Posted on January 20, 2010
Updating Flash Journalism (Part 2)
The other day I received an e-mail from someone with a programming background who’s interested in learning how to build journalism packages in Flash. He asked how to get started and whether I was planning to release a new edition of my 2005 book Flash Journalism: How to Create Multimedia News Packages.
First I directed him to my December 2009 post about why I will not be updating my book.
I am recommending Adobe Flash CS4 Professional Classroom in a Book. It’s not directed specifically at journalists or news graphics reporters, but it’s easy to follow for the most part.
Then I gave him this outline of what he needs to learn:
- Button scripting (for navigation through the package): Adobe Flash CS4 Professional Classroom in a Book, Lesson 6; see also AS3 Buttons Tutorial
- Loading external content dynamically: Adobe Flash CS4 Professional Classroom in a Book, Lesson 9
- How to optimize images in Flash (Bitmap Properties): Imported Bitmaps
- How to load and control external MP3s: Using Sound in ActionScript 3
- How to load and control video: Adobe Flash CS4 Professional Classroom in a Book, Lesson 7 (starting on page 252)
- ActionScript 3 and XML loading/controls (XML works awesomely well with AS3): I have built a tutorial for this that is meant to be used in conjunction with the files and the exercise in Adobe Flash CS4 Professional Classroom in a Book, Lesson 8 (download the files; 234 KB). Please note that the exercise will not make sense without the book!
Now, after you’ve got all that under your belt, you will need to spend some time learning how to use the Bandwidth Profiler (Adobe Flash CS4 Professional Classroom in a Book, Lesson 10) to make sure no one can accuse you of building heavy (overly large) Flash files. Heavy Flash files are NOT an indicator that Flash is bad; they simply show that the person who built the files didn’t know how to do it right!
If someone tells you that Flash graphics do not show up in Google or Yahoo! searches — that is incorrect.
If someone tells you that SWF is a proprietary file format, or that SWFs can be created only with Adobe software applications, that is also incorrect.
You should also learn how to use SWFObject to embed your Flash files (SWFs) in regular Web pages.