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Setting a document class

From: ActionScript 3.0 in Flash Professional CS5 Essential Training

Video: Setting a document class

If you're interested in getting all of your code out of the Timeline and into organized class files, then document classes will allow you to do that. With document classes, you can create external ActionScript classes that completely power your FLA files. So you can take all or most of your code out of the Timeline and put it into ActionScript classes with only a few steps. The first thing you're going to need to do to create a document class that powers your FLA file is to make that class extend the MovieClip class.

Setting a document class

If you're interested in getting all of your code out of the Timeline and into organized class files, then document classes will allow you to do that. With document classes, you can create external ActionScript classes that completely power your FLA files. So you can take all or most of your code out of the Timeline and put it into ActionScript classes with only a few steps. The first thing you're going to need to do to create a document class that powers your FLA file is to make that class extend the MovieClip class.

That basically says you're going to take the movie clip concept and add to it, with whatever's in this file. That may sound a little bit strange and new, but you're already familiar with that idea because every time you create your own custom movie clip, you're essentially extending the MovieClip class. You're taking the idea of a movie clip, and you're putting your own art and your own animations inside of it. This is the same thing, but it's with code. So, right after DocumentExample, type a space and then type the word extends.

Then type another space and type MovieClip, capital M, capital C. When you type that line of code, Flash will automatically add the import statement for you. Import statements will make sure that you can use the code that you're referencing in your files. So you absolutely need to have this line of code here. If Flash doesn't insert it for you, or you forget to insert it, then you'll get an error. So just keep that in mind. Also, make sure not to add a semicolon after this line of code.

See this class declaration is followed by curly braces, here and here. If you put a semicolon, then you'll make an error because these curly braces are a part of this public class statement. The next thing to do is to write some code in the constructor area. The constructor area is the initialization code. That's going to be the function that automatically runs when your FLA is initialized.

So in there, let's just put a simple trace statement to make sure that this is working properly. So type 'trace,' some parentheses and a semicolon and in quotes, type "it's working!" with an exclamation point. Before you go over to the FLA file, save this file. When you're working in an FLA, you can change the ActionScript and test the movie, and those ActionScript changes will be reflected in the published movie.

With a class file, however, the file gets loaded into Flash when you publish the movie. So, it loads the last saved version of that file. So if you ever make a change, you need to save it for that change to be reflected in the SWF file. So save the file, then go back to the FLA file, and in the Class section in the Properties panel - and by the way you won't see this unless you have nothing selected, so make sure you deselect everything - click in the Class section and type the name of the DocumentExample class.

If you type it differently than the name of the file, it won't work - and by differently, I mean different casing, like a lowercase e instead of an uppercase E, and any other spaces or special characters, aren't going to work. So type it exactly as the name of the file is. So DocumentExample, capital D, capital E, and then press Enter or Return to commit the change. Then test the movie, and you should see the code pop up. It says it's working in the Output window.

Now, you'll notice that I can still click the buttons and navigate around. Let's say you wanted to put that code inside of a document class. Let's look at how it may be a little bit different than the code is on the main Timeline. Go to the first keyframe of the actions layer and open up the Actions panel. In here, select all of the code and then press Command+X or Ctrl+X to cut the code. Close the Actions panel and move over to DocumentExample.as.

Highlight the trace statement and paste the copied code over. This is going to look a little bit weird, so click the Auto format button to rearrange the code a little bit. Now we're just going to cut and paste some of these lines of code to put them in the right places. Import statement needs to be with the other import statement, and the function should be outside of the function that it's within right now. So let's select that function real quick, Command+X or Ctrl+X to cut, and then you're going to want to paste it right below the constructor method, which is public function.

Keep in mind that a method is just a function, but it becomes a method when it's inside of a class file. So, scroll down and find that closed curly brace for the constructor, go a few lines below it, and paste that function. Again, I'm going to click Auto format. Now I'll scroll up, select that import statement, the one that imports the MouseEvent, and then press Command+X or Ctrl+X to cut the code, scroll up, place the code after the import MovieClip statement, Command+V or Ctrl+V. So, in the constructor, all I have are the addEventListener lines of code.

I have the function organized in a different spot outside the constructor method, and then I have that import statement. So let's save the file and then test the movie. Remember that you can test the movie directly from an ActionScript class file as long as the targeted file is correct. So see the Target is Document_Class.fla. So, as long as that's set, I can test it from here. So the same keyboard shortcut: Command+Return or Ctrl+Enter.

Looks like everything's working and all the code is working properly. Now I've taken it off of the main Timeline and placed it inside an ActionScript class, so it's clean and organized. Note that I haven't taken off the stop actions, because these need to happen after a certain point in time. So for me, it's ideal that they stay right here. By using a document class, you can keep all your code object-oriented or in classes, and the document class can be set up through the Properties panel.

