Flash MX Components Most Wanted

Front Cover

Creating web designs and site content in Macromedia Flash MX can be a lot of fun, but there are always tasks that you'll want to do again and again. It's always a bit of a hassle to have to keep recreating and tweaking the same old content or functionality in different projects, so why can't you just reuse what you've created? With components, you can do just that!

Flash MX Components enable the creation of self-contained design building blocks that can be simply dragged and dropped into any Flash movie. They are flexible enough to be easily customized to take care of many different tasks. No fuss, no bother—you can repurpose the standard elements of your design, application, or game, and use them over and over again.

But wait, it gets better! Components can be used by anyone, not just the person who created them. So in this book, we've done all the hard work for you and collected together the Most Wanted components that will make your life easier.

In this book (and on the CD), you'll find a perfect combination of creative and functional components from some of today's leading Flash designers and developers. Just look at the fantastic components yo'llu get:

  • Event Calendar
  • Text Editor
  • News Feed
  • Tool Tip
  • Sketch Pad
  • Video Player
  • Image Scroller
  • Pattern Generators
  • Tab Control
  • Sliding Panel
  • Color Picker
  • Game Player Selector
  • Particle Emitter
  • Layout Manager
  • Data Grid
  • Movie Loader
  • Image Modulators
  • XML-to-ActionScript Converter
  • Virtual 3D Trackball
  • Text Animation
  • Dynamic Text Manager

Each of these components is included on the accompanying CD, ready to be incorporated into your designs, along with plenty of example files giving practical demonstrations of their use. On top of that, each chapter in this book presents a comprehensive designer-oriented guide that will help you to get the most out of using all of the featured components.

If youre a Flash designer, of any ability from novice to professional, this book will increase the power of your Flash designs and enhance your project workflow—instantly!

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About the author (2003)

Aral Balkan is a Flash veteran and overall Internet junkie. In 2008, he produced the world's first large-scale online web conference, Singularity. Aral cofounded and coordinates OSFlash.org, authored the pattern-based ActionScript framework Arp, and created the SWX data format, SWX RPC, and SWX PHP. His open source project, GAE SWF Project, provides Flash and Flex developers with knowledge and tools to build rich Internet applications on Google's App Engine. Aral is a published author and has contributed to several books and magazine articles, including Adobe Flex 2 QuickStart Guide and Flex 3 QuickStart Guide and six courses on Flash, Flex, ActionScript, and open source development. Aral is a regular speaker at international conferences including Macworld, FlashForward, d.construct, FITC, Wizards of OS, and Adobe MAX.

A bio is not available for this author.

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Josh Dura started his career as most web developers do, designing simple HTML pages with graphics here and there. About three years ago, Josh started coding ColdFusion, learning basic object-oriented programming skills through that language, which brought him to learning ActionScript. Josh works for ReadyHosting.com out of Richardson, Texas, doing most of the web, graphic and print design work for them. His personal website, www.joshdura.com, is a basic weblog/photography/open source Flash project. Josh also currently owns and runs Dura Media, LLC (www.duramedia.com) with his brother, Daniel.

Peter Elst is a Belgian freelance IT consultant and founding partner of Project Cocoon based in Pondicherry, south India. As a respected member of the online community, Peter has spoken at various international industry events and has had his work published in leading journals.

Brian Monnone is more than simply a Flash artist. He is a technologist with a love for great design, motion graphics, and music. Currently, he is senior interactive designer at nFusion Group in Austin, Texas. His role with nFusion includes creating dynamic Flash demos, videos, and sound design. His future plans include filmmaking. Becoming a filmmaker has been a lifelong passion for Brian, and until that day comes, he'll continue to create unique multimedia. Visit his website: www.monnone.com.

[Bio updated October 2008]

Paul Prudence's current work can be found at transphormetic.com. Paul is an artist and real-time visual performer working with computational and visual feedback systems and video. He uses VVVV, Flash & processed digital video. He's also a lecturer on visual music and syneasthetic art. Paul is a researcher and writer at Dataisnature.

