It’s not like me to obsess over something I cannot have (OK, so it’s exactly like me to obsess over something I cannot have), but lately I’ve been whining that a hard-copy language reference has yet to be published for the now well-established ActionScript 3 language. Apparently, other developers have also been waiting for such a book, and today I finally decided to do something about it.
But good lord, what have I actually done?
Behold the 2,603-page ActionScript 3.0 Language Reference (and for comparison’s sake, its puny 1,028-page ancestor, the ActionScript 2.0 Dictionary):”
Yep, it’s the entire Language Reference — compiled and pulled from the Flash CS3 help files with the help of a custom script — and it’s freaking huge. I now understand the reluctance on the part of commercial publishers: This thing is unwieldy at best. Using almost three reams of 20-pound copy paper (front and back), two 800-sheet three-ring binders and a vast majority of the stock toner cartridge in my new Brother HL-5250DN laser printer (which rocks, by the way — full duplexing for less than $200), it took way more time and effort than any sane person should spend on such a project (And sadly, I’m not counting the time I spent writing Perl code to format the pages more to my liking before pouring them into Adobe Acrobat Professional for final compilation into a single volume).
Unlike past versions of Flash, I don’t think anybody can complain that the documentation hidden away in the online help files of Flash CS3 is incomplete. If it is, I’m not even sure I care.
So now that the papercuts are healing and the hole-punch confetti covers my workdesk, you’re probably wondering: Will I ever actually use this tome in my daily workflow?
I’d like to believe I will, simply because I have to think I was justified in compiling it. But on the other hand, now that I’ve got the whole thing out of my system, there’s something telling me a guy could get accustomed to this new-fangled, online HTML language reference, after all.