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Reader and Reviewer Comments

Lingo in a Nutshell & Director in a Nutshell

If you bought the book, please send me the postcard that you can tear out from the back of the book! Send it to:

Bruce Epstein
PO Box 223
Franklin Park, NJ 08223 USA

Below are comments from Director users of all levels who read draft copies of various chapters of Lingo in a Nutshell and Director in a Nutshell. The final versions are even better. All comments (except where noted) are genuine. No negative comments were received.

O'Reilly's site,, and the other major booksellers all let you post your reviews on-line. The good reviews will help me sell books, which will allow me to write more of them for you. The bad reviews will allow me to improve my books, which will allow me to write better books.

Regardless of where you purchase the book, please post your comments on O'Reilly's site or (using the links above) or send your comments to

(If you've read advanced copies of the book from the chapters on my site, I assure you that it has undergone major improvements and additions. It has more of the good stuff, and less of the not-so-good stuff, plus it has been thoroughly technically reviewed.)

Readers Rant!

"I admire the hell out of Lingo in a Nutshell" -- Fred Bals, 26 Jan 1999.

Actually, what Fred really said was: "While I respect your postings, and admire the hell out of Lingo in a Nutshell, I find it irritating that your recent posts seem to imply that if a Director bug doesn't impact you directly, then it's of little consequence to the world at large." [That's not what I said or meant to imply, but hey, I don't have an editor screening my posts to Direct-L. I was simply saying that D7 is pretty stable, despite some major bugs that make it unusable for a certain percentage of users. Caveat upgrador.]

"I bought your Lingo in a Nutshell". Nice book. I read at every my spare time." -- Changhsu Liu, 26 Jan 1999

"One of my Adv Authoring students showed me a copy of Lingo in a Nutshell". It looks really useful. There have been so many D6 books out that I have neglected to look at any recent pubs. (The diagram/illustration of the structure of a parent script was extremely useful. It visualized how I explain the concept to my students)." -- Michael Bashista, 25 Jan 1999

"~I have gotten very few postcards as of yet and am feeling very unloved." -- Bruce, 23 Jan 1999

"~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~love." -- shwa, 24 Jan 1999

"Lingo In A Nutshell is great, I can hardly wait for Director In A Nutshell". -- John Watkins, 23 Jan 1999

I bought your book just over a week ago! I'm not a programmer (by any means!), but fell in love with Director and am serious about learning Lingo! I loved your 'Owl' quote... 'chin up and all that sort of thing.' It has given me encouragement and happiness! Thanks!" -- Judith Peace, 20 Jan 1999

"I handed copies out to selected folks in our QA dept. I thought you'd like to see one response I got ..." -- Buzz Kettles, Macromedia, 18 Jan 1999

"Thanks so much for the Lingo in a Nutshell" book. This is awesome. I know how i will be spending my next few nights. Thank you!!!" -- Michelle Richards, Macromedia

"I have your book. Its reall good!" Jeff Callahan, 17 Jan 1999

"If you don't have it already, I would rush to purchase Bruce Epstein's Lingo in a Nutshell" from O'Reilly: definitely the best-value resource currently available for anyone working with Lingo IMHO. It's not a beginners' guide but anyone teaching would find it invaluable. Wish there had been stuff like this around when I first started teaching Lingo in 1993. Nice one Bruce!" -- Ian Phillips, 16 Jan 1999

"Although too late to require Lingo in a Nutshell" for this current quarter, I have strongly suggested it for my students to pick-up. They certainly can't complain about the price! I will be using Lingo in a Nutshell" & Director in a Nutshell" for future quarters though. Thanks for the great books." -- Tory Bennet, 14 Jan 1999

"This is the best book on Lingo I've ever seen! I have 9 Director/Lingo books and my co-worker has 3-4 others and as I am reading through LIAN, I have to say, as far as Lingo goes, there is no comparison." -- Judd Wheeler, 14 Jan 1999

