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When to use the IDE/timeline and when to use AS

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Simeon Albertson
When to use the IDE/timeline and when to use AS
on Sep 28, 2008 at 7:11:55 pm

Hi, I'm starting out Flash development and bumped into a few issues about the workflow.

It's not as much text as it looks, you'll understand my concerns quickly :-)

I know that I should avoid extending the Document Class to MovieClip unless I am to use the timeline, essentially. It adds overhead and breaks OOP. But I don't know whether I'm going to use the timeline or not? I extend MovieClip for now, but would like to know more about how my workflow will look when I start creating.

Question 1)
Let's say I want to create a navigation menu for a website. Do I create the symbols in the Flash IDE first, and then do the interaction and animation in Flex, using Actionscript?

Question 2)
Let's say I want to add some animations to my navigation menu. Do I create the animations in the Flash IDE, using the timeline, or in Flex using, say Tweener?

Question 3)
If it's a simple animation, do I create that in Flash? And if it's a more advanced animation, do I create that in Flex?

Question 4)
Simply... when do I use the timeline? When not?

Question 5)
What work should/will I do in the Flash IDE and what work in Flex using Actionscript?

Maybe you got a link to some article that's already explaining this for me? I tried a Google, but you're probably better at that than me.

Thanks! /Simeon


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Pieter Helsen
Re: When to use the IDE/timeline and when to use AS
on Sep 28, 2008 at 7:38:38 pm

I barely use the timeline. Especially not for animations. Allways use Tweener. It's an amazing class with so much more capabilities than either the integrated Flash Tween class or timeline animation.

Really, the only things I use timeline for is:
- Page/section seperation: For instance, I will put my preloader on the first frame and everything else on the second frame. Or... A seperate frame for each page like: preloader, products, services, and so on.
- Interface elements: Generally, I will use actionscript to draw all my design elements, but sometimes you cannot but use the library of course. Especially when it involves more complex designs.

My website for example, consists of two frames (preloader and content) and those image squares to the left are a library symbol with 4 layers (background color, loader, empty movieclip for loading thumbs, mask). The mask's and loaders and stuff are all tweened via actionscript. I could've created that using the drawing API, but you'll soon be able to distinguish which method is the most time effective.

And really, it depends a -lot- on the beliefs of the developer. I know tons of bureaus that create absolutely stunning timeline-based websites. But me, as a programmer, will tell you this, out of my own experience, refrain from using the timeline as much as possible, especially now with the coming of AS3.

Also, you don't necessarily need Flex to create Actionscript files.

Kind regards,
Pieter

General notice: from now on, I would like to ask everyone to put [AS2] or [AS3] (corresponding to the version of actionscript you are using on your project) in front of their post titles when the question is actionscript related! Please help us help you faster. Thank you.


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Simeon Albertson
Re: When to use the IDE/timeline and when to use AS
on Sep 28, 2008 at 8:14:38 pm

Thankyou for responding, Pieter! That really helped.

Yes, I am already using CS3 and AS3. I got Flex since I figured I would be writing a lot of AS code and do fewer things in Flash, but I know about the built-in code editor in Flash. I also use Tweener, because of its many recommendations.

But it must be a hard thing to visualize what will happen when you animate objects, and how would you find the correct coordinates etc. when animating? It sounds like a lot of trial-and-error and tedious to adjust small things one by one?

Let's say you wanted to build a menu interface with some 10-15 shapes, would you do that in AS as well?


Cheers /Simeon


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Pieter Helsen
Re: When to use the IDE/timeline and when to use AS
on Sep 28, 2008 at 8:24:17 pm

Well, whichever way you turn it, flash is used to create very graphical web applications, so yes, there is a lot of pixel tweaking, a lot of testing, but you quickly develop a feel for it.

As for animating, Tweener really does most of that for you. The best advice I can give you is just to play around with it a little and you'll soon know the feeling I'm talking about. :)

Kind regards,
Pieter

General notice: from now on, I would like to ask everyone to put [AS2] or [AS3] (corresponding to the version of actionscript you are using on your project) in front of their post titles when the question is actionscript related! Please help us help you faster. Thank you.


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