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 How to Create a Banner in Flash, Part 2

Basic Tasks: Creating a banner, Part 2

Examine the completed FLA file

Adding text

Creating a symbol

Adding animation to a timeline

Creating a button

Writing simple actions

Test the application



Basic Tasks: Creating a banner, Part 2


Welcome to Part 2 of this three-part introduction to Macromedia Flash Basic 8 or Macromedia Flash Professional 8. You successfully completed Part 1 of this tutorial, where you created, set up, and imported content into an FLA file. Because you're reading Part 2, you're probably ready to learn more about Flash. That's good, because you will create symbols, animation, and even write some simple ActionScript to make the banner function in this continuation tutorial. Following this part, you'll add the banner to a website using Dreamweaver (or, you can optionally upload the banner to a website using any tool).


Examine the completed FLA file


As you examine the finished version of an application that you'll create, you'll also look at the Flash workspace.

In this section, you will complete the following tasks:

  • Open the authoring document

  • Review the completed FLA file

  • Close the completed FLA file

In subsequent sections you'll go through the steps to create the application yourself starting with a brand new FLA file.

Open the finished FLA file

The files for this tutorial are located in the Samples and Tutorials folder in the Flash installation folder. For many users, particularly in educational settings, this folder is read-only. Before proceeding with the tutorial, you should copy the entire FlashBanner tutorial folder to the writable location of your choice. In Part 1, you might have already copied the FlashBanner source files to another location of your hard disk.

  • On most computers, you will find the Flash Banner tutorial folder in the following locations:

  • In Windows: boot drive\Program Files\Macromedia\Flash 8\Samples and Tutorials\Tutorial Assets\Basic Tasks\FlashBanner\.

On the Macintosh: Macintosh HD/Applications/Macromedia Flash 8/Samples and Tutorials/Tutorial Assets/Basic Tasks/FlashBanner/.

Copy the FlashBanner folder to another location on your hard disk to which you have access. Inside this folder are three directories for each part of this tutorial: Part1, Part2, and Part3. In the FlashBanner/Part2 folder, you will find a Flash file called banner2_complete.fla. Double-click the file to open it in Flash. You now see the completed tutorial file in the Flash authoring environment.

Review the completed FLA file

In the completed FLA file, you will see the structure that makes up the finished SWF file for Part 2 of this tutorial. The application, a Flash banner for a gnome website, looks like this at the end of Part 2:

The completed banner for Part 2.

This file contains an animation in a movie clip, text, an invisible button, and the assets that you imported in Part 1 of this tutorial.

  • The movie clip instance contains a graphical instance that you animate.

  • Text fields contain static, stylized text that you display on the Stage.

  • The invisible button covers the entire Stage, and it lets your visitors click the banner and open a new web site.

  • The graphic assets include a bitmap background image (the gnome), and the star graphic that you animate in an upcoming exercise.

By the end of Part 3 of this tutorial, you will add the graphics, animation, and interactivity to the banner. Then, you'll insert the banner on a website using Dreamweaver.

Close the completed FLA file

To close the document, select File > Close.

If you prefer to keep the finished file open as a reference while working with your banner file, be careful not to edit it or save any changes to it.

Now you're ready to start creating your own banner file in the next section, Adding text.

Adding text


You need to add some additional text to your banner for decorative purposes. You can add several types of text to a Flash document: static text, dynamic text, or input text. Static text is useful when you need to add decorative text to the Stage, or any text that doesn't need to change or load from an external source. Use dynamic text when you need to load text from a file, database, or change the text when the SWF file plays in Flash Player. Use input text when you want the user to type into a text field. You can take that text and send it to a database, have it manipulate something in the SWF file, and more.

You can add any of these types of text using the Text tool. For this exercise, you will add some static text to the Stage for decorative purposes. To add static text, follow these steps:
Open the banner.fla file you created in Part 1 of this tutorial, and rename the file banner2.fla.

NOTE If you didn't finish Part 1 of this tutorial, or lost your file, open the source files ZIP archive that accompanies this tutorial. Inside the start folder, find banner2.fla and use this file to begin the tutorial.

  1. Select Insert > Timeline > Layer to insert a new layer. Double-click the layer's name and type text to rename the layer.