"I can't put your book "Lingo in a nutshell" down. It's tremendous" -- Patrick Clancy, 10 Jan 1999

"diggin your book BTW. You're gonna give me a better career." -- Jason, 6 Jan 1999

"At the risk of stating the obvious, Lingo in a Nutshell" is probably the best book on Lingo I've seen, ever. Just picked it up at the local B&N. Congratulations Bruce. Out of the 20+ Lingo books on my shelf, this one wins hands down. For those among us here who don't have it yet: just go get yourself that belated Christmas present!" hens, 5 Jan 1999

"I have just bought Lingo in a Nutshell" which seems really complete except for D7" -- Phil 5 Jan 1999 [Well, it was published before D7 was released and is the only book on the market covering D6.5. Director in a Nutshell" will cover all the new D7 stuff -- BAE]

"I just recived Bruce Epsteins Lingo in a Nutshell". It is super. Soon to come is Director in a Nutshell, I guess in 1999." Joachim Cronquist, 5 Jan 1999

" I just got your book Lingo in a Nutshell" and it looks to be THE "bible" I've been looking for. Thanks. I'd definitely rate Lingo in a Nutshell" as one of the best books on its subject I've ever seen. It's headed for the shelf next to Danny Goodman's Javascript book. Thanks again!" -- Fred, 30 Dec 1998.

"This should be required reading for all of Macromedia's Director developer and support team. Certainly, much of this info is not in Macromedia's documentation." -- Jim Nevin, 29 Dec 1998

[At the request of Macromedia's head of technical support and head of QA, all Macromedia support engineers worldwide have received a copy.]

"Glad to hear Macromedia is buying the book for internal use -- they might want to pay particular attention to the sections marked 'turkey.' Anyway, good luck on the book -- I'll keep recommending it and will definitely be purchasing the Director in a Nutshell" when it arrives."-- Jim Nevin, 30 Dec 1998

"Bruce, I've been going through the Lingo in a Nutshell"; it's a great book. It's just exactly the book I wish I had when I was first learning. (Shh, Just between you and me, it's the best Director book I've seen.) I was very happy to stumble upon the documentation for UIHelper. [p. 426 in Chapter 17: Undocumented Lingo] One of my BIG complaints about Behaviors is that there was (to my knowledge) no way to search the data that you've enetered into behaviors. Well, using UIHelper, I just wrote a simple handler which allows you to specify a search phrase and it will systematically traverse your movie (doesn't even have to be running) and tell you where it finds any and all instances. Too cool!" -- Douglas Campbell, Dartmouth, 22 Dec 1998

[In D7, you can using the scriptList of sprite instead, BTW]

Recently received Lingo in a Nutshell"and I must say it's brilliant! Keep up the good work. Based on the above, I am now in the process of ordering Director in a Nutshell".  " -- Malcolm Wearing, 21 Dec 1998

"Hello I am writing to say that I bought your book the other day and I love it. I myself am still in school for Multimedia Communications. Over the past 8 months I have been cramming lingo into my head, and now I am at the point where I am the best in the school at it." Kenneth Medema, 20 Dec 1998

"Special note to Bruce: Although in some families it's a crime, I paid retail for your book and don't mind because it's awesome, nice job!" -- Larry Doyle, Cyberian Design, 18 Dec 1998

"I enjoyed the nature themed art...wacky. Couldn't easily find an "About the Author", but I'll look again later!" -- John F. Williams, 17 Dec 1998 [It's on Page 611 after the index]

"I've actually heard quite a LOT about your book, and I actually JUST started teaching Director again. I'm quite proud of you for your Nutshell book. I know your book seems to be doing well right now -- have heard the buzz that your Amazon sales are on the "hot" side. Its about F***ing time there was a Nutshell book for Lingo! We purchase books for all the Director classes, and I'd switch to your book for the advanced and Lingo classes sight unseen." -- Kathy Kozel, Instructor and Director Goddess, 17 Dec 1998

