Posted by nc.user in Coffee Lounge on Aug 27 2008, 05:11 am

I was wondering if there would ever be any books or has been any books, training, tutorials created, published for learning SWF Studio?

Trying to learn all this stuff is a pain in the ass, I am not exactly a programmers programmer and have been away from active coding for a year or more. Getting back into the fray of things is a bit daunting.

Has anyone created any tutorials or books on the subject yet?
I would be willing to pay for some really killer tutorials on how to use the software and create various projects in Flash CS3 and possibly Flex Builder v2. I mainly use Flash CS3 though.

I don't know what the market base is for SWF Studio, how big it is but if it is feasible I would be willing to help market such projects if anyone would be interested. I am more marketer than programmer but do both cause I really like it.

Well there you go. Wouldn't be bad advertising for Northcode either I wouldn't think. LOL

Ok, well either way I much prefer video with full code examples to follow along with.

If there isn't and noone is interested in creating anything like this then I will just go back to reading the help document and reading the forums.


Posted by northcode in Coffee Lounge on Aug 27 2008, 10:09 am

You may have noticed, but our marketing kung-fu is weak. We have the tools and knowledge necessary to create the tutorials but still have to actually sit down and build them. If you're interested in conspiring with us on the marketing front I'm sure there's some way we can help you too. Drop us an email or call us and we'll have a little chat :)

Posted by stephen harris in Coffee Lounge on Aug 27 2008, 08:08 pm

What a brilliant idea!
I have long thought SWF Studio is an excellent product but the learning curve is so steep for people like me.

Posted by AGo in Coffee Lounge on Aug 28 2008, 02:45 am

What would you expect from a book?
Or from tutorials?

Now I talk from a programmer´s background so i might just miss the important points, but seriously I don´t think the learning curve for especially SWF Studio is too high.

If you know the basics of Flash and AS programming I can´t see which major pitfalls there would be in writing SWF Studio code.

The helpfile is IMHO pretty solid and the forums are usually a source of very good help resources as well. I can´t really see a market for a SWF Studio book. or what $user would expect to find in such a book.

I mean, there are lots of books on Flash and AS, but they mostly discuss the UI of Flash and introduce in design / programming patterns.

There are IMO only very few patterns that would only apply to RDAs and even less that only apply to SWF Studio. Grab a good book on OOP and you´d be all set.

That beeing said I´d be happy for any enlightening and might even contribute ;)

Posted by northcode in Coffee Lounge on Aug 28 2008, 03:27 am

A conventional book on SWF Studio would be like writing a book about any other general purpose tool, a useful reference for beginners and mostly useless to advanced users. We did write a book, we just put it in the form of a searchable CHM file.

One idea I've been kicking around is to convert the help to PDF format and self-publish it at a site like LuLu. All our help is in a custom XML format that we can publish to multiple targets (HTML, CHM, Flash help, etc). I don't think it would be a huge job to add PDF output to our publish process.

What we definitely need are tutorials aimed at users who need help wrapping their heads around how SWF Studio works. I see a need for tutorials at all levels from beginner to advanced.

Posted by stephen harris in Coffee Lounge on Aug 28 2008, 04:56 am

I can see AGO's point.
People like me can always find out how to do something by using the help files or by asking on the forum.
I have no idea how Studio works. Perhaps I don't need to.
However, natural curiosity means I would like to know.

Posted by nc.user in Coffee Lounge on Aug 28 2008, 05:28 am

There are actually quite a lot I would like to know myself about coding applications for SWF Studio. I have many ideas on tutorials and materials that could be created on a wide range of application subjects.

There is a wide range of levels that use Northcode products not everyone is a master programmer or flash expert. The help document is good for laying out the technical aspects of each feature but in my opinion a marketable product could very easily be created by expanding the examples.

I have quite a few books on Flash for flash 8, AS2, Flash CS3, AS3, OOP AS2 and AS3 as well as access to video trainings on same.

What I appreciate and I know many others do also is the case studies going from beginning explaining what makes up the project, explaining what each part of the code is and does and goes through the entire process from laying out the concept of the application through creating and having a completed project at the end. Though the key thing is clear explanation of what each and every part does and how it works together.

Yes I full learning process from beginning basic all the way through to completed project. For those with advanced understanding they can just skip into the code for those like me with basic almost hobby level there would be the full hand holding.

If you search through the forums you see many examples of people needing further explanation on features, coding help, specific explanations on making X work with Z etc...

The problem with strictly programmers full left brain think in code like AGO is that they come from the programming world and create tutorials geared to other programmers with the assumption that the people they are talking to have the same understanding they do.

I have quite a few books on OOP, AS 2 and 3 and Flash CS3 both from the program side "how to use it" as well as the animation side creativity and the programming side. Even with all these materials I still need help understanding things. Though like I said I am NOT the programmers programmer.

I have not had the time to explore the market yet and do full research on size etc but I do know that the market is bigger than what Northcode is currently targeting.

I come from a marketing entreprenuer background and work with people to help them develop products, market them and expand their branding etc etc.. companies, individuals, small business etc.. that is what I do in my "day job" thing.

I just really like Northcodes products and business, Tim has really stepped up and continues to for his customers and others in the market. Even competitors customers, which I got a kick out of. LOL But is really great and you don't see that really in business at least not from the competitors in this market anyway.

I will be willing to give my input on tutorials and help anyone bring a marketable product or help with tutorial creation as needed.