  2. Select the Text tool in the Tools panel, which looks like a large letter A button.

  3. Click near the top of the Stage, and type Overworked? into the field that's on the Stage.

  4. Select the text field (a bounding box appears around the text when you select it).

  5. Open the Property inspector (Window > Properties > Properties), and make sure Static Text appears in the Text type pop-up menu.

  6. Change the font of the text to whatever font you prefer.

    You change the font using the Font pop-up menu (next to the A icon, seen in the following figure).

  7. Select Bitmap text (no anti-alias) in the Font rendering method pop-up menu.

    Anti-alias options help small text appear clearly in your applications, but it makes large text look jagged. Because you're creating large text for the banner, you should use bitmap text which appears smooth when you create large text.

  8. Change the size of the font to 20 points using the Font size pop-up menu.

    Then you will need to change the font size so the text fits on the Stage.

    Change text settings in the Property inspector.

    When you finish, the text should be similar in size and in position to the text in the following figure.

    Add some static text to the banner. Select any font you want to use.

  9. Select the Text tool again, and type Underpaid? below the text you added previously.

  10. Select the text field, and open the Property inspector, and then change the text to the same font you selected in the earlier steps.

  11. Select a font size so the text is large but still fits on the Stage.

  12. Repeat steps 9 through 11 to add the phrase Gnome? below the previous two lines of text. When you finish, your banner will resemble the first figure in this tutorial that displays the complete file for Part 2.

  13. (Optional) Open the Align panel (Window > Align) to align the text to the center of the Stage. Select a text block on the Stage, click To stage in the Align panel, and then click Align Horizontal center. (Move the mouse over a button in the panel to see what its name is.)

  14. Select File > Save to save your progress before moving on.

    After you finish saving the file, proceed to the following exercise, Creating a symbol.

    NOTE For advanced text effects, you can create text in FreeHand, save the file, and import it. Also, if you're using Adobe Illustrator, you can export the text as a PNG or SWF file. You can then import this text into Flash. You might also investigate FlashType advanced anti-alias options. See About FlashType for information.


Creating a symbol


A symbol is an object that you create in Flash. As you discovered in Part 1, a symbol can be a graphic, button, or movie clip, and you can then reuse it throughout the current FLA or other FLA files. Any symbol that you create is automatically added to the document's library (Window > Library), so you can use it many times within a document.

When you add animation, you should always animate symbols in Flash, instead of animating raw graphics (graphics that you draw) or raw assets that you import (such as a PNG file). For example, if you draw a circle using the Oval tool in Flash, you should convert that circle graphic into a movie clip before you animate it. This helps you reduce the SWF file size, and makes it easier to create an animation in Flash.

You will create a movie clip symbol in the following exercise. You will animate this movie clip in later exercises.

  1. In banner2.fla, select the star.png image (imported in Part 1) and select Modify > Convert to Symbol from the main menu.

    The Convert to Symbol dialog box opens (see the following figure), where you can name a symbol and select which type of symbol you want it to be.

  2. Type join us in the Name text box (see the following figure).

    You will see the name of the symbol, join us, in the Library panel after you create the symbol. You will also see an icon that represents movie clips next to the symbol's name.

    Remember that the symbol's name is different than its instance name, because you can have numerous instances of a single symbol on the Stage. For example, you can set an instance name for the join us symbol using the Property inspector after you drag it to the Stage from the Library panel. If you drag another instance of the join us symbol to the Stage, assign it a different instance name. You use the instance name in your ActionScript to reference and manipulate the instance with code. There are some naming guidelines you must follow when you assign an instance name. (This is discussed in Writing simple actions).

    Use the Convert to Symbol dialog box to convert selected content into a symbol, give it a name, and click OK (shown above) add it to the document's library. You might see a smaller dialog box without the advanced linkage and source information when you convert a symbol.

  3. Select the Movie clip option, and click OK.

    This means that you will convert the graphic image into a movie clip symbol. Movie clip symbols have their own timelines. This means you can animate each movie clip instance on its own timeline, and on the main timeline of the document. This is unique to movie clip instances.

  4. Select File > Save to save your progress before moving on.

    After you finish saving the file, proceed to the following exercise, Adding animation to a timeline. In this exercise you will animate the movie clip.


