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Adobe Flex 2: Training from the Source

Part of the Adobe Training from the Source series, the official curriculum from Adobe, developed by experienced trainers. Using project-based tutorials, this book/CD volume is designed to teach the techniques needed to create sophisticated, professional-level projects. Each book includes a CD that contains all the files used in the lessons, plus completed projects for comparison. This title covers the new development framework for Rich Internet Applications, Adobe Flex 2. In the course of the book, the reader will build several Web applications using Flex Builder and incorporating MXML and ActionScript 3.0.

It's just a few short years since Macromedia coined the term rich Internet application. Back then, the idea felt somewhat futuristic, but all that has changed. rich Internet applications (or RIAs, as we affectionately refer to them) are reality and they are here right now.

Macromedia released Flex a couple of years ago, making it possible for developers to write applications that take advantage of the incredibly prevalent Flash platform. These applications don't just look great; they also are truly portable, can be fully accessible, and (most importantly) dramatically change the end user experience replacing the page request model of the web to something far more elegant and usable. Something richer.

Numerous organizations have discovered the benefits of Flex and have successfully built and deployed applications that run on top of the Flash platform. The highest profile of these is Yahoo!, which created the next generation of Yahoo! Maps in Flex. But despite the early Flex successes, Flex 1 was most definitely not a mass market product. Pricing, tooling, deployment options, and more meant that Flex 1 was targeted specifically for larger and more-complex applications, as well as for more-sophisticated developers and development. But this has now changed.

Now part of the Adobe family, Flex 2 was released mid 2006a brand new Flex with a new integrated development environment (IDE), new pricing, new deployment options, a new scripting language, and a brand new Flash Player too. Flex 2 is most definitely a mass market product, designed to bring the values and benefits of RIAs to all developers.

Getting started with Flex is pretty easy. MXML tags are easy to learn (especially when Flex Builder writes many of them for you). ActionScript has a steeper learning curve, but developers with prior programming and scripting experience will pick it up easily. But there is more to Flex development than MXML and ActionScript.

There are many things that need to be understood to be a successful Flex developer, including the following:

  • How Flex applications should be built (and how they should not)

  • Relationships between MXML and ActionScript, and when to use each

  • Various ways to interact with back-end data, and the differences between each

  • How to use the Flex components, and know how to write their own

  • Performance implications of the code they write and how it is written

  • Best practices to write code that is scalable and manageable and reusable (there is definitely more to Flex than MXML and ActionScript)

And this is where this book comes in. Matthew Boles, James Talbot, and Jeff Tapper (ably assisted by Benjamin Elmore and Michael Labriola) have distilled their hard-earned Flex expertise into a series of lessons that will jump-start your own Flex development. Starting with the basics and then incrementally introducing additional functionality and know-how, the author team will guide your journey into the exciting world of RIAs, ensuring success at every step of the way.

Flex 2 is powerful, highly capable, fun, and incredibly addictive, too. And Adobe Flex 2: Training from the Source is the ideal tour guide on your journey to the next generation of application development.

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