For the marketing of Northcode I do have some ideas, when I get some more time, next week probably I will give you a call Tim and we can discuss some ideas.

But yeah, I really like this community and if there is anything I can do give me a shout.


Posted by AGo in Coffee Lounge on Aug 28 2008, 01:07 pm

I didn't ment to be rude against "non-programmers" ;) I just wanted to point out that it is rather difficult for us "programmers" to see and understand the needs for topics on tutorials, and what you would expect from them.

So if you have any concrete topics you'd like to have covered in a tutorial I'm pretty sure we could work something out ;)

That being said, I'm probably not as competent as the Northcode guys when it comes to the actual realization about the SWF Studio wrapper itself (Player integration, communicating with the OCX, low-level WinAPI stuff...)
but I'd rate myself a quite experienced guy when it comes to actual application and plugin developlment for/with SWF Studio.
That beeing said, I'd surely need someone to correct my english ;)

Posted by stephen harris in Coffee Lounge on Aug 28 2008, 04:56 pm

Hate to admit it, but I don't know what "communicating with the OCX, low-level WinAPI" means.

Posted by AGo in Coffee Lounge on Aug 28 2008, 05:05 pm

These termes come into play once you get into how SWF Studio actually works.
All you see on the user side is that SWF Studio puts your swf somewhere safe into an exe and plays it without any dependencies.

But if you want to get an in-depth idea on how that actually is achieved, how the flash player is bundled, loaded with the SWF file and actually communicates with Windows and enables you to do all that magic stuff with the file system, registry, windows and so on, you´ll need to gather in-depth understandings of Active X (OCX) controls, the flash player itself, the SWF binary file format ( so called Bytecode, you´ll need at least basic knowledge), how basic Windows communications (WinAPI) works, how communication with your SWF works and so on, and that´s where those terms come into play.

As SWF Studio user you don´t need to be familar with that, just if you are curious about how things works

Posted by stephen harris in Coffee Lounge on Aug 28 2008, 05:25 pm

Exactly. But wouldn't it be nice if there was an easy reference guide to all this?
I'm not saying Northcode should do it. It probably wouldn't be worth their while.
But I'm always mystified where you guys get your knowledge. Finding out about ActionScript is relatively easy because there are good reference books.

Posted by AGo in Coffee Lounge on Aug 28 2008, 05:46 pm

Well, I guess that's where things become too complicated for "easy" literature.

Where it all starts is most likely the MSDN Library that's the ultimate compendium on anything WinAPIish, including all flavours of MS programming languages.

Based on that reference you can look into various WinAPI / C++/C# language references (just check amazon, the Microsoft Press books are usually among the best) or dig even deeper into "the real stuff" with the Windows Internals series. However that actually is a level that leaves the scope of pure programming and touches operating system university lectures.

That beeing said, it's all about gaining experience, making errors and learn from them, getting to know programming design patterns surely helps and is a need for any "serious" coder sooner or later.

Hope that set's you a bit on the right track.

After all, if it would be easy to code a tool like SWF Studio everybody would
do it, and NC's wouldn't be the only viewable and reliable solution for Windows, right? ;)

Posted by stephen harris in Coffee Lounge on Aug 28 2008, 06:35 pm

Well, seeing as I am already past middle age and there are so many things I want to learn apart from computing, I think I'll just remain happy to use the tool and not delve too deeply into how it works.

Posted by northcode in Coffee Lounge on Aug 28 2008, 11:28 pm

You don't necessarily need a low-level understanding of all the things that go on under the covers, but a good mental model of how everything fits together will definitely help you.

You rely on models to help you understand just about everything. You fit new facts into your model of the world every day to help you adapt to new situations and you do it without a second thought in most cases.

You need to twist your brain to think about software the same way. Once you understand something, you own it and it starts working for you instead of frustrating you.

Posted by stephen harris in Coffee Lounge on Aug 29 2008, 04:21 am

I agree with that. But how to get that low level understanding? I don't want to delve deep into the labyrinth of Microsoft specialist manuals.

Posted by nc.user in Coffee Lounge on Aug 29 2008, 06:00 am

QUOTE: from stephen harris;45254
...I don't want to delve deep into the labyrinth of Microsoft specialist manuals.

AMEN Brother! LOL

Yeah, the support and help in the forums ROCK and the examples on the site are very useful as well. When I get some more time I will go through and make a list of tutorials and ideas and post them here.

Posted by northcode in Coffee Lounge on Aug 29 2008, 12:12 pm

Exposing the hidden knowledge is where we come in. What we need to create a model that the beginners can grasp but that doesn't dumb things down to the point where it falls apart as you gain experience. This model becomes a common language we can build on to explain concepts in tutorials.

Posted by crustyclown in Coffee Lounge on Aug 30 2008, 03:13 am

books about niche products like SWF Studio are tough because they take quite a while to write and may require an expert to do so. in the meantime, the tool moves one or more versions ahead! the more detailed (and useful) it is the more the version/timing problem comes into play. a simple book could be produced faster but probably would have a much more limited appeal.

and, you have to wonder how big the market is for an SWF Studio book. for something like Flash there are enough Flash users out there that a decent $ can be made on a book that will only be purchased by a small % of users (and don't be fooled into thinking the Flash authors are getting rich cause for the most part they are not!) but a book on SWF Studio probably would not be purchased by enough people to make it worthwhile.

with that said, I personally tend to really like printed manuals for all products I use a lot so I'd buy pretty much anything written on SWF Studio!