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Using dot syntax to modify properties in an instance

From: ActionScript 3.0 in Flash Professional CS5 Essential Training

Video: Using dot syntax to modify properties in an instance

To modify an instance using ActionScript, you can use something called dot syntax. Don't let the name scare you though; dot syntax is simple and easy to learn, even for the newest programmers. On the stage I have an instance of a movie clip called boarder_mc. Make sure to create a movie clip instance and name it, just like mine is named here. Let's go to the first keyframe in the actions layer and open up the Actions panel. Dot syntax simply means you can modify an object's properties by typing a dot. The real special thing about dot syntax in Flash is that you can get code hinting when typing a dot.

Using dot syntax to modify properties in an instance

To modify an instance using ActionScript, you can use something called dot syntax. Don't let the name scare you though; dot syntax is simple and easy to learn, even for the newest programmers. On the stage I have an instance of a movie clip called boarder_mc. Make sure to create a movie clip instance and name it, just like mine is named here. Let's go to the first keyframe in the actions layer and open up the Actions panel. Dot syntax simply means you can modify an object's properties by typing a dot. The real special thing about dot syntax in Flash is that you can get code hinting when typing a dot.

To get code hinting, I am going to make a variable to hold the boarder on the stage. Now this may seem a little bit counterintuitive, because we have already given it an instance name, and I am not going to directly use that instance name to modify the boarder. I will show you why in just a second. Type var and then a space, and we will call this boarder, different from boarder_mc, which is the instance name of the border. I am going to data type this to a movie clip, and I am going to set it equal to boarder_mc. That's the name of the movie clip instance on stage.

Now here is why I do that. If I want to modify the boarder's properties, I'll just type boarder and then a dot. I can scroll through a menu, pick different properties and methods that I can apply to this object. Let's take a look at one of them. I am going to double-click on alpha. This value is a numeric value between 0 and 1 and controls the alpha transparency of an object. So if you want to bring its alpha down to 25%, then the value is not 25 - it's 0.25. boarder.alpha = 0.25. So I will test the movie, and you can see a semi-transparent boarder on stage.

Some other properties you can modify are x. You have seen that before in this title, so I can set it equal to 0, make the boarder go to the left edge of the stage. I can set it to 500 and move the character to the right. Another position property is Y, which controls the vertical position. If I set Y to 500, the boarder is at the bottom of the stage. If I set Y to 0, the boarder goes to the top. Finally, I would like to show you rotation, which allows you to, obviously, rotate an object, but keep in mind this is not animated rotation; this is just simply modifying the rotation property.

So I will set the value to 45, and you can see the boarder is rotated 45 degrees. You can go to -45. And keep in mind that values for rotation are between -180 and +180. Also, position and rotation are all relative to the registration point of the object. See here that the cross is at the top left of my movie clip. Let's say I were to create another movie clip. I will just take this trashcan and go Modify > Convert to Symbol, and this opens a Convert to Symbol dialog, which allows you to set the registration.

The default is top-left, but you can also set it to the center, the bottom-right or wherever you want. For the most part, you're going to want to keep registration at the top-left, but if you're ever going to rotate an object using ActionScript, especially if you are going to animate the rotation, you might want to have the object's registration point to be in the center. So, that's the XY origin of an object when you create it as a symbol. I am going to cancel out of that menu now. So wherever the registration point is, you can still manipulate the object using dot syntax. So to review, dot syntax allows you to manipulate objects by using a dot after the object's name, which opens the Code Hinting window for easy access to all the object's properties.

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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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