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books you may want to read...
here's a list of books about the web that i either have had some hand in producing or have found valuable in my work as a web designer and programmer. note that i will *only* recommend books that have either been useful to me or are acknowledged universally as standards in their field.

moock books

actionscript for flash mx: pocket reference, moock, 2003
buy it at amazon>>
160 pocket-sized pages covering the nitty-gritty of actionscript for flash mx, including language basics, common tasks, and summaries of actionscript's built-in classes, objects, functions, and properties.

actionscript for flash mx: the definitive guide, second edition, moock, 2002
go to book companion site>>
buy it>>
an update to the best-selling first edition, this book offers 1100 pages exhaustive pages of actionscript instruction and reference documentation, including full coverage of flash mx. published by o'reilly.

actionscript: the definitive guide, moock, 2001
go to book companion site>>
buy it>>
from-the-ground-up exploration of actionscript for flash 5, plus a complete flash 5 actionscript language reference. published by o'reilly.

the flash 4 bible, reinhardt, lentz, et al, 2000
go to full review and samples>>
one of those huge 600-pagers with everything you could ever wonder about flash 4 in it. written by robert reinhardt and jon warren lentz; published by idg books, 1999. i contributed three chapters on flash interactivity and several tutorials throughout the book. robert & co. released the flash 5 bible in february 2001. it's a great upgrade with tons of new flash 5 material.

sgml on the web, rubinsky & maloney, 1997
i did the illustration for this interesting look at the possibilities of making the web more powerful through using more complex information structures like sgml for document creation. written by yuri rubinsky and murray maloney, and published by prentice hall, 1997. many of the ideas in the book are starting to find expression in the xml movement. worth buying if you want to learn more about sgml and need a straight-forward explanation from one of its creators.

teach yourself the internet, randall et al, 1995
i contributed a chapter about multi-user domains (muds) to this now-dated guide to the internet for newbies. fun reading if you're into nostalgia, but probably not a relevent buy these days :). it was published by sams in 1995. i have the chapter i wrote posted here.

flash mx books

actionscript cookbook, lott, 2003
buy it at amazon.com>>
Joey Lott's ActionScript Cookbook is the perfect complement to my own ActionScript for Flash MX: The Definitive Guide. Whereas my book covers the foundations of the language, the ActionScript Cookbook (ASCB) is at the opposite end of the spectrum, providing gobs of practical examples. ASCB responds to many reader requests for additional examples and larger sample applications than the scope of my books allowed. Following the well-respected O'Reilly Cookbook format, ASCB is entirely composed of example recipes and larger applications, with just enough theory to allow you to understand the solutions offered. If you have a solid handle on ActionScript theory but could use tons of practical examples, or if you want to skip the theory and go right to practice, the ActionScript Cookbook is for you. ASCB also covers topics outside of the core language covered in ASDG2. For example, there are full chapters on Flash Remoting and Flash Communication Server. ASCB's editor is Bruce Epstein, my own editor for ASDG, so you can expect the same writing quality and accuracy from ASCB. Many more details and a sample chapter are posted here: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/actscptckbk. If you want to buy ASCB and support moock.org at the same time, use this link:

flash mx for interactive simulation, kaye & castillo, 2002
buy it at amazon.com>>
Authors Jonathan Kaye and David Castillo dig deep into structuring complex GUI applications using state machines and state charts to model (i.e., simulate) real-world devices. Superior content and clear writing. All Flash application developers can learn something from this book.

object-oriented programming with actionscript, hall & wan, 2002
buy it at amazon.com>>
A rock-solid guide to object-oriented programming in flash by the top talent in the industry. The book explains oop to beginners, but then practices what it preaches in applied examples, showing not only how to create and use classes in ActionScript, but how to implement them wisely using accepted oop design patterns. Good coverage of advanced OOP issues such as event implementation and component development (the latter of which is written by Macromedia's own Nigel Pegg, the developer of the Flash UI Components that ship with Flash MX). This book is a must have for any serious Flash application developer.