A bio is not available for this author.

A bio is not available for this author.

Jared Tarbell was born in 1973 to William and Suzon Davis Tarbell in the high-altitude desert city of Albuquerque, New Mexico. First introduced to personal computers in 1987, Jared's interest in computation has grown in direct proportion to the processing power of these machines. Jared holds a bachelor of science degree in computer science from New Mexico State University. He sits on the board of the Austin Museum of Digital Art, where he helps promote and encourage appreciation of the arts within the global community. Jared is most interested in the visualization of large data sets, and the emergent, lifelike properties of complex computational systems. Jared has recently returned to Albuquerque to work closer to friends and family while enjoying the unique aspects of desert living. Additional work from Jared Tarbell can be found at levitated.net and complexification.net.

Steve Young is a designer and Flash developer living in the sunny town of Coatbridge, near Glasgow, Scotland. He started out as a product designer, having studied at Glasgow School of Art, but somehow found himself in the new media industry. Like most of his peers, he just seems to have "fallen into" new media. Up until recently, Steve spent two years working (if you can call it that) at Flammable Jam with Hoss Gifford and some of the other top designer/developers in Scotland. Check out his site at www.gimpster.net.

After studying theatre in London, then working for several years as an actor in the U.S., Todd Yard was introduced to Flash in 2000 and was quickly taken by how it allowed for both stunning creativity and programmatic logic application a truly left-brain, right brain approach to production and has not looked back. He now freelances as a Flash developer in New York City, creating both silly animations and utilitarian applications. His personal work and experimentation can be found at his website, 27Bobs.com.

Brandon Williams is a senior at Spring Woods High School in Houston, Texas, with many years of mathematics and computer science studies under his belt. His mathematics focus has been single and multivariable calculus, real analysis, linear algebra, ordinary differential equations, elementary combinatorics, and number theory. His computer science experience is based on programming design, object-oriented programming, and problem solving. His goal is to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics. In his spare time, he helps run the math forum at Were-Here under the name of ahab, and works for Eyeland Studios as a games programmer.

James Dean Palmer graduated in 1998 from Texas A&M University's computer engineering program. In 2000, he completed his master of science degree in computer visualization. Deeply technical and profoundly visual, James has been working professionally both in print and the web since 1994. James founded Caramba Designs in 2001 to develop web-based applications and end-to-end solutions for unique problems.

Jen deHaan is a freelance web designer and developer based in Calgary, Alberta. She has been involved in writing, contributing to or editing many computer books on Flash, ActionScript, digital video and ColdFusion in 2002. She has co-authored three books on ActionScript: Flash MX Designer's ActionScript Reference, ActionScript Zero to Hero, and Flash MX Components Most Wanted. Jen graduated with top honors from a top new media program, and also with a bachelor's in fine arts in developmental art from the University of Calgary. She is an experienced teacher and writer, focusing on integrating technologies for the Web using Flash MX. Jen's personal websites are ejepo.com and flash-mx.com.

A bio is not available for this author.

A bio is not available for this author.

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Todd Marks is an avid developer, designer, instructor, and author of information display technologies. In 2000, Todd moved from teaching mathematics and computer science in the public sector to becoming a vice president of research and development at digitalorganism. In 2002, Todd founded Mindgrub Technologies and established a web technologies portal. In 2003, Todd joined Pope de Flash as the head of technology to form The Unity Project. Todd currently works as a product engineer for the mediaEdge division of Exceptional Software Strategies, Inc. Todd is a Macromedia-certified developer, designer, and subject matter expert. His efforts have earned him three Flash Film Festival nominations, a Macromedia Site of the Day award, two Addy Awards, and several educational partnerships. Todd has written and contributed to several books including Macromedia Flash MX Video, Foundation Dreamweaver MX, Beginning Dreamweaver MX 2004, Advanced PHP for Flash, Macromedia Flash MX Components Most Wanted, and Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Magic.