Adding animation to a timeline


You have already used the Timeline in Part 1 of this tutorial (Basic Tasks: Creating a banner, Part 1) to insert new layers and add content onto those layers. In Part 1 you added assets to a frame on the Timeline. You might have noticed that after you add content on a frame, a filled circle appears on the frame to signify content on that frame. Whenever there's new or changed content on a frame, it's called a keyframe and has a filled black dot on the frame. A keyframe is a frame where you define changes in the animation, or a frame that has content on it. An empty keyframe has a hollow circle.

You create an animation in a Flash document by adding content to a timeline, such as the main timeline, or a timeline inside a movie clip. When the playhead moves across the Timeline, those individual frames play and when played in quick succession (like a flipbook or succession of frames on a reel of film), you can create an animation.

When you create a frame-by-frame animation, every frame is a keyframe. In a tweened animation, you define keyframes at significant points in the animation and let Flash create the contents of frames in between. Flash displays the interpolated frames of a tweened animation as light blue or light green with an arrow drawn between keyframes. Because Flash documents save the shapes in each keyframe, you should create keyframes only at the points in the animation where something changes.

  1. Select Modify > Document.

    The Document Properties dialog box opens. This is the dialog box you used to change the dimensions of the banner in Part 1 of this tutorial. Now you want to change the frame rate for the banner.

  2. Change the number in the frame rate text box to 18, and then click OK to apply the new setting.

    A higher frame rate means that your animation plays smoothly, more so than when you had it set to 12 frames per second (fps). Changing the fps setting means that the main timeline and movie clip timelines all play at the specified frame rate.

    NOTE An increased frame rate also means that there is a slightly increased demand on the user's computer (or CPU) to render the extra frames each second.

  3. Double-click the join us symbol instance on the Stage.

    This opens the symbol in symbol-editing mode (see the following figure). In this mode, you see the movie clip symbol's timeline, which runs independently of the timeline for the main FLA file (the one you saw before double-clicking the symbol). This means you can have animations that play and stop independently from animations on the main timeline. Remember that a movie clip still plays at the document's frame rate (18 fps).

    In symbol-editing mode, the symbol that you're editing appears normal, while other items on the Stage are dimmed. Changes that you make in this mode apply to every instance of the symbol in your FLA file. Notice how the edit bar (above the Timeline in this figure) changes to show you what you're editing, and its relation to the main Stage.

    When you enter this mode, it means you edit the symbol itself, not just the single instance on the Stage. Any changes you make on this timeline (which is the movie clip's timeline) apply to every instance of the symbol that you use in the FLA file.

    You can tell that you're editing a symbol by looking at the edit bar (see the top of the previous image). Use the edit bar to navigate throughout a document. The edit bar might be above or below the Timeline, depending on how you have the workspace set up.

    Scene 1 refers to the main timeline of the FLA file. You can click this button on the edit bar to return to the main timeline. The names after it point to the symbol that you're editing. If the symbol is nested within other symbols, this path might contain several names. In the previous figure, you can see that you're editing the join us symbol that's on the main timeline (Scene 1).

  4. Select the PNG file that's inside the movie clip, and then press F8 to convert it into another symbol.

  5. In the Convert to Symbol dialog box, type the name nested mc in the Name text box, select Movie clip, and click OK.

  6. Select Frame 15 and select Insert > Timeline > Keyframe.

    NOTE Press F6 to quickly insert a new keyframe.

    This command inserts a new keyframe, which means you can modify the content on that frame to create animation. Currently, the content on Frame 15 is duplicated from the content on Frame 1. When you modify Frame 15 in a future step, the modifications won't change the content on Frame 1.

  7. Select Frame 30 and press F6 to insert a new keyframe.

    The keyframe duplicates the content from Frame 15. That means the content on all three frames is the same.

  8. Select the movie clip instance on Frame 15, and open the Property inspector (Window > Properties > Properties).

    NOTE Make sure you select the instance on Frame 15, not just the frame. You can first select the frame on the Timeline (or move the playhead to Frame 15), and then select the movie clip instance on the Stage in order to see the correct context of the Property inspector, as shown in the following figure.

