Preview: The Starling Handbook

Daniel Sperl on September 30, 2016

UPDATE May 2017: In the meantime, the Starling Handbook is available! Find out all about it here.

Do you know the feeling? When you’re extremely familiar with a library or framework, it suddenly steps out of the way, allowing you to focus completely on your actual application. That’s when you become truly efficient as a developer.

With the project I’m introducing today, I want to make you feel just like that when you work with Starling.

The goal of the Starling Handbook: to provide you with a one-stop-shop that contains every bit of information a Starling developer needs. Whether you are a raw recruit or you have been around since the very first beta — The Starling Handbook should have you covered.

Alas, I can’t offer you the book yet; it’s still in the works! However, the project has advanced far enough that I can give you a sneak peek.


Here’s an overview of the main parts of the book:

  1. Getting Started: An overview of Starling and the technologies it builds upon, as well as the available tools and resources. At the end, you will have your first “Hello World” example up and running.

    Topics: Adobe AIR, What is Starling, recommended IDEs, Hello World

  2. Flappy Starling: In this chapter, we are going to jump (flap?) right into the development of an actual game. Along the way, you will get a peek at Starling’s basic concepts.

    Topics: Organizing the code, scrolling, animations, basic physics, collision detection

  3. Basic Concepts: Starling is built around several basic concepts that are designed to complement and extend each other. Together, they provide you with a set of tools that empower you to create any application you can imagine.

    Topics: Display Programming, Textures vs. Images, Dynamic Text, Event Handling, Animation, Filters

  4. Advanced Topics: Armed with the knowledge you’ve acquired in the previous chapters, you are already well equipped to start using Starling in real projects. However, there are techniques and strategies that can make your life easier.

    Topics: Asset Management, Context Loss, Performance & Memory Optimization, Custom Rendering

  5. Mobile Development: Developing for mobile platforms can be extremely challenging: there is a plethora of different device types around, featuring a multitude of screen resolutions and CPUs that range from “pocket calculator” to “workstation”.

    Topics: Native Extensions, supporting multiple resolutions, device rotation, an introduction to _Feathers_

  6. Pro Tips: This chapter contains a number of cookbook-like recipes that may help you out in different situations.

    Topics: Avoiding ATF artifacts, multitouch gestures, replacing _cacheAsBitmap_, particle systems, light effects, water reflection, AOT vs. JIT compilation, …

Are you interested in a preview? I compiled some of the available content into a PDF file, so you can take a look!

You’ll be able to see a significant part of the Flappy Starling chapter (my personal favorite), as well as a thorough introduction to Starling’s Event System. Click on the link below to download it right away!

Download Preview

Format & Price

The book is going to be available in all popular e-book formats, perfect for your smart phones, tablets, e-readers, etc. Maybe there will also be a classic paperback edition; I haven’t decided on that yet.

This is the first time (well, except for Flox) that I’m offering a paid product in connection with Starling. Let’s say I want to finally give you guys a way of supporting the project financially and actually getting something in return! ;-)

However, I’ve got a special gift for all the people who donated something to Starling in the past: you’ll get the e-book for free — no matter how much you donated! [All donations up to September 29th, 2016 count.]

Get involved!

Please help me shape the Starling Handbook! What are the topics that would be most useful for you? What do you think of the sample chapters — do you like the style / is it easy to follow? I’m counting on your feedback, guys — thanks a lot in advance!

P.S.: As a side-effect of writing the book, there will also be a completely overhauled version of the classic Starling Manual. In fact, the manual is going to be a subset of the book, containing all the vital parts (much more than there is now).