You can think of events as occurrences of any kind in your SWF
file that are of interest to you as a programmer. For example, most
SWF files support user interaction of some sort—whether it's something
as simple as responding to a mouse click or something more complex,
such as accepting and processing data entered into a form. Any such
user interaction with your SWF file is considered an event. Events
can also occur without any direct user interaction, such as when data
has finished loading from a server or when an attached camera has
3.0, each event is represented by an event object, which is an instance
of the Event class or one of its subclasses. An event object not
only stores information about a specific event, but also contains
methods that facilitate manipulation of the event object. For example,
when Flash Player or AIR detects a mouse click, it creates an event
object (an instance of the MouseEvent class) to represent that particular
mouse click event.
creating an event object, Flash Player or AIR
which means that the event object is passed to the object that is
the target of the event. An object that serves as the destination
for a dispatched event object is called an
For example, when an attached camera becomes active, Flash Player dispatches
an event object directly to the event target, which in this case
is the object that represents the camera. If the event target is
on the display list, however, the event object is passed down through
the display list hierarchy until it reaches the event target. In
some cases, the event object then “bubbles” back up the display
list hierarchy along the same route. This traversal of the display
list hierarchy is called the
You can “listen” for event objects
in your code using event listeners.
functions or methods that you write to respond to specific events.
To ensure that your program responds to events, you must add event
listeners either to the event target or to any display list object
that is part of an event object’s event flow.
Any time you write event listener code, it follows this basic
structure (elements in bold are placeholders you’d fill in for your
// Actions performed in response to the event go here.
This code does two things. First, it defines a function, which
is the way to specify the actions that will be performed in response
to the event. Next, it calls the
of the source object, in essence “subscribing” the function to the
specified event so that when the event happens, the function’s actions
are carried out. When the event actually happens, the event target
checks its list of all the functions and methods that are registered
as event listeners. It then calls each one in turn, passing the
event object as a parameter.
You need to alter four things in this code to create your own
event listener. First, you must change the name of the function
to the name you want to use (this must be changed in two places,
where the code says
). Second, you must specify
the appropriate class name of the event object that is dispatched
by the event you want to listen for (
in the code),
and you must specify the appropriate constant for the specific event
in the listing). Third, you must call the
on the object that will dispatch the event (
this code). Optionally, you can change the name of the variable
used as the function’s parameter (
in this code).
Important concepts and terms
reference list contains important terms that you will encounter when
writing event-handling routines:
Bubbling occurs for some events so that a parent display
object can respond to events dispatched by its children.
The part of the event flow in which an event propagates up
to parent display objects. The bubbling phase occurs after the capture
and target phases.
The part of the event flow in which an event propagates down from
the most general target to the most specific target object. The
capture phase occurs before the target and bubbling phases.
Some events include a behavior that normally happens along with
the event, known as the default behavior. For example, when a user
types text in a text field, a text input event is raised. The default
behavior for that event is to actually display the character that
was typed into the text field—but you can override that default
behavior (if for some reason you don’t want the typed character
to be displayed).
To notify event listeners that an event has occurred.
Something that happens to an object that the object can tell
other objects about.
When events happen to an object on the display list (an object displayed
on the screen), all the objects that contain the object are notified
of the event and notify their event listeners in turn. This process
starts with the Stage and proceeds through the display list to the
actual object where the event occurred, and then proceeds back to
the Stage again. This process is known as the event flow.
An object that contains information about a particular event’s occurrence,
which is sent to all listeners when an event is dispatched.
The object that actually dispatches an event. For example,
if the user clicks a button that is inside a Sprite that is in turn
inside the Stage, all those objects dispatch events, but the event
target is the one where the event actually happened—in this case,
the clicked button.
An object or function that has registered itself with an
object, to indicate that it should be notified when a specific event
The point of the event flow at which an event has reached
the most specific possible target. The target phase occurs between
the capture and the bubbling phases.