  9. Select Brightness from the Color pop-up menu (the following figure).

  10. Change the slider value to 75% (see the following figure).

    Change the brightness of the movie clip instance.

    The brightness changes for the instance on Frame 15. The instances on Frames 1 and 30 do not change. This means that you can now add a motion tween that animates the brightness value between Frames 1 and 15, and then from Frames 15 to 30. After playing Frame 30, the playhead loops back to Frame 1 and the animation starts again.

    NOTE You could also change the alpha or tint values using the same procedure. Alpha tweens are more processor intensive than tweens that change the brightness or tint of your animation. Try to avoid processor-intensive procedures whenever possible.

  11. Select the instance on the Stage at Frame 15 again, and then select the Free Transform tool in the Tools panel. Select the lower right handle and drag it towards the center of the image to make it smaller (see the following figure).

    Resize the instance using the Free Transform tool. As shown in this figure, you can also rotate the image using the Free Transform tool.

    You can create several kinds of animation in an FLA file, such as motion tweens, shape tweens, and frame-by-frame animation. In this tutorial, you will create a motion tween. A motion tween is an animation where you define properties such as position, size, and rotation for an instance at one point in time, and then you change those properties at another point in time. In this animation, you change the brightness and size of the instance.

  12. Select any frame between Frames 1 and 15, and then select Motion from the Tween pop-up menu in the Property inspector.

    The span of frames changes color and an arrow appears between Frames 1 and 15 (see the following figure). Notice how the options in the Property inspector are different when you select a frame compared to when you select a movie clip instance.

    Create a motion tween between Frames 1 and 15 on the movie clip's timeline.

    NOTE You can also right-click (Windows) or option-click (Macintosh) the frame and select Create Motion Tween from the context menu instead.

  13. Select any frame between Frames 15 and 30, and then select Motion from the Tween pop-up menu in the Property inspector to create a second animation.

  14. Click the playhead and drag it across the movie clip's timeline to test (or scrub) the animation.

  15. Select Control > Test Movie.

    NOTE A quicker way to test your SWF file is to use keyboard shortcuts. Press Control + Enter (Windows) or Command + Return (Macintosh) to test the file

    The test environment opens where you can see the animation. Notice how it loops, appearing to fade in and out because of the change in brightness. By default, the playhead returns to Frame 1 and replays the animation after it reaches the final frame on the Timeline. This means the animation loops repeatedly, unless you tell it to stop. You will find out how to do this below in the exercise called Writing simple actions.

  16. Select File > Save to save your progress before moving on.


Creating a button


When you create a banner, you need to let your user click anywhere in the banner area and open a new browser window. You can create buttons very easily in Flash. Your button can either have a graphic with rollover graphics, sounds, and even animations of their own. Or, you can create an invisible button. Invisible buttons are useful when you want to create "hot spots" on your website, or make the entire banner clickable without obscuring your graphics. In the following exercise, you'll add an invisible button over your banner graphics.

NOTE For more information on creating visible buttons with graphics and rollover effects, search creating buttons in the Flash Help panel (F1).

  1. Click Scene 1 in the edit bar to make sure that you're on the main Stage.

  2. Select Insert > Timeline > Layer to create a new layer, and rename the new layer to button.

  3. Select the Rectangle tool in the Tools panel (the button's icon looks like a square).

  4. Find the Colors section of the Tools panel (see the following figure), and click the pencil icon to select the Stroke color control.

  5. Select No Color, as shown in the following figure. Doing so disables the rectangle's outline.

    Select No Color for the stroke color control.

  6. Drag the mouse diagonally across the Stage to create a rectangle.

    The size of the rectangle does not matter--you'll resize it later using the Property inspector.

  7. Click the Selection tool in the Tools panel, and click the rectangle on the Stage to select it.

    A cross-hatch pattern appears over the rectangle when you select it.

  8. Open the Property inspector (Window > Properties > Properties).

  9. Change the value in the W (width) text box to 160 and the H (height) text box to 600. Then change the X text box and the Y text box both to 0 (see the following figure).

    Change the width and height of the rectangle, and then set the location of the rectangle to cover the Stage.