"Bruce, if you are considering writing a book on creating Xtras for Director in the style of Lingo in a Nutshell" you will succeed in greatly increasing the number of Xtra developers. People who have read your other books will buy!" Marton Takach, 17 Dec 1998

[Sorry, no book on Xtras development is planned at this time, but I cover a lot about using them in LIAN and DIAN. Send a note to (and cc: telling them that you want a Director Xtras book and tell them how much you'd be willing to spend on it. And encourage others to do the same. That is your best shot at seeing such a book come to fruition.]

"Hey dude, great job on the Lingo in a Nutshell" book, got it, love it, buying some more copies for co-workers. Thanks for your contributions to the Director community." Steve Hagenlock, 17 Dec 1998

"I downloaded some chapter of Bruce's one and I never felt that it was wrote in english." -- Birnou Sdarte

[Trust me it is a compliment. His first language is French.]

So you don't believe me? Okay, Birnou later wrote:

"Culture and [the] way to formulate stuff are sooo different accross country...I was saying, that I read it as clearly as if it was wrote in french... (I never felt that it was wrote in english) a more direct way "easy to read and understandable" Sorry if I offense you, it wasn't intend" -- Birnou. [His English is much better than my French anyway...]

"Hey Bruce, thanks for the Behaviour-Section of your Lingo in a Nutshell". It's a lovely reference." -- Andreas Asanger, DTP - Multimedia

I just bought the book Lingo in a Nutshell by Bruce Epstein. Its a great book. It gives the simple concepts behind all the diferent elements of lingo, which is usually all I need when I get bogged down. I recommend it." Mike Sanders, 15 Dec 1998

"Also, just purchased your book last week. Many thanks! It's the first Lingo book in two years that has something new to offer!" -- Matthew Kaplan 14 Dec 1998

"Book looks great ... hope to start using it later this week." John Oliver, 14 Dec 1998

"Kudos on the terrific book. It's a real handy reference guide during those all-nighters!" devin "rise4peace" arnold, 13 Dec 1998

"Very cheap (£12.06 including postage). Haven't read it yet as it only arrived this morning but certainly looks good!)" Elvina Flower, 12 Dec 1998

"I don't know if any of you have heard about this book <G>, but I finally got my copy today. At first glance, it appears to be outstanding! It's a real gold-mine for the money. Definitely a must-have book for Lingo programmers --no matter what your level of expertise (I've had it for an hour and I don't know what I'd do without it and its Enumerated Values table). Nice job Bruce! How about making your next Nutshell on how to write Xtras? :)" John R. Nyquist, Nyquist Art + Logic, 11 Dec 1998

"Just wanted to let you know that my copy of your book finally arrived from Amazon and has immediately jumped out at me as relevant and very worth my time. The opening sentences in Chapter 1 smacked me right upside the head: 'Do you really have time to read a book on Lingo when you're facing a deadline? The answer depends on how much time you waste struggling with Lingo and how often you've compromised your Director projects for lack of Lingo skills.' Man. It's as if you've been spying on my for three years ;-)" -- Jason Ettinger, 11 Dec 1998

[I have been, so you better watch out, you better not cry- BAE]

"I was wondering, can anyone recommend a quick and easy book to use for HTML? I am looking for something similar to the Lingo book out by Bruce but for HTML. My Lingo in a Nutshell book arrived last week, I am going through it now! Thanks for writing it." -- Donna Speckhard, 11 Dec 1998

[O'Reilly has a full line of books, including HTML: The Definitive Guide, and Webmaster in a Nutshell]

"I bought the book, not so much for me, I bought it for the other programmers who incessantly say 'Stephen, can I ask you a question?', which really means 'Stephen, could you stop what you're doing and come to my computer and help me?' Now, I can say 'Read the book, then call me.'" -- Stephen Ingrum, 10 Dec 1998