robert penner's programming macromedia flash mx, penner, 2002
buy it at amazon.com>>
robert penner is a respected actionscript programmer regularly seen contributing his insight and code to the flash community on the flashcoders mailing list. in his first sole-authorship publication, robert collects his many ideas and and presents them to the intermediate flash developer as a cohesive oop methodology. penner's wandering tour of actionscript teaches the reader some theory (e.g., object-oriented programming basics, event-based programming) and some practise (e.g., 2d and 3d vector classes). well worth reading for anyone interested flash programming.

flash enabled, 2002
buy it at amazon.com>>
a killer team of flash developers got together under the pioneering spirit of phillip torrone to create this much needed light on the deep dark cave of developing flash for devices (ie, handheld computers, set top boxes, game consoles, etc). at publication time, it's the only book on the market that covers the device space in any depth, and it does it well. a must-have for device developers.

the web wizard's guide to flash, 2002
buy it at amazon.com>>
the author of webmonkey's famous flash tutorials finally made it to print. the wizard's guide is an introduction to the world of flash for newbies, written in the plain, helpful tone that made the webmonkey tutorials a success. if you're a total flash novice, this book will help you get to know the program and explore what's possible. i don't know if i'd have included tellTarget(), but then michael's got his methods...

flash mx magic, 2002
buy it at amazon.com>>
the flash mx update to the classic project-based book of programming tutorials.

foundation actionscript for flash mx, sham bhangal & ben renow-clarke, 2002
buy it at amazon.com>>
the flash mx edition of the popular non-programmers guide to programming flash.

flash 5 books

new masters of flash: the 2002 annual, (actually printed in 2001)
buy it at amazon.com>>
same idea as the first edition, but with different authors. covers flash 5.

flash 5 magic with actionscript, 2001
buy it at amazon.com>>
the flash 5 update to the classic flash 4 project-based book of tutorials.

flash 5 actionscript for fun and games, gary rosenzweig, 2001
buy it at amazon.com>>
gary has used his experience writing about game development in director to create a very useful text for the flash world. his cross section of common games for flash teaches highly valuable programming and software architecture skills. it includes dozens of step-by-step tutorials as well as some good theoretical sections on lesser-covered topics like performance testing. if you've got a handle on actionscript syntax, this book will teach you some important applied skills.

foundation actionscript, sham bhangal, 2001
buy it at amazon.com>>
this is another quality book by friends of ed. perfect for non-programmers looking for a comforting hand to hold while they learn to program. if you're an animator or designer that's intimidated by code, this book's for you. probably not ideal for experienced programmers learning actionscript.

flash and generator demystified, torrone, wiggins, chambers, 2001
buy it at amazon.com>>
this book is what generator developers have been waiting for...one of the first full-fledged generator reference and tutorial books. i'm not a generator developer myself, but i personally know the authors (phillip torrone, chris wiggins, and mike chambers) and can attest to their world-class skill with the product. chambers actually works at macromedia doing generator development. here's an excerpt from the back cover: "Readers will learn to work within the Generator development interface, objects and properties; how to work with data sources; how to use Generator in a team environment; and how Generator is used by Flash designers for maximum effect. CD contains demos, tutorials and sample templates."

flash games studio, sham bhangal, glen rhodes, et al, 2001
buy it at amazon.com>>
unreviewed. billed as an advanced flash game development book.

flash 4 books

new masters of flash, yugo nakamura et al, 2000
buy it at amazon.com>>
now more a cultural classic than a guide to cutting-edge techniques, new masters of flash, first edition, is a rare and valuable collection of inspiring thoughts and flash techniques. with over 500 full color pages, i was happy to see that its content warranted its glossy presentation. inside you'll find the history, concepts, and ideas behind the work of 19 household-name flashers, including yugo nakamura, josh davis, james patterson, todd pursgason etc. etc. each designer/programmer gets a chapter to express, in their own words, their general style and inspirations, and yes, how to pull off some of their tricks. this book is perfect for anyone who wants to know more about the people and techniques behind the sites in everyone's link list. it also reveals some very practical information in step-by-step, illustrated programming tutorials. if all you're looking for is source code (i.e., you're a cynic), you may want to skip this and head to flashkit's .fla database; but if you're looking for source code and a thoughtful chat with some of the early pioneers of the flash medium, you'll definitely enjoy this book--i did. note that most of the coding is done in flash 4, but is solid enough to be translated pretty easily to flash 5 syntax. the book comes with a cd containing all .flas used in the tutorials, plus interview videos and other goodies.

