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Thread: Should one learn ActionScript?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Should one learn ActionScript?

    Hello everyone,

    As you can see this is the first I have posted here, and in fact is the first time I have ever even ran across this website. Though I am really liking it, so I am sure I will definitely be spending a good amount of time here.

    But anyways, I am starting to get a little interested in ActionScript. Being that I have just spent quite a bit of time the last year refining my skills in JavaScript and new Libraries, and learning Java, I am looking for something else I should start on.

    So say I start to learn ActionScript. Would it be beneficial to my Web Development in a way that makes it worth the time? I mean I would prefer not to make whole "Flash" websites, but I think it would be cool if I could add some ActionScript here and there in the DHTML to spice it up, you know?

    Would someone be willing to explain any neat things that I would be able to do with ActionScript in web scripting?

    Sell me on it.

    Another reason I am interested in it, is because I would also like to start developing a bit of AIR/FLEX applications for the Android Platform, and anything else I could then port to, like Chrome Extensions, iPhones, etc.

    So what do you folks think? Should ActionScript be my next focus? Is it worth learning for a Web Developer? Like I stated before, "sell me on it", or instead, shoot it down, and explain why it wouldnt be beneficial.

    Thanks for your time guys. I appreciate it.
    -Cody Diehl

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    The City of Roses
    ActionScript actually seems to be on its way out, and the number of ActionScript jobs has been falling for a couple years. The start of that decline seems to coincide with Steve Jobs' article Thoughts on Flash.

    If you have a personal interest in Flash and ActionScript, then by all means, pursue it. But if your main concern is career prospects, then you may want to look elsewhere.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    St. Helens, UK
    That kind of corresponds with my perception of things; at risk of being overly 'trendy', ActionScript isn't something you hear talked about at all in the web development media.
    Which doesn't mean that there isn't any use for it, but it does appear that some combination of HTML5, Canvas and JavaScript is the way forward...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    @Jeff Mott
    Thanks for that explanation. That does indeed put things into perspective. I was actually looking to learn it for personal reasons, as development isnt actually my career. I am a UNIX Admin, and Technical Specialist. Web Development is just something I do on the side, that I have a very strong passion for. In fact I love web development, and graphic design more than I love my own job. So maybe sometime in life I may go back to school, and get a job in development/programming.

    As for ActionScript possibly going down in interest, and losing job status, because of Steve Jobs stating what he believes is "in" and what "isnt". I think that is sad if that is true, but that shows how much one man can influence a whole industry.

    I dont know, maybe ActionScript may not be the correct choice. I am glad I decieded to ask this question, its always nice to have another perspective.

    Yeah as of 2012, HTML5, CSS3, and JS is definitely the trend, and unlocks some unlimited possibilities. But this is the industry were in. I remember reading some articles of interviews of Microsoft representatives back in the 90's. They stated that they "would much rather hire a new 18 year old, than they would hire a 40 year old, who knows 10-20 different programming languages". and the reason being is the Industry changes at the speed of light. Its better to learn the new, than try to implement the old. Or (its easier to teach a new dog new tricks, than teach an old dog new tricks.)

    But yeah I have a pretty decent knowledge of HTML5, JS, and Canvas. Which is why I want to learn something new...

    I am liking "Opa" programming language. Its a JS framework with a whole new syntax. You can create your webpages, databases, server side, and client side scripting all in one. It runs on Node.js and MongoDB. It seems like something that may catch on. So its interesting.

    But anyways. I still may learn ActionScript. Considering it is part of the ECMAScript standard, which in turn makes it similar to JavaScript. I figured the syntax would be so close, it would be like learning JS all over again.
    Since I would like to develop AIR applications, with FLEX, I think ActionScript is essential isnt it?

    Also would anyone still be willing to explain some things you can do in ActionScript in regards to Web Development, that makes it stand out from anything else?

    Thank you two for chiming in. I really greatly appreciate it. It really puts things in perspective, and may save me a whole waste of time.

