The great thing about the Flash community is all the sharing. You can pretty much find the solution to any problem or question you have. There’s tons of blogs and forums out there that are full of information on Flash and ActionScript. And you can learn a lot from these resources, but, for me, I’ve found it easier and sometimes a lot more convenient to have a book or two you have look through. Since Flash was a class I took at school, I actually started learning about it from a book before I ever realized there was all this information out on the web and I think that the best way to get into Flash and ActionScript is to start with a book and then use online resources once you get a basic understanding.
1. Learning ActionScript 3.0: A Beginner’s Guide by Rich Shupe and Zevan Rosser
Learning ActionScript 3.0 is a great book for someone just getting started with AS, someone migrating from AS2 to AS3 and even for an experienced Flash designer. It has an easy reading style moves you along at a quick pace. There’s also a great companion website at learningactionscript3.com. I can’t recommend this for an experienced developer because it covers just the basics of ActionScript 3 but it wouldn’t be a bad book to use as a refresher. While it’s a great book to for an introduction to AS3 and Flash, this book isn’t set up to be used as a reference text, it’s really just what it says it is, an introduction to ActionScript. I wish that this book had been out when I was in school, it would have been perfect for my switch to AS3.
2. Essential ActionScript 3.0 by Colin Moock
As the title says, this is pretty much the essential book for any serious ActionScript developer. This book has 946 pages and, from what I can tell, covers every aspect of ActionScript 3. While a beginner could be in over their head, an experienced programmer will find this book to be a great introduction ActionScript 3. Colin Moock has a huge rep in the Flash community and is a great teacher. This book, along with the companion Lost ActionScript Weekend dvds, is a must have for any serious developer or designer the wants to take Flash to the next level.
3. The ActionScript 3.0 Quick Reference Guide by David Stiller, Rich Shupe, Jen deHaan and Darren Richardson
This book is a little different than the other 2 on the list, it’s not really a step by step how to of using Flash and ActionScript. A bit newer than the other books, this one includes info on how to use Flash CS4 and migration from AS2 to AS3. About half the book is a How-To section, including topics like How Do I Work With Events and How Do I Work With XML. This shouldn’t be your first book when trying to learning AS3 but beside the other two it works really well, especially if you need to learn how to do something that you haven’t done before.
There’s a bunch of books out there, but these 3 are the ones that I’ve found helped me the most.