"I received your book from Cost was $19.91 including shipping. What a deal! Thanks for 1/2 of your brain-it has already been worth more than its purchase price to me." -- Tom Ketsdever , 09 Dec 1998

"I just purchased Lingo in a Nutshell", and I have to say it is a very complete reference and well written. The book is an excellent reference and answered a whole bag of questions." -- Ravi Singh, RavWare, 08 Dec 1998

"Just got the book in the mail today. I've had an advance order in at Amazon for months. *Very* impressive. I look forward to reading it in depth over the holidays. I like the areas that show how Director really works, not how it's supposed to work in the Macromedia literature. The undocumented Lingo section is also much needed. This blows the other Director books out of the water. One problem though, I got into Multimedia because it was more fun than Computational Linguistics (pays better, too). Now when I'm scripting, I'll be in danger of doing serious Computer Science...." -Eric Iverson, President, Zoetek Inc., 5 Dec 1998

"I had the chance to review Lingo in a Nutshell for a web site. I found Bruce's explanations accurate and very helpful for people with varying degrees of Lingo experience. I know his section on Director's text mechanics will undoubtedly help [struggling newbies]. Really great book BTW ... I can't wait to review Director in a Nutshell. " -- Cary Neufeldt, 26 Nov 1998

"Bruce, I like the books (Lingo in a Nutshell", Director in a Nutshell")...." -- Merrill Garcia , 24 Nov 1998

"Your book seems to be selling like hot-cakes out here in Seattle-we have made it required for all intermediate and advanced classes. Again- great book! I gave a copy to a director guy who said it was the first and only decent book on director ever written! The chapter on Behaviors is great. This is an advanced class - many are already into games with objects,etc. They are real tigers- they will love your book! I have listed your book in the syllabus as the book for the class, so we are commited! " - Loren Mork, Instructor, 8 Oct 1998

"You have provided us a very valuable service by putting together the book for the Director community, and that $20 is probably a bargain for a well thought out book on Lingo (many aren't, and don't provide much for Lingo experts). We appreciate the your hard work and dilligence on Lingo in a Nutshell. I am happy to support your efforts by buying the book. I certainly will." --Jade Zabrowski, 23 Nov 1998

"I was feeling kinda giddy yesterday when Bruce Epstein offered a tutorial showing the fundamentals of learning the Lingo language. Thanks Bruce. It looks good at first glance and the price for a Director book is downright cheap!" -- Jerry Davison, November 19, 1998

"I just bought the book Lingo in a Nutshell. It is the best lingo-reference I have ever read, and that for such a reasonable price." -- Jos van der Vleuten, 27 Nov 1998

"I am amazed that your book will be priced at $19.95. It will be the cheapest Director book on the market. I am used to paying $40. I called last night and ordered your text from Barnes & Noble and told them to order at least 6 copies for their shelves. I hope that Macromedia cuts a deal with you to trash their Lingo text that ships with the program and ship yours. I really think it was a great effort on your part and a much needed text. You are a real asset to Director and Lingo and one of the real players. If you are new to Lingo run, don't walk to your local bookstore and get a copy of "Lingo in a nutshell"" -- Thomas E.Szewc, 27 Nov 1998

"Very thorough. Covers detailed interactions and aspects of Lingo not found in other books." -- John Thompson, father of Lingo and Macromedia engineer.

"Only $20? All the struggling multimedia developers out there will set up altars in their studios to worship you, Bruce! <g>" -- Lisa Kushins (okay, so she was a tech editor and doesn't have to pay for the book)

"I've just started to browse through your draft, and already I have found out some things that have baffled me since I first picked up Director!" -- Josh N.

