most of the information does not really qualify as a hack in the traditional sense, meaning you are not mucking with the actual API or backed of the tool, the books are chock-full of little workarounds, fresh attacks on old problems, and some incredible tips that most users won't have found on their own.

Sham Bhangal delivers 100 excellent tips on using Flash MX 2004 and Professional. I think my absolute favourite is Hack #61, Amit's Dials. This little gem shows how to create some interactive controls for tweaking visual and dynamic effects during the authoring process. The idea is to build the basic functionality of your effect through scripting, add these controls so you can fine-tune the effect, and copy the settings back into the script for permanent hardwiring. There are tons of uses for this tip alone, and it's not complicated. The beauty of this hack is in the fact that it's something most, if not every, designer and developer should know about, but very few use. The time and frustration savings are immense.

But the book is overflowing with things like this. Tips on optimizing and working within performance constraints; deciding when to use math versus traditional animation; caveats and gotchas and hidden bits of wisdom... It's in here! How about adding speech synthesis to your Flash application? Need an autocomplete function for a text field? How about tapping into some undocumented ActionScript? Well, keep reading - you'll find all of that in Sham's book.

The greatest value of Flash Hacks is the insight from someone who has been with Flash for a long time. Bhangal identifies both common and unusual circumstances that designers and developers might encounter, and provides not only great solutions, but good explanations on why a problem exists and the logic behind coming up with an answer. After working through a few of the hacks, you begin to see Flash in a new light, and new problems or challenges are not quite so daunting. A little perspective shift, maybe step outside of Flash for a bit, and you have a whole new toolbox at your disposal.

Structurally, the Hacks books are similar to the Cookbook series, also by O'Reilly. However, the intent is a bit different in that the information tends to be much more flexible and covers a wider variety of challenges. The hacks are numbered and grouped logically, and the index makes a good attempt at referencing not only the hack titles, but some identifying keywords that are more generic, thus more likely to be looked up. Of course, we'd all like an index that pretty much includes every word in the main text, but I digress... Smile

Sham's language is easy to follow, though there are some leaps of faith here and there. Some of the descriptions assume a higher level of familiarity with either ActionScript or web architecture in general, but this shouldn't be much of a problem for anyone who is paying attention. The hacks are appreciably short and compact, while still getting the major points across. This is a good book to thumb through from time to time if you need a little inspiration or want something new to work on. Each hack shouldn't take long to build, and most of the code is available in the companion web site. But don't make the mistake of just cutting pasting code in - the point of this book is to get you working better, creating things on your own, and expanding your approach to Flash.

That all being said, I can't really identify any deficiencies in this book. I'm not sure this book is for everyone, though. Many people are happy with the skills they already have, and enjoy trying to hammer out solutions on their own. Others may just need some bare essentials in coding and design. This book is really aimed at people who are comfortable with Flash, learn by doing, and are interested in tinkering at the fringes of their own capabilities. While Flash Hacks is not necessarily a cutting edge technique book, it's excellent for intermediate to advanced developers who are looking for new approaches. It encourages deeper exploration on both design and coding fronts.

If you are looking to add a few new tricks to your bag, and maybe get a fresh perspective on some old thoughts, grab yourself a copy of Flash Hacks. Most useful for intermediate to advanced Flash users, but not out of the realm for some eager novices.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Very Worthwhile! 12 avril 2005
Par peter sgouros - Publié sur Amazon.com
This is a member of the Hacks series published by O'Reilly, a series

of books noted for their ability to answer the perennial "gee, I wish

I could..." problem. (though for most people this would be phrased a

good deal less politely. At least it was for me when I was learning Flash)

This book is no exception. I have been

using Flash myself since about version 4 and while I don't spend all

my time with it, I have developed a talent for finding hidden features

and methods in a variety of platforms and programs, and still I was

impressed by a number of the techniques outlined in this book. There

are some which I have, as yet, not really found a use for, but there

are a few that have answered some of the lingering questions about

things that I have always found very silly about Flash.

The book covers Flash MX 2004, though many of the features are not

limited to that version, and where they are the author has made this

very clear, in fact the author has kindly translated some of the code

examples to earlier versions of actionscript where necessary and/or

possible, (well, flash 6 anyway.) The organization of the book is

also a point in its favor as a reference work for the "alternatively

trained" professional. Where many manuals and instruction books are

arranged by tool, this book is organized by result. This is a boon to

those of us who, having a problem with (for example,) sound, will go

through the manual for all the elements to do with sound functions,

only to find that the bit that we needed is covered under UI. There

are also workflow tips, neat tricks, performance enhancers, Flash bug

workarounds, undocumented features, and even tips about how to prevent

opportunistic theft of your flash content.

There is not room to cover all of the 100 hacks available to you, and

even the range of the chapters is quite extensive. Nor does it make

much sense to cover all of it in a linear way, as this is probably not

how you will read this either. When I first picked up the book, I

went down the table of contents and spent the next couple of minutes

rifling back and forth through the book going "Aha!" and "ohhh..."

This of course makes covering the book in a general way something of a

headache. For me, some of the most interesting tips were those

devoted to the animation part of the workflow. Despite being formally

trained as an animator, my introduction to Flash was primarily from

the coding direction. As a result, Hack #74, External Script Editors

was of only passing interest to me as I stopped using the internal

script editor long ago. Hack #62, Right and Middle Mouse Buttons,

well, I use a Macintosh, and tend to regard other mouse buttons with

some suspicion (or at least scorn.)

All of Chapter 9, Performance and Optimization, however, should be

required reading for all Flash developers. Most of us will know some

fraction of the tips here, but will benefit immeasurably from having

read the other one or two that we did not previously know, or pay

attention to.

