Learning Flex 3
Getting up to Speed with Rich Internet Applications
Publisher: O'Reilly Media / Adobe Dev Library
Released: June 2008
Pages: 304

How soon can you learn Adobe Flex 3? With this book's unique hands-on approach, you will be able to tinker with examples right away, and create your own Rich Internet Applications with Flex within the first few chapters. As you progress, you learn how to build a layout, add interactivity, work with data, and deploy your applications to either the Web or the desktop.

Learning Flex 3 offers step-by-step instructions that are clear and concise, along with tips and tricks that author Alaric Cole has gathered after years of using Flex and teaching it to fellow developers at Yahoo! You'll understand how Flex works, how to use the MXML markup language and work with ActionScript, how to deploy RIAs to the desktop using Adobe AIR, and much more.

Whether you're a beginner, or an experienced web developer coming to Flex from another platform, Learning Flex 3 is the ideal way to learn how to:

  • Set up your environment with FlexBuilder and Eclipse
  • Create a new Flex project
  • Use the different design views in Flex
  • Write code with MXML
  • Lay out your Flex application
  • Embed images and graphics
  • Build a user interface
  • Add interactivity with ActionScript
  • Handle user input
  • Move, display, and collect data
  • Add custom components with MXML
  • Add sound effects, filters, and transitions
  • Style your applications with CSS, skins, and themes
  • Deploy applications to the Web, or to the desktop using Adobe AIR

Also included are brief explanations of objects, classes, components, properties, methods, types, and other Flex attributes. You will find that Learning Flex 3 is not only the most complete tutorial for Flex, it's also the quickest way to get going with the latest version of this powerful framework.

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oreillyLearning Flex 3
 
4.3

(based on 3 reviews)

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Learning Flex 3 - Great Book!

By Gunnar Hillert

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Learning Flex 3:

Learning Flex 3 by Alaric Cole is a great introductory book for Adobe Flex 3. If you have some basic experience with HTML, JavaScript and CSS, then you will learn the basics of Flex rapidly using this book as a guide. Some of the areas that are taught are:

* How to use Flexbuilder

* Using MXML

* ActionScript 3

* Styling your application using CSS

However, if your professional background is in web-application development using Java or other OO languages, then you are probably more likely to skip or cross-read sections of the book. This is because the book starts out with practically no initial pre-requirements, and thus you might be familiar with some of the discussed areas.

The book gave me an excellent overview of Flex's capabilities, and they are all explained thoroughly and are easily understandable. Also, this may sound silly, but I particularly liked the refreshing fact that the book is in color, unlike most other IT books.

Furthermore, the book explained Data Binding (Chapter 7) very well. This is something I was not familiar with coming from the Java world. The chapter illustrates the concepts of one-way binding, two-way binding and making your own variables "bindable" using a metadata declaration, which is basically an annotation in Java parlance.

Another feature I liked a lot was View States (Chapter 12), which allows you to rearrange, group and reuse components within your application.

I wish the book provided more information for further reading. I understand that certain concepts are beyond the scope of this book, but it would have been nice if those had been mentioned and links or recommendations for further reading were provided.

For example, while AMF is mentioned on page 8 and on page 157 the book briefly talks about the Webservice and RemoteObject component, the book should have also mentioned BlazeDS as one of Flex's core technologies for communicating with back-end servers.

And for more complex applications, the book could have at least pointed out some of the available MVC frameworks for Flex and some pointers of where to read more about them (E.g. Cairngorm and PureMVC). Well, and then there is Degrafa, the declarative graphics framework...

While the author explains the aspects of using CSS in Flex applications very well, he could have further stressed that Flex uses a subset of CSS, which in certain areas behaves differently compared to CSS you more typically use in HTML pages. He should have enumerated some of those pitfalls.

Having said all this, these issues mentioned above are minor in nature. Overall, the book was a fun read! And particularly to Java web-developers, Flex may very well be THE contender for application user interfaces moving forward. One of the great things about Flex is that even the standard components look very good (and should be good enough to please your boss), and your application looks and behaves consistently across various browsers. Oh, and yes you can run the same application on the desktop as well (Chapter 15).

This book will definitely help you learn and master Flex, and you should be able to produce functional user interfaces quickly. In order to learn more about integrating Flex with your Spring powered back-end you may want to also consider looking at "Pro Flex on Spring" by Chris Giametta.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Excellent book, not just for Flex beginners, but for beginners in web development as well

By Ivan Ilijasic

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Learning Flex 3:

Since I am a senior web developer with solid knowledge of Flex technology, I wanted to see does this book offers a good overview of Flex environment and can my partners use this book to teach junior developers about Flex.

I was really suprised how this book is easy to read. It contains almost everything you need to start working with Flex. And what is really unique for this book is the approach of the author. The whole book is written in a way that almost anyone can understand the materials - even the absolute begginers in web development.

Alaric Cole really gave an effort to describe everything that you need to know about Flex basics and his effort to describe some basic models of development. I was really suprised when I've seen the explanation of coordinate system in the first chapter.

Handling and binding data, adding behaviors and styles, working with states, working with components - all these topics are presented in a way to give beginners a overview how to create solid rich internet applications with good interface and 'look and feel'.

What would be nice to see in the book is how to work with server-side technologies, how to create a simple HTTP service with AMF, maybe to give more examples how to work with custom components, item renderers, how to implement custom drag & drop functionality.

Still, this book is an excellent choice for all 'want-to-be' developers and all web developers who want to learn about Flex technology in a good and in a quick way.

 
4.0

Good stuff, leaves me wanting more...

By Upekrithen

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Learning Flex 3:

This is great work, explaining for the truly uninitiated many concepts and products that are integral, (or at least adjacent), to programming with Flex builder 3.

Only issue is that it doesn't address using the Coldfusion CFC wizard to connect the data bindings to a backend database. Since that is the reason I bought the book, (for a step-by-step example) that is disappointing. On the other hand, only nine chapters currently exist (of 14 chapters referenced in the book itself) so I'll keep my fingers crossed.

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