As a member of the Flash team I can tell you it is always a challenge balancing “technical/ API” enhancements along with “design / visual” enhancements with Flash. Ideally anything that provides a visual design improvement is maximally exploited when it can be used dynamically applied ActionScript.
The problem is, as features get more complex, the amount of code a user has to write, and the degree of coding skill tends to increase proportionally. It is enough to keep some users lingering in the world of ActionScript 2 while the things that most express their creativity are best built or only possible in ActionScript 3.
To be motivated to learn more about anything I have personally found, albeit more recently, that small steps toward an achievable goal provides both a foundation for future learning and tangible measure of success right now.When I first picked up Flash I had a few advantages. I had used Director before and there were some transferable skills. I also had a background in programming that gave me a framework in which to approach Flash. However neither was enough to keep me from the pit fall of biting off more then I can chew. I decided to build an interactive online portfolio. I spent days struggling with the timeline, countless hours searching through the documentation to figure out what actionScript I needed to use, and even more time figuring out exactly how I was going to produce a remotely interesting design of my application with no idea how to use the drawing tools.Many times along the way I was discouraged and wanted to give up or start over, but in my case I wanted Flash to be a big part of my next career so giving in was not a luxury I permitted myself. In the end I built my portfolio, in about the most complex file you can imagine, but it was a proud moment. In retrospect, the projects I built later were all much smaller and less ambitious. I aimed for a narrow scope of functionality in projects I knew I could build and increased the complexity and challenge over time. When I got good at a particularly approach to a regular problem I tried to take a different route to solve it. Eventually all those small goals resulted in a wide breadth and depth of Flash skills I still use today.I can’t help but wonder if the pain of my first project humbled me into a more reasonable approach to learning or the success of my hard, but primarily misdirected, efforts gave me the sense that Flash was not something that was just beyond my grasp. What would have happened if I failed? It makes me think that the baby step approach may be the best way to learn Flash or to make the transition from wearing a Designer hat for visuals to a Developer hat for interactivity. Working on the Flash team I wonder if there is a way to integrate that concept into Flash to help users grow their skills much faster then they currently do.Perhaps to do that we would first have to know what are the first projects people normally build in Flash, and what are the things people who have never used Flash most want to do. What does a user who considers themselves a Designer or Animator find they most need ActionScript for and what are they most challenged by. Maybe a few testimonials can help those new to the community figure out what their baby steps should be.