Chapter 5 is probably best approached in the spirit of "that's pretty

neat, but..." as there is little reason to include a 3D Engine in a

flash movie other than to be able to say that you could do it. The

basic physics parts, however, can lend a bit of extra 'oomph' to an


Amongst the Hacks in chapter 3, there are several related bits about

how to make repeating tiles that can be programatically spread (and varied)

across a field. Interestingly, Hack 18 contains nothing about Flash at all,

and is simply a breakdown of the method of making repeated tiles

easily. I don't know why, but I find that kind of digression


Some of the hacks are improvements or refinements of earlier hacks.

One of the animation hacks outlines the method of using overlapping

loops of sequences that have a prime number of frames to simulate non

repeating motion, that the author incidentally describes as being one of his first

attempts at this sort of thing. This hack is immediately followed by

a method describing how to get the "Matrix" effect of falling numbers

by using single frame movie clips and a script.

All in all, this is a very good book to have as a reference. One good

read through and you will say to yourself at least a couple of times,

"Why have I not been doing it that way all along?" Later on you will

find yourself remembering that "other" trick and go back to the book

and look again. Since first reading it I have convinced my company to

purchase it as an office reference, and I would recommend it to anyone

else, both the beginner, (to save yourself the trouble,) and the pro (ditto)
14 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Homebrew ambience 20 juillet 2004
Par W Boudville - Publié sur Amazon.com
Flash is to making web multimedia as Photoshop is to editing static graphics. And like Photoshop, Flash has a devoted coterie who swear by it. But even such fans may find new, nifty things in this book. One might even suggest that such a group is the audience that might benefit the most.

So I started thumbing through the book, to see what caught my eye. [Obviously, your needs will differ.] One method was the construction of a speech synthesiser. Bhangel gives a simple, ingenious way to make a poor man's synthesiser. The sound quality does not match that of commercial synthesisers, like IBM's or Dragon's. But there is a homebrew ambience to this hack that some will find attractive.

A related hack uses a recent improvement to Flash. Finally, there is a way for the end of the playing of a sound to invoke a callback. In other words, you can now synchronise another operation to start after the sound ends. The lack of this has greatly hampered the interactive use of sound in Flash. The author then gives a hack of a lip synching animation. Cute!
16 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 100 useful Flash tips and tricks 10 août 2004
Par Jack D. Herrington - Publié sur Amazon.com
The art of making a great Flash movie is all about taking a restricted set of graphics tools and using tricks to make it look as if amazing things are happening. And about finding a way to do that in a small movie that loads quickly. This is no easy feat and it boils down to finding innovative solutions. This book comes with one hundred of these innovative solutions. And if you are a Flash developer it's well worth the money to get these unique techniques wrapped up in this tight form. I strongly recommend this book for any Flash developer.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Flash Hacks - 100 Industrial-Strenght Tips & Tools Book Review 24 juin 2006
Par Digital Media Artist Group Member - Publié sur Amazon.com
Title: Flash Hacks - 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools

Author: Sham Bhangal

Publisher: O"Reilly

ISBN: 0-596-00645-4

Pages: 452 pages

Reviewer: Philip High

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

When I encountered the first versions of Flash my impression was of an unnecessarily complex animation program with an obscure interface and REALLY WEIRD drawing tools. I've wanted to say that in public for years and now that I've gotten it off my chest I feel much better, thank you.

Yet, Macromedia must have been onto something, since the program has obviously matured into an indispensable tool for creators of dynamic, interactive, multimedia content for the web and beyond. But, as you might expect, the complexity has only multiplied. This book dives right into the issue by forgoing lengthy tutorials and focusing directly on getting results and solving specific problems - 100 of them to be exact. Once inside it is caution-to-the-wind since the only guide lines are "what if" and "whatever works." That's why they're called hacks, after all. It's an approach that works for me, since I'm really just an overgrown novice that has used the program for several years but infrequently. When I do use it I just want to get the job done and don't have the luxury (or patience, maybe?) to search the documentation, learn a comprehensive set of new skills, then figure out how they apply to my current need. And I don't think I'm alone here.

Although the book, like Flash itself, is not for the unmotivated, there really is something here for everyone from beginner to veteran. If you are tempted by the promise of shiny new tricks and sweet insider workarounds then you can eagerly and easily search these pages for tasty snacks to digest now and save the heavier helpings for later. The preface offers a useful starting point with a concise overview and clear explanations of the conventions used to organize and demonstrate the text.

The book covers a wide range of topics. Twelve chapters are each devoted to specific issues such as Visual Effects, Drawing and Masking, 3D and Physics, Sound, ActionScript, etc., and each contains several related tips. The individual "hacks", although usable by themselves, often relate to material in other examples, and are clearly and conveniently cross-referenced in the text. Many of the longer examples can be downloaded from the books web page [...]

And, as promised, the tips are pretty nifty. Some are showy, like #33 - Particle Effects. And some are sneaky, like #20 - Use Complex Shapes as Masks (by using a hairline split, invisible to the eye but recognized by the processor, to open enclosed areas.) But even the coolest tricks would be useless if you couldn't understand the instructions. Fortunately that isn't an issue here. The text is easy to read and well organized with clear examples and illustrations. I especially appreciated the tons of URLs to websites with further examples of great Flash work. Another nice feature is how other programs such as Photoshop, Fireworks, and Poser can be used in conjunction with Flash.

This title is one of a series of "Hacks" books by O'Reilly, a list of which can be found at [...] Billed as "a community for developers and power users of all stripes" I went there anyway and felt only slightly over my head. But it looks like the real deal for the power hungry. I `m a long-time fan of the seriously usable content and simple direct presentation style of O"Reilly technical reference manuals. This book ventures into more creative realms than their usual titles but stays true to form.
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