"I think your book is terrific. I have listed your book, in the syllabus as the book for the class. This is an advanced class - many are already into games with objects,etc. They are real tigers- they will love your book! I do not want to use anything else." -- Loren Mork, Instructor

"Read your Lingo in a Nutshell. It's GREAT !!!!!" -- Jack Shapiro, Cramer Productions

"I'd buy your book if I didn't spend all my money seeing Leo in Titanic 50 times." - Typical 15-year old girl that doesn't use Director.

"I will buy your books, both of them, definintely. And given the low price I will buy maybe 2 or 3 copies each! ;)" - Stefan Ladstätter

"It's exactly what the doctor ordered. I will be buying your Nutshell books (and asking for your autograph)" Patrick Milligan, Oakleaf Designs

"Even as a relatively seasoned Lingo coder, I'm looking forward to this publication as a definitive reference on all those things that are documented somewhere but just not all in one handy place (and certainly not in the Director docs!)." -- Eric Woods

"I teach around 100 students each quarter and I am sure my students will love your book for the substance as well as the price." -- Rupa Misra, Dept. of Multimedia , Art Institute of Philadelphia

"This is the book Iwas waiting for. It is great to read somthing that has been made by somebody who actually uses Director. It clear + fast + short reading=> enjoyable. I've bought many Director books. Yes, you are right--even if you think you know Director, you'll 'll learn new things." -- Jean-Philippe, dada media

"Your books are great. I like the inside views."-- Vlad Mitvalsky, Gaia InterMedia

"I just read through the first 5 chapters and all I can say is WOW. I like the style in which the book is written. Finally someone has taken an intelligent approach to writing a book on Director. I really feel what makes your book different is that it cut through the fluff. (I would put my level of Lingo on about 8.5 on a scale of 1- 10. My level of Director itself at about 9-9.5. I have been using Director since version 3.13). I teach a Director class part-time 2 nights a week here in Atlanta at The Art Institute of Atlanta and I would love to incorporate the book in the courses I teach. I have purchased a lot of different Director books and none of them will help me as much as I think yours will." -- Michael Greenberg, Carlson Leisure Group

"I'm very impressed with the depth and breadth, and appreciate the sometimes sarcastic tone. Lingo in a Nutshell is an extremely comprehensive, industrial-strength reference for serious Director/Lingo developers and those that hope to attain that stage. Bruce Epstein's approach addresses crtical (and often obscure to sublime) areas needed for developers to tackle real-world productions. It's at the top of my Director book heap." -- Alan Levine

"Tell me when the book is available. I look forward to deleting my Director Help files." -- Miles Lightwood

"I'm sure it's a work of genius." James Khazar of Macromedia's Instructional Media Dept. (James has never read the book).

"Thanks Bruce. It looks good at first glance and the price for a Director book is downright cheap!" -- Jerry Davison

"I have been reading the MUI Xtra chapter of Bruce's book, and it is quite good. He obviously investigated issues, and didn't just regurgitate the manuals and help system." -- John C. Ware, Macromedia Engineer and creator of the MUI Xtra.

"Overwhelmed as I was by the clear explanations and examples, I started playing with the MUI Xtra, instead of first thanking you. I apologize sincerely. I want more." -- Bart Pietercil

"So many Director/Lingo books seem to be about 400 pages thick and build up to how the paint window works at about page 300. Ugh. Your book looks different and for that I thank you!" --Kraig Mentor

"I already browsed through a chapter or two. Looks great!" -- Jan Fex

"Your book is good." - Cody Burleson (Cody was reading a partial draft and I think he'll agree that the final book is much better and much more complete.)

"I know the books will be well received!" - Jon Christopher Ashley, DIRECT-L listserv owner

"It was nice to see real-world advice [for the unwashed] like 'don't put a transition in a looping frame' in print" -- Heidi Berthiaume

"Don't write code without it" -- Irv Kalb, Nice guy and former Ultimate Frisbee World Champion (Irv hasn't read the book either)

"The biggest improvement would be having a picture of Gina Gershon on the back of the book." -- Ted Jones is enamored with the actress Gina Gershon. Gine Gershon is not a Lingo developer as far as I know.