  10. With the rectangle still selected on the Stage, press F8 to change the rectangle into a symbol.

  11. In the Convert to Symbol dialog box, type inv btn in the Name text box, select Button, and then click OK.

  12. Double-click the new button on the Stage to enter the Symbol-editing mode.

    The rectangle is currently on the first Up frame of the button you created. This is the Up state of the button--what users see when the button sits on the Stage. Instead, you want the button not to have anything visible on the Stage. Therefore, you need to move the rectangle to the Hit frame, which is the hit area of the button (the active region that a user can click to activate the button's actions).

  13. Click the keyframe at the Up frame, and hold down the mouse button while you drag the keyframe to the Hit frame (see the following figure).

    Drag the rectangle keyframe from the Up frame to the Hit frame on the Timeline.

    Now the entire area of the banner is clickable, but there is no visual appearance of the button on your banner.

  14. Click Scene 1 to return to the main Timeline.

  15. Now there is a teal rectangle over the banner area. This refers to the invisible button's Hit area. If it's distracting to you, you can hide the button layer in the authoring environment.

  16. (Optional) On the Timeline, click the dot that's under the Eye icon on the button layer to hide the contents of that layer.

    Select File > Save to save your progress before moving on.


Writing simple actions


You need to add some simple ActionScript to your banner in order for the invisible button to open a website or send information about how many clicks the banner has received.
There are several different places you can add ActionScript in a Flash document. You can select an instance, and add ActionScript that attaches directly to that instance. To access the code, you would need to find and select that instance again. You can also add ActionScript to a frame (or multiple frames) on the Timeline. It's a good idea to add all of your code to a single frame on the Timeline, because it's much easier to find, update, and organize when you're working on a file. Do not attach your ActionScript to instances.

NOTE You can also keep your ActionScript in external class files that import into the FLA file you're working on. This is sometimes the best way to organize your ActionScript, particularly when you work on larger projects. This topic goes beyond the scope of this tutorial.

Notice how your Join Us motion tween continually loops when you test it. By default, the playhead on the Timeline loops if you have content on more than one frame. Therefore, if you have content on several frames in a movie clip or on the main Timeline, it will play and loop forever. You can stop the playhead from looping by adding a single line of ActionScript. If you add this ActionScript to a frame, the playhead stops when it reaches that frame:


You don't need to add this ActionScript to your banner. However, you will need to add this ActionScript to other FLA files that you create. The stop action is ActionScript you need to know about when you start using Flash so you can stop looping SWF files when necessary.

Before you add the code, you need to give the button a unique instance name. The instance name enables you to target the button with ActionScript code. If you don't name the button, your code doesn't have a way of targeting the button from the timeline. The first step is to assign the invisible button an instance name, and then you add code that targets that button using its name.

  1. Select the invisible button on the Stage.

  2. Open the Property inspector (Window > Properties), and find the Instance Name text box in the Property inspector.

  3. Type inv_btn into the Instance Name text box.

    NOTE An instance name is different from the symbols name (which is what you type in the Name text box in the Convert to Symbol dialog box). An instance name cannot have spaces or special characters, but you can use underscores. Also, your instance names are case-sensitive.

  4. Select Insert > Timeline > Layer to insert a new layer, and then rename the new layer to actions.

  5. Open the Actions panel (Window > Actions), and then select Frame 1 of the actions layer.

  6. Type the following ActionScript into the script pane (the editable text field) in the Actions panel:

    inv_btn.onRelease = function(){

    getURL("http://gnome.deseloper.com", "_blank");


    Notice how you target the inv_btn instance in the first line of code. The event is the onRelease event in your ActionScript code, which refers to the action when a user clicks and then releases the mouse over the inv_btn instance. Then you tell the button to open a particular web page (http://gnome.deseloper.com) in a new window (_blank) using the getURL() method.Obviously, you would replace this URL with whatever website you want the banner to open. If you want the banner to open the website in the current page, replace _blank with _self.

    This is a simple piece of ActionScript code that reacts to a button click. There is a lot of additional information on learning the ActionScript language in the Flash 8 documentation. Refer to the documentation's Table of Contents, and find Learning ActionScript 2.0 in Flash.

  7. Select File > Save to save your progress before moving on.

    After you finish saving the file, proceed to the following exercise, Test the application.


Test the application


Now you have a Flash banner, with graphics and animation, which also reacts to button clicks. You have completed your first interactive and animated Flash document. Let's take a look at it in action, within a browser window.

