Posts in Category "Flash documentation"

ActionScript 3.0 resources for Flash 9 AS3 preview.

Just want to draw a bit of attention to the new documentation for the Flash 9 preview. It’s all in LiveDocs, so you can leave your comments for the writers involved – this will help improve the final documentation, so I encourage you to let them know what you think. Do you want samples of something? More info on how to migrate? Coverage of a particular API? Let them know!

Overview of ActionScript 3.0 Language Reference
Flash Programming ActionScript 3.0

On the developer center, you should check out:

Exploring the Flash Professional 9 ActionScript 3.0 Preview (an article Peter deHaan and I wrote on how to get started with AS3 in the Flash Preview).

ActionScript 3.0 Overview

Flash 8 Best Practices on Developer Center

The Flash 8 Best Practices document has been posted on the Developer Center. This is an updated version of the Flash MX 2004 Best Practices document that was out there, but doesn’t contain the ActionScript stuff (which is here instead:

Most of this can be found somewhere in the documentation, but it wasn’t consolodated into a single place. Hopefully it will be in the future 😉 But for now, it’s here on the Developer Center:


And if you have things to add (there are always best practices to add), let me know and we’ll consider everything for a future revision!

New ActionScript Best Practices guide on Developer Center

A new version of the AS best practices guide has been posted on the developer center. It’s mostly what you can find in the documentation, but reformatted and relinked. The Flash 8 ActionScript version has also been seriously trimmed from the 2004 version (much of the Flash-centric best practices will be in an upcoming Flash Best Practices).

Check “ActionScript 2.0 Best Practices” out here:

Print version:

ALSO (update):

In PDF format:

In your Help panel:[i] [b]Learning ActionScript 2.0 in Flash > Best Practices and Coding Conventions for ActionScript 2.0[/b] [/i]

In LiveDocs:

Any suggestions/additions welcome! Stay tuned for the Flash 8 Best Practices guide.

Flash documentation – for Adobe

Yesterday I turned in my offer letter to Adobe, so officially I’m now working on Adobe Flash documentation. Which feels pretty weird to type (and see – check out and click on the About this Site link!) My partners in crime (other writers on Flash and Flash Player teams) are exactly the same as well. No departures – good news.

Things are business as usual for the Flash team as well – see Mike Downey’s post about that here:

It has been a pretty tense/intense week around here. Lots of emotions (nervous, sadness, relief). Although there’s a lot of good news, there’s also some sad news about departures from both companies. I wish all of those people leaving the best of luck – I know they won’t need it because they’re all so talented. Actually, speaking of which, Alan Musselman summed some things up very nicely in his post here.

I do look forward to continuing on with the Flash team and documentation. The department I’m in is now called the “Learning Resources team” (it was called “IMD” at Macromedia). It’s pretty exciting to be in a much bigger group, with more resources (or so it seems) – meaning we’ll be able to offer you better “stuff”.

(PS: Sorry for the temporary fugly blog design – I lost the original and needed to update it on the asap. Will make a new one soon!)

Create a custom Help search category in Flash 8

When you perform a search in the Help panel in Flash 8, you can filter your search by a pre-determined set of categories. For example, you can search only the components content, or just the tutorials and samples content. This can be very useful if you don’t want to scroll through 10 billion results when you search.

However, what if you want to choose your own content to search? For example, what if you want to exclude the mobile books because you’re not creating mobile content (yet)? You can by following these steps!


1. Close Flash.

2. Find the categories.xml file, in which you will add a new category for your custom search. Find the categories.xml file here:

C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash 8\en\Configuration\HelpPanel\categories.xml

HD:Users:Shared:Library:Application Support:Macromedia:Flash 8:en:Configuration:HelpPanel:categories.xml

4. Save a back-up of this file, just in case.

5. Modify the categories.xml file. Add this to categories.xml alongside the other categories:

<category title=”Not Mobile” keyword=”notmobile”></category>

6. Then find the Help folder here:

C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash 8\en\Configuration\HelpPanel\Help

HD:Users:Shared:Library:Application Support:Macromedia:Flash 8:en:Configuration:HelpPanel:Help

You see a bunch of book files, each of which contains a help_toc.xml file. You need to go into each folder of a book you want to add, and add the keyword you chose above (“notmobile”) and add that inside of each help_toc.xml file.

