I know that not everyone likes tech books. My wife and family being some of them. Anyway… I do. I have a huge arsenal of text for the last decade or so that I read, lend to friends and students and then keep around for further reference. In reality there are actually more than ten books in my collection worth sharing, but these ten in this list are especially of use to Flash designers. Of course this is just a list, and my opinion, but, it is based on research through judging my own, my students, friends and colleagues benefit after reading and using these books. Some may be a tad long in the tooth when it comes to coding chops, or specifics etc, but in the end they have still sound principles or extol virtues of best practices or standards. Read on…
- Flash Web Design: The V5 Remix – By Hillman Curtis. Perhaps one of the older books I still recommend to new Flash animators or designers. This book inspired the heck out of me in 2000 when I first picked it up. Of course any of the ActionScript in it is completely outdated by now, the animation principles, respect for the message and conservation of bandwidth through clever tricks and subtle animation are still effective as hell. An oldie but a goodie, I actually have the first edition of this book, not the remix, so my copy is laden with Flash 4 stuff (haha), but the use of photo sequences and vectorized video is still a great effect when used well.
- Flash to the Core: An Interactive Sketchbook – By Joshua Davis. Possibly the most influential Flash designer ever, this book is a tour de force of style tips and design ideas. A great addition to your library. I’m not sure who has my copy of this book, but, if you are reading this post… I’d like it back, please.
Designing with Web Standards – By Jeffrey Zeldman. Just because you export SWFs and write code for RIAs doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a firm grounding in HTML, CSS and web standards. This book has a fun feel to it and makes you almost want to read the spec documents at the W3C. Note that I said “almost”. If he wasn’t so cloying at times it would be a perfect book. Bottom line is, you are creating content on the web like most other designers out there today and if you have no clue about how, why and when to use standards and when to use Flash, you are a jerk and need to change your ways. Read this and then learn about SWFObject and SWFAddress.
Essential ActionScript 3.0 – By Colin Moock. Moock’s previous book became the defacto standard for AS2 based development, and it’s certain that this one will become the same for AS3, if it isn’t already. One thing to note… This book is intense. If you are a newbie or completely inexperienced to ActionScript, this might not be the best choice for you to learn it. However, if you want a heavy duty desk reference, this is a good one.
Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design - By Jenifer Tidwell. Not a Flash book specifically, but for Flash designers morphing into RIA developers, this serves as a great intro to UI design patterns and offers a very nice full color design to boot. Indispensable when looking for inspiration or UI ideas. I give this to all my designer friends and colleagues to read. I’m thinking of using it for a required text for a Mashup class I am teaching this fall for Bradley.
- Programming Flex 2 -By Chafic Kazoun, Joey Lott. Joey Lott writes good books (His AS3 cookbook would be on this list if was 11 books instead of just ten). This one serves as a great guide to learning Flex 2. I’m sure they have a version for the version 3 SDK coming, but as far as I know, it’s not out yet. Programming Flex 2 is practical, covers a lot of ground in regards to MXML and doesn’t get too deep too quickly. It’s certainly easy to recommend this to a Flash user looking to learn Flex. This one is also on my shortlist for adding to my repertoire as a teacher. As soon as the Programming Flex 3 book is released, you can bet I’ll be picking it up.
Adobe Flex 2: Training from the Source – By Jeff Tapper. While I doubt this book will age well due to its very specific product version number and the fact that it is truly just tutorials, the information in it turns you into a competent Flex RIA developer pretty quickly. A solid weekend away from your mountain bike, girlfriend, boyfriend, beer, video games, or whatever else you usually like to do when not coding or designing will get you through this one. It even comes with a handy CD containing the software and files needed. Bonus. Of Course, now that Flex 3 is out, get the newest edition of the book for this one.
Foundation ActionScript 3.0 Animation: Making Things Move! – By Keith Peters. Hot damn I wish I would have paid attention in math back in school. I wouldn’t need books like this on my desk. Seriously though, Keith does a fantastic job of contextualizing a complex topic like trigonometry, velocity, etc and makes you understand how it applies to making a ball bounce. He does it with flair and the book lets you refer to it in a very easy to use fashion (I guess thats a table of contents, duh) to get the desired effect you want with whatever art or design you are working on.
Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data – By Stephen Few. Sooner or later you will have to design some sort of dashboard, chart or information graphic for a client. You will. Oh yes, you will. Best be prepared when you do. If you don’t know the difference between a pie chart, an eye chart and chart of pies (yum!), you need this book. Not flash specific, but certainly easy to apply to Flex chartin and other great information design components this one explains it all.
Learning ActionScript 3.0 – By Rich Shupe, Zevan Rosser. My most recent acquisition. I’m still digesting this one, but we have already decided to move over our intro flash courses to this one. What a gem. Color pictures, great examples and hot topic that has at least until now been difficult to get across to designers. I mean let’s face it AS3 is like moon language to people who are not familiar with coding and this book helps break that barrier down.
So that’s it… I have to admit, it was tough to limit it for me. I probably have about 30-40 tech books in my library… many of them on Flash, so it was hard to pare it down. Any books to add to the list for you?
Posted By: IndoSourceCode