flash 4 magic, emberton & hamlin et al, 2000
buy it at amazon.com>>
flash 4 magic walks through a series of 21 small flash applications explaining some of the code and offering instructions on implementing custom versions of the samples. samples include a password app, an mp3 jukebox, a product catalog, and several games (pong, hit the mole, etc). the only criticism i've heard of this book is that it has a general lack of detailed information about what's actually happening in the code (the text concentrates more on how to implement and customize samples). if you're working with flash 5, look for the updated version, flash 5 magic with actionscript.

flash web design, curtis, 2000
buy it at amazon.com>>
a beautiful-looking full colour manual on the aesthetic principles of flash design by respected designer (and former macromedia employee) hillman curtis. lots of information on creating visual effects, and plenty of analysis of what constitutes good and unique design on a flash site. the book contains fundamentally sound information on flash production principles and dissects some high profile projects to show what makes them tick.

javascript books

javascript, the definitive guide, flanagan, 2001
buy it at amazon.com>>
now in its 4th edition, jsdg is the hardcore lowdown on the constantly growing front-end language of the web, javascript. it provides a no-nonsense, exhaustive reference to every feature of the language up to version 1.5. amazingly thorough in detail and accuracy, this is the single book a javascripter must own. part one outlines all the major components of javascript, part two describes its usage in the browser environment, and the remainder (which you'll definitely wear out over the years) lists every damn function, method, event handler, object, and property supported by javascript, providing not only a description of the item, but information about when it was introduced and which browsers support it. full coverage of css and the w3c dom. god, try writing *that* up for fun. overall, javascript: the definitive guide is unbelievably useful and highly recommended.

professional javascript, nigel mcfarlane et al, 1999
buy it at amazon.com>>
unreviewed. on my "todo" list. reputedly good coverage of oop in javascript.

javascript objects, tom myers, alexander nakhimovsky, 1998
buy it at amazon.com>>
unreviewed. on my "todo" list. an entire book on oop in javascript.

perl books

learning perl 2nd edition, schwartz & christiansen, 1997
buy it at amazon.com>>
a very casual and practical introduction to the commonly-used-for-cgi-but-actually-more-versatile-than-that language, perl. learning perl originally appeared in 1993, was updated in 1997, and sports a humourous foreward by the creator of perl, larry wall. the authors are sickeningly knowledgable in the ways of perl, but still manage to express the basics clearly with an almost anecdotal tone. aimed at newcomers to perl, but not really newcomers to programming in general, learning perl starts out with a good walk through of a simple perl program that illustrates most of the fundamentals of the language. subsequent chapters describe individual topics such as arrays, regular expressions, handling files, etc providing lots of code samples and comments. most examples are slanted towards unix, but will work on other platforms. windows users may want to buy learning perl on win32 systems, which is an adaptation of learning perl but with windows examples and supplemental info.

if you've got some programming experience and need to learn perl, this is the book to get (schwartz makes reference to c and pascal where appropriate to ease the transition for programmers of those languages). total programming newbies could read learning perl and learn from it, but should expect to do parallel research about generic programming concepts at the same time.


revision history
december 1, 1999: posted.
april 4, 2000: updated by popular demand to include non-moock books.
january 03, 2001: added new masters of flash review.
march 19, 2001: added "actionscript: the definitive guide", and updated "flash 4 magic" and the "flash 4 bible" to include references to the new flash 5 versions of those works.
april 19, 2001: added "flash and generator demystified".
may 29, 2001: added "foundation actionscript" and "actionscript for fun and games".
sept 04, 2001: added a few interesting looking books i intend to read at some point...
june 19, 2002: added flash enabled and wizard's guide. did a couple of updates
august 23, 2002: added branden's, jessica's, and robert's books. reorganized the page...books are now categorized according to topic (flash 4, flash 5, flash mx, etc).
dec 12, 2002: added asdg2 and flash mx for interactive simulation.
august 7, 2003: added actionscript cookbook.