    Take care everyone.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    St. Helens, UK
    No probs. You sound like you know a lot more about it than I do.
    It'd be interesting to hear how you get on; to be honest, it's not something that I've even considered doing.

    Going off on a slight tangent:

    "They stated that they "would much rather hire a new 18 year old, than they would hire a 40 year old, who knows 10-20 different programming languages". and the reason being is the Industry changes at the speed of light. Its better to learn the new, than try to implement the old. Or (its easier to teach a new dog new tricks, than teach an old dog new tricks.)"

    I find that a very curious attitude; personally I suspect that it's little more than a rationale for age discrimination. Put it this way, if someone knows a lot of different programming languages, the way I would see it if I were recruiting would be that someone with that amount of knowledge is going to find a new programming language relatively easy to pick up, and they'd presumably know the general methodology of programming more intimately than an 18 year old.

    It's not as if most programming languages are that different to each other. Once you get into it, you sort of find yourself discovering how similar most of them are..

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    I will try to dig up where I saw this, to further help paint the picture of what they meant. I didn't do it justice, and in fact I probably just made it more confusing.

    They were actually referring to getting a job in Silicone Valley all together. Not just in regards to that company. How people who were overly qualified would be always out of a job, but the new kids were perfect minds for molding into what the company(ies) would need.

    But on another note, another to the original topic question; anyone who has a knowledge of ActionScript, do you think it would be pretty simple to learn if you have a decent knowledge of JavaScript already?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    new york

    ActionScript is for FLASH

    Believe that AS is only for scripting Adobe FLASH movies. Current version is AS3.

    Both ActionScript and JavaScript are based on European Computer Manufacturer's Assn. (ECMA} standards so there are basic similarities, but FLASH AS has some unique program aspects.

    I like animation, but FLASH is under attack these days because it requires propitiatory Flash Player. HTML5 has <video> element.

    P.S. "FLASH" would include Flash Professional, Flash Flex, etc.
    Last edited by auntnini; 08-27-2012 at 03:01 PM. Reason: typo

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Honestly it depends where your playground is. If you're doing this for fun and like tinkering around and seeing things on your smart phone then flash would be more pointless for you. If you're on a desktop and you want to create a game, a movie or audio player, or you want to tinker around with some animation then yeah flash is still very powerful.

    That being said, flash is definitely on the way out so if you're looking to do some things to possibly impress a future employer the slide downward is already in place. Even if you picked everything up instantly and knew everything there is to know right now, you're knowledge is becomes less and less valuable by the day.

    As someone that does know flash I'd recommend moving towards css and HTML5 solutions for audio and video and then playing around with canvas. The need is only going to build as browsers move forward.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    The concerns over job viability are legitimate if you ever plan to try to get a job as a Flash developer. But as a personal development tool for building graphical apps and games quickly on your own or with a small team, Flash is a very solid choice. It won't be going away any time soon and provides a good cross platform solution for reaching desktop and mobile.

    ActionScript 3 is actually a lot closer to C# and Java than it is to JavaScript. It follows a more traditional OOP model, and the various IDEs for AS3 development feel more like traditional desktop development tools, with good debugging support, etc. Many developers feel that the language, being similar to others which were designed for large application development, make it easier and more appropriate for application development than JS, especially as your projects get larger.

    Adobe isn't backing off of Flash, but it is resetting and narrowing its goals to be centered more around games and mobile applications along with premium video. In addition to the current differences between what's possible with Flash vs. HTML5, they are also seeking to differentiate it in terms of performance and other features that appeal to their target markets.

    In my opinion, learning Flash at this point for the sake of making animations or simple form type applications wouldn't be worth your time. If you want to make games or more sophisticated applications that you can easily port to mobile, you might like the ease that Flash offers for this, and the practice you get from programming with it will improve your OOP skills with Java and other languages.

    If you decide to try Flash, you might look at the FlashDevelop IDE (http://flashdevelop.org/) as a free way to experiment. Many people prefer it to IDEs you have to pay for.

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