For the new programmer, it is wise to learn about the basics and to get a constructive understanding of where things are (tools, stage, window) first before you venture into building your first Flash application. Here, you will learn the necessary steps as you follow a where's-what-and-what-to-know guide. Break through your learning curve by memorizing shortcuts, and studying the important things to know.
Before building programs in Flash, you should realize that it is a time_based programming language. We are just going to go over a few overall things that you need to know about first in order to work with Flash.
Although the basis of this whole series is really about programming basics, we're not going to dig too deep into Flash's interface in this series. It's really important to know where we are because in the end, we don't want to work in a vacuum. For that we're just going to really touch briefly over a few kinds of critical things that you must know about Flash before you can actually build a flash application. Flash is a time based programming language. Its history was really a timeline and it evolved into a programming language, and it's now so much more than just a timeline. Let me just open up again, and we're in CS5, though it really doesn't matter which version we're in. And we open up our new FLA file. We'll see that we have our timeline. If we can't find it, we could always go through our window again and search for our timeline and find it. Now, we're not going to focus at all on the timeline in our programming currently. The one thing that we do want to understand is that there is a timeline. And what is that timeline? Flash by default is going to run a certain amount of frames per second: we could change those settings. We're going to see how to do that as we look into the publish settings, but right now we're talking about just an overview of some items that we're not really going to dig too deep into. If you look right here we can see that our current frame rate, is twenty four frames per second, which means that Flash is going to try to run the frames twenty four times a second. This is our line that goes through the times. Right now we're in frame one. Our application could have had many frames, and if we were focusing on animation, or we were timeline animators, we would just create our application and drawings on here, on this frame, on these keys and then build our application. But we're not really focused on that. We need to understand that that exists and we're going to look at that in videos which have topics that are not related to basic programming. But it's important to know that Flash runs on a timeline. Our application will always have a stage, so our scene itself is main view. This is our application right now, so if I run it, (and don't worry about how I'm running it right now, because we're going to see that in the next video) you're going to see that right now our application has nothing, it's running nothing, there's nothing in it, it's just a blank white screen. Our default name is "untitled-a" because we never saved the file, so nothing is new here. What else can we do? We have our tools and again, if you can't find the tools, just go to your window, search for tools, and then you have your tools. There are so many tools that are really involve creating visual things directly on the stage. Just to prepare us for the next video, I'm going to create a rectangle, by grabbing the rectangle tool. If I wanted to, I could've changed the color. These are very simple things here that are kind of intuitive, so play around with it although there are very very cool things you can do with it. It's very intuitive and I recommend, instead of us making videos going over every single feature, playing around with those tools because those tools are so basic that if you know how to use other applications you can very easily figure out what most of them do. But we're going to get into those generalities of how to use those tools in future videos which are not covered in this current theme. So we have our tools panel. Right now you'll see that my mouse is currently in this weird x-position which basically means that we could draw our boxes right now. We always want to be on our arrow when we're not using another tool ... So a way to do that is to just click on our selection tool, or V, and V would take us back into being in our tool. Now another cool subject to discuss is, as we're talking about these basic things that we need to know about Flash, if you hover over one of your tools, you're going to see the shortcut that's related to it. So for example, for the free transform tool -- the shortcut is q. So if I would be right here, I could always click on q, and it would change into the free transform, so I can now just select whatever I want to select and freely transform them and change its size. It's a kind of cool way to figure out shortcuts to different things. My only shortcut that I really remember from the tools is v to get back to my regular selection which is usually what I need. Okay, the next thing we want to talk about now that we've got this basic knowledge of tools, we know that we have our stage, if I run my application right now, we're going to see that our application has content within it, because we just drew that content directly onto the stage. The next thing that we want to talk about is how to find things that you need. And that's kind of vague, but basically anything that's visual most times, is part of your layout that's part of the tools you would find in your window. Okay, things that are connected to running your application in testing mode, or running your application while you're inside of your editor, you'd find in your control. We're going to skip debug for now because it's not within our topic but things that are obviously related to debugging you would find in the debug menu. We're not going to get into the commands right now because there are ways to create custom commands which we're not going to dig into in basic coding. So these menus are quite intuitive. There are some that are a bit harder to figure out like-what is modify? Modify, as the name implies, is changing something, but things that we can not visualize directly on the stage, which are mainly things that are connected to different types of objects, our timeline, and so on. Or in general, our document itself, which we're going to look into when we start talking about the publish settings, or more accurately when we start talking about our properties panel, which they're all kind of intertwined and mixed together. There are so many ways of doing the same things. So, instead of me going over every single feature here, if you're completely new to Flash, I would recommend that, after you're done with this intro video course, just take an hour or two and just play around with the menus and options and just see what the options are inside. You don't have to understand everything but just try to get an overview of things to get a little bit more comfortable in the environment. The last subject that I want to discuss before we end this kind of overall view, are kind of random things that you can do inside the application. I want to talk really quickly about our window>actions panel. If we go into window>actions, this is basically where ActionScript developers would put all their syntax, all their code. We're going to see how to work with this, but it's not our recommended way of working within Flash and working with programming in Flash. We're going to see that momentarily, but it's a panel that you need to know exists.
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