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This video is part of

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  1. 3m 22s
    1. Welcome
      1m 23s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 17s
    3. Using the function keys
      42s
  2. 23m 38s
    1. Adjusting preferences for ActionScript fonts, colors, and formatting
      3m 25s
    2. Changing Flash Player and ActionScript versions in the Publish settings
      1m 35s
    3. Reading and solving errors through the Compiler Errors window
      2m 49s
    4. Using the Actions panel buttons to add and remove comments
      2m 33s
    5. Using the Actions panel to format code
      1m 49s
    6. Using the Actions panel Toolbox
      2m 4s
    7. Seldom-used but helpful functions of the Actions panel
      3m 14s
    8. Understanding code hinting
      2m 3s
    9. Reviewing the Code Snippets panel
      3m 7s
    10. Using help
      59s
  3. 45m 50s
    1. Understanding how ActionScript 3.0 code is processed in the Flash Player
      3m 22s
    2. Understanding variables
      4m 56s
    3. Understanding functions
      9m 1s
    4. Understanding events and event listeners
      5m 47s
    5. Working with conditional statements
      9m 49s
    6. Creating arrays and vectors
      6m 50s
    7. Using the For command to create a loop
      6m 5s
  4. 49m 9s
    1. Reviewing the display list
      3m 0s
    2. Understanding instances referenced through ActionScript
      2m 27s
    3. Using dot syntax to modify properties in an instance
      3m 25s
    4. Placing objects at the center of the stage
      4m 2s
    5. Placing objects at the edges of the stage
      5m 53s
    6. Using the methods of an instance
      3m 44s
    7. Accessing the parents, children, and grandchildren of objects
      5m 50s
    8. Creating instances from Library movie clips using ActionScript
      4m 23s
    9. Adding objects to the stage and changing parents with the addChild method
      5m 45s
    10. Removing objects from the stage with the removeChild method
      4m 17s
    11. Using the numChildren property to loop through a container's child objects
      3m 17s
    12. Using the getChildByName method
      3m 6s
  5. 56m 20s
    1. Understanding timelines
      4m 15s
    2. Using common timeline navigation methods
      5m 34s
    3. Using the currentFrame and totalFrames properties
      8m 2s
    4. Controlling the timeline of an instance
      6m 41s
    5. Detecting and navigating frame labels with ActionScript
      7m 57s
    6. Solving problems when timelines and ActionScript animation collide
      4m 16s
    7. Condensing a multi-frame timeline into one frame
      8m 33s
    8. Creating a simple slide presentation app in the timeline
      7m 51s
    9. Using one event handler with multiple buttons
      3m 11s
  6. 36m 5s
    1. Creating a class using Flash templates
      4m 43s
    2. Setting a document class
      6m 51s
    3. Preparing a class to be connected to a symbol
      4m 31s
    4. Using the Symbol Properties menu to connect a symbol to a class
      4m 55s
    5. Resolving problems with instances in a linked class
      7m 53s
    6. Understanding packages
      3m 17s
    7. Working with ActionScript source paths
      3m 55s
  7. 44m 32s
    1. Viewing the finished game
      51s
    2. Viewing the FLA file
      2m 9s
    3. Creating the DragDrop and Map classes
      2m 51s
    4. Linking the draggable class to Library symbols
      2m 47s
    5. Adding drag-and-drop functionality
      3m 38s
    6. Saving and resetting an object's position
      3m 33s
    7. Giving a target drop object to the draggable objects
      13m 16s
    8. Showing a Win screen
      7m 3s
    9. Resetting the game
      8m 24s
  8. 29m 6s
    1. Loading bitmap images from the Library
      4m 6s
    2. Loading bitmap images from external files
      5m 22s
    3. Adding mouse functionality to bitmap images
      3m 31s
    4. Using a loop to load multiple images
      6m 14s
    5. Creating a simple slideshow
      8m 37s
    6. Using Flash Player 10 color management
      1m 16s
  9. 27m 13s
    1. Loading an external SWF
      4m 14s
    2. Running ActionScript code in an external SWF from its parent
      5m 30s
    3. Running parent code in a child SWF
      5m 7s
    4. Creating a timeline-based preloader to load an external SWF file
      5m 3s
    5. Displaying playback progress of a loaded SWF file
      7m 19s
  10. 40m 10s
    1. Creating plain text files
      2m 8s
    2. Loading text from an external text file
      6m 26s
    3. Loading multiple text files
      6m 43s
    4. Rendering simple HTML in a text field
      5m 51s
    5. Creating a scroll bar for a text field
      5m 29s
    6. Scrolling a text field
      4m 59s
    7. Scrolling movie clips and other objects using masks
      5m 42s
    8. Modifying TLF text properties through ActionScript
      2m 52s
  11. 23m 40s
    1. Reviewing XML and E4X syntax
      3m 29s
    2. Loading an XML file
      3m 26s
    3. Using dot syntax to access XML data
      4m 2s
    4. Using XML data to populate a DataGrid component
      7m 4s
    5. Using XML data to load image files
      5m 39s
  12. 23m 33s
    1. Loading audio from the Library
      1m 41s
    2. Loading audio from external files
      3m 41s
    3. Playing, pausing, and stopping sounds
      5m 39s
    4. Muting all audio with the SoundMixer.stopAll method
      1m 28s
    5. Tracking load progress
      2m 38s
    6. Displaying sound position
      5m 5s
    7. Adjusting volume
      3m 21s
  13. 19m 54s
    1. Touring the FLA file
      5m 57s
    2. Controlling video playing and pausing with ActionScript
      1m 56s
    3. Working with ActionScript cue points to add closed captioning
      3m 35s
    4. Displaying video playback position
      3m 44s
    5. Adjusting video volume
      4m 42s
  14. 5m 32s
    1. Using new code snippets for AIR and mobile
      1m 13s
    2. Viewing the new code snippets HUD
      1m 17s
    3. Loading assets with the new ProLoader class
      1m 8s
    4. Understanding Flash Player premium features
      1m 54s
  15. 16s
    1. Goodbye
      16s

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