So, I’m going to start with the ActionScriptLangRef: find help_toc.xml in that folder (scroll right to the end), and in that file modify this line (line 2):

<book title=”ActionScript 2.0 Language Reference” directory=”ActionScriptLangRef” categories=”languagereferences,as2″ language=”en” version=”2.0″ sort=”mm_7″>


<book title=”ActionScript 2.0 Language Reference” directory=”ActionScriptLangRef” categories=”languagereferences,as2,notmobile” language=”en” version=”2.0″ sort=”mm_7″>

7. Repeat this for each book you want to search in the notmobile category.

When you’re done, reopen Flash and open the Flash panel. You’ll see the new category in the Search pop-up menu:

create a custom search category in the Help panel

ActionScript Language Reference now in downloadable HTML format

You can download the ActionScript Language Reference in HTML format at the following location:

Click on the ActionScript tab, and find the link to “Download stand-alone HTML”.

<!— To see the format in action, go to: —>

Let us know what you think!

Updated for Flash 8: Customize your Help panel (in 5 easy steps) – control search highlight!

I originally posted in August about customizing your Help panel in Flash 2004 ( Now I’ll update the steps for Flash 8 – very similar stuff.

First of all, you might have noticed a new feature in the Help panel that does search highlighting. This useful little feature has saved me a bunch of time.

But what if you’re not a fan of nasal yellow? Or even search highlight? Well, you’re in luck. You can control the highlight feature (modify, remove) by editing a simple CSS file. You can also change other elements of the Help panel the same way. Read on…

Caution: Before you start, remember to save a backup of the CSS files that you plan to modify “just in case”.

1. Close Flash and navigate to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash 8\en\Configuration\HelpPanel\_sharedassets (Windows)


HD:Users:Shared:Library:Application Support:Macromedia:Flash 8::Configuration:HelpPanel:_sharedassets (Mac).

2. Open the help_pc.css file in a CSS editor (such as TopStyle or Dreamweaver, or a text editor such Notepad), or open help_mac.css if you’re on a Mac.

3. To change the search highlight color, find and modify this section of the file. I’ve modified the yellow (#DFDF00) to:

.searchhilite {
background-color: #AFE28B

To change the background color for procedures, find the line starting with “div.procedure, div.welcomehelp, div.welcomehowdoi {” (around line 224): Add the following line to change the background color for procedures to a light purple (new text in bold):

div.procedure, div.welcomehelp, div.welcomehowdoi {
background-color: #F0FDFF;

5. That’s it! Save the CSS file, and then reopen Flash/Help panel.

I’ll post soon about other customizations you can make, such as creating a custom search category (that pop-up menu under the Search text box).

Help panel: Ctrl+F now works!

As the title says! In earlier versions of Flash, Ctrl+F just didn’t work in conjunction with Help. Well, now it does. Go to a help page in Flash 8 docs, and press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac — the Find box opens like magic. Really helps you locate stuff in those longer Help pages…

Terminology section in Flash 8 docs

There is a lot of terminology in ActionScript, and Flash of course. One of the later efforts in documenting Flash was a brand new terminology page for ActionScript, which you can see on LiveDocs here:

Or search “Terminology” in the Help panel, you’ll find it here:

Learning ActionScript 2.0 in Flash > Terminology

If you are an ActionScript expert, then this page will be of little use to you. But if you’re learning ActionScript, hopefully this page will be useful.

But that’s not why I’m blogging.

This page is not comprehensive (it’s manual and was kinda developed unofficially while going along, instead of consciously as a specific project. Sorry… but better than nothin’? heh.) Actually, I’m sure it could easily quadruple its length, at which time I think we’d need to reconsider the format. I digress…

What I’d like to ask is any terms – about ActionScript specifically (not necessary Flash, unless it’s a feature related to AS) – please comment on LiveDocs (Terminology page on LiveDocs) and say “Please add this term ____”. You don’t need to define it unless you’d like to, but it will greatly help develop this page into something increasingly useful for everyone.


New ActionScript in Flash 8

Documentation includes a page that lists the new ActionScript you can use with Flash Player 8. I am “reprinting” that information here. It’s available in the Help panel here (search “additions to” with quotes):

Learning ActionScript 2.0 in Flash > What’s New in Flash 8 ActionScript > New in ActionScript 2.0 and Flash 8 > Additions to the ActionScript language

And on LiveDocs here:

Note that there is new information in the LiveDocs and this blog (ie: developments after “print time”).

Read the extended entry for the entire lists!

Continue reading…