  1. Return to your banner2 document, and then select File > Publish Preview (HTML).

    The default browser on your computer opens and displays the banner. By default, the banner appears at the upper-left corner of the HTML document.

  2. Click the banner to open the web page. A new browser window should open and display the gnome website.

  3. Close both browser windows and return to the Flash authoring environment.

    If you are happy with your document, then save your changes and stay posted for Part 3 of this tutorial. You might want to change the animation or text, or modify the code as necessary.

    NOTE If you want to compare your results to the tutorial source file, open the banner2_complete.fla from the FlashBanner/Part2 folder that you saved on your hard disk in Open the authoring document.




Congratulations for completing the next step of creating a banner in Flash. You used the Flash authoring tool to add text, create symbols, animate on a timeline, and add interactivity to your application. In Part 2 of this tutorial, you learned how to use the Flash workspace to accomplish the following tasks:

  • Create text.

  • Create symbols.

  • Create an animation.

  • Create buttons.

  • Write ActionScript.

You now have a banner that you can export and add to a web page. In Part 3 of this tutorial, you will publish your work, and take the file and add it to a Dreamweaver website.

To continue building this application, go to the Part 3 of this tutorial: Basic Tasks: Creating a banner, Part 3.


Copyright ADOBE - All Rights Reserved Worldwide



More Topics:

Working with Flash Documents

How to work in Flash WorkSpace

Working with Projects in Flash

Process to Build your First Application in Flash

Using Symbols, Instances and Library Assets in Flash

How to Build Video Player in Flash

How to Work with Color, Strokes and Fills in Flash

How to Create Document in Flash

What is Vector and Bitmap Graphics in Flash

How to Create a Banner in Flash, Part 1

How to Work with Text in Flash

How to Create a Banner in Flash, Part 2

How to Use Imported Artwork in Flash

How to Create a Banner in Flash, Part 3

How to Work with Graphic Objects in Flash

How to Work with Layers in Flash

How to Use Filters and Blends

Working with Graphics in Flash

What is Accessibility Features in Flash

How to Create Motion (Shape Tween & Motion Tween) in Flash

How to Create an Application in Flash

What is Masking in Flash

How to Work with Video in Flash

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What are Behaviors in Flash

How to Work with Sound in Flash

How to Create Symbols and Instances in Flash

What is ActionScript in Flash

How to Write ActionScript With Script Assist in Flash

How to Add Button Animation and Navigation in Flash

What is Data Integration in Flash

How to Work with Screens

How to Create a Presentation with Screens

What is Extending Flash

How to Create Multilanguage Text in Flash

How to Create Graphics: Draw in Flash

What is Flash Lite

Ways of Data Integration

How to Create Graphics: Create a Timeline Animation in Flash

Getting Started with Flash Lite in Flash

How to Publish Flash Documents

How to Create Graphics: Making Animations with Easing

Learning Flash Lite 1.X ActionScript in Flash

How to Export Flash Content and Images from Flash

How to Create Graphics: Applying Gradients in Flash

Process of Writing and Editing ActionScript 2.0 in Flash

How to Create Accessible Content in Flash

How to Create Graphics: Apply Graphic Filters and Blends

What is Data and Data Types in Flash

Process of Printing from SWF Files in Flash

Using ActionScript: How to Use Script Assist mode in Flash

Learn Syntax and Language Fundamentals in Flash

How to Create E-learning Content in Flash

Using ActionScript: How to Write Scripts in Flash

Working with Functions and Methods in Flash

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Control Tag Summary of XML to UI in Flash

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Using ActionScript: How to Work with Objects and Classes in Flash

Overview on Interfaces in Flash

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How to Work with Text and Strings in Flash

How to use Handling Events in Flash

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How to Work with Movie Clips in Flash

How to Create Interaction with ActionScript in Flash

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How to Work with External Data in Flash

What is Security in Flash

How to Debug Applications in Flash

List of Error Messages in Flash

Using Object-Oriented Programming with ActionScript 1.0 in Flash

How to Write Scripts for Earlier Versions of Flash Player in Flash

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How to Handle Component Events in Flash

How to Customize Components in Flash

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