Lingo in a Nutshell is destined to be a requirement for both new and experienced Director programers. In addition to providing comprehensive explanations of Lingo's structure and internals, the appendices group together vital reference data for that has never been documented before. Very complete, readable and informative. A must have for any serious Lingo programmer" -- Alex Zavatone, Head Linguist of DOUG (, and former Macromedia lead QA Engineer for Shockwave.

"It's really nice. Love the appendices. Provides a lot of things that developers want. Like all the Lingo errors and explanations of them. Also, the explanation of the "Why's" of lingo are
very very important. " -- Zav's unoffical comment.

"Very impressive! Amazing amount of detail you have gathered. The chapter on debugging shamed me into deciding to learn/use the debugger more than I have- never quite adopted that or the watcher." -- Roy Pardi, Director developer who runs the Boston Macromedia Users Group

"This book is far more useful than others I have seen because of the real-world experiences you have included. The examples are very helpful and the chapter prefaces are excellent." -- Robert Herman

"This is the first book that provides the under-the-hood details that benefit Director developers of all levels. More thorough and accurate than anything else on the market." -- Marc Canter, creator of Macromind Director. (Mark actually said, "Another Lingo book - huh? Does the world really need that?" but I convinced him to make up something more user-friendly. I'll report back if he changed his mind after actually reading the book.)

"A great piece of work. You should be very proud of that. I would describe it as "a Direct-L Killer". If it doesn't kill off all the questions it will at least cut down the bandwidth." -- Peter Small, Author of Lingo Sorcery, and Magic A-Life Avatars.

"I think the book looks quite good - VERY rich documentation - the community will thank you.
-Buzz Kettles, Macromedia engineer

"It's to-the-point and doesn't patronize the reader. The level of technical information is a worthy next step from the superfluity of introductory books - as such I think this book would complement theory-based books such as Peter Smalls' Lingo Sourcery. I enjoy being able to read a book through in its entirety, cover-to-cover, even if I later return to mull over certain sections. I certainly appreciate being able to escape from the PC to submerge myself in a readable book. The tables are on the whole excellent, and will provide an on-going source of reference for the reader whilst they don't disrupt the linear flow of the book" - Ian Russell

"Your book is excellent--I'll definitely buy a copy for reference when you publish!" -- Woody Chastain

"Your book is quite different from the Director manuals and has more substantial information on crucial issues. The manuals are not bad, but your book has a very different quality. In particular I enjoyed the many examples, they helped to clarify what would otherwise have been somewhat abstract discourse, and I expect that most readers will find this to be of great help. This will be truly helpful, even to readers more proficient in this technology than me. I congratulate you." -- Ulf Grenander, Brown University

"I really love the way you've integrated the code example and the explaination - I felt like - "Finally, someone gets it!" Also, I think your writing style has a really nice flow to it. I actually read your samples all the way to Newark, even though I had a juicy crime novel in my bag! Thanks!" -- Mystery Linguist

"It's all totally useful and easy to read. The charts of ASCII values, etc., are great for reference, and it's nice that most tables are integrated into the text rather than in an appendix, so the continuity of the subject isn't broken. I have discovered most things by trial and error it's good to hear another person's view without wading through "how to do it" stuff. [Instead] of superstitious beliefs...I now know why things happen." -- Cathy Sample, Phosphor Essence Ltd.

"I get the feeling that I could easily be in a college classroom listening to a professor. Your writing is informative and contains a unique whit about it. The reading is easy to follow along with and the separated notes/insights are a very nice touch and round out the thought you are expressing. The chapters seem nicely laid out as a reference for those using Director. I like the tables that show command and usage definition. The tables help me get a more concrete understanding on the information presented and serve as a nice reference to go back to." -- Chris Stewart, Media Directions Interactive

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