One of the greatest strength about Lynda’s Hands-On Training series is the ability to reach the right audience. Lynda Weinman and Shane Rebenschied had definitely listened to the readers; therefore, they know exactly whom Beyond the Basics is for. While beginner Flash books bore the hell out of me and advanced ActionScript books make me dizzy, Beyond the Basics bridges the gap. This book is all that you need to build a complete interactive Flash site.
If you look at Flash sites and wondering how the developers loaded video, music, text, form, and everything else seamlessly into a page, you need to pick up Beyond the Basics. This book is truly a real world hands-on training where you get to put together an interactive Flash site from scratch. Shane will walk you through step-by-step of building a Flash based site in a modular fashion. According to Shane’s definition, modular fashion is, “to design a module once, then reuse it for multiple purposes.” You will learn how write reusable ActionScripts, load external SWF and JPG files, format text with external TXT, HTML and CSS files, build a dynamic slideshow, develop a Flash form, generate an MP3 player, make a video player, and construct the navigation bar. In fact, go to L.A. Eyeworks and see what you are going to build.
Even though I haven’t touch ActionScript for two years, Shane helps me get up to speed with his clear and approachable style. Furthermore, his sense of humor helps moistening up the book. For instance, “There’s a ton of new and very exciting examples in the next chapter, so go lock your door and tell your significant to go to bed without ya because you have a different date tonight! ;-)” I was about to go to bed at the end of that chapter but his witty makes me go into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee to read on. It’s a nice reading when the author loosens up a bit.
Beyond the Basics is highly recommended for any intermediate Flash users and web designers who would like to create an interactive Flash site. The book is definitely worth its price considering how much you get out of it; however, there is one area the book should have been included is Flash accessibility. Designing accessible content is extremely important on the web and Macromedia has recognized it by integrated new features in Flash to promote accessibility. Beyond the Basics is fantastic but it would have been greater if accessibility is covered.