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This is one of the first books to talk about Flash Catalyst and demonstrates an all-too-common mismatch between the marketing needs of the publisher and actual competency and focus of the writer. Despite the descriptions provided by Friends of Ed, very little is actually on the designer-developer workflow of Catalyst and Builder. Instead, the book (written by a well-respected ColdFusion developer) focusses on enterprise workflow particularly heavy in back-end technologies and real-time data integration.
UI designers and developers should look elsewhere for a true Catalyst and Builder workflow guide.
For example, instead of a standard informative introduction (i.e. how Catalyst and Builder work together), chapter one is a history of mainframes, servers, and an overview of backend technologies including AMFPHP, Zend, LifeCycle, and (of course) ColdFusion.
Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst are introduced later and both are included in the Workflow and Case Study chapters, but most of the actual example code is for realtime data integration. The author briefly mentions UI code and design material for the projects, but the content was omitted and remains inaccessible: neither the book nor the author's website provide the customary download links.
The last three chapters return to familiar ground for enterprise: managing RIA projects, frameworks, and best practices. Common fodder for programmers, but little to do with Flash Builder and practically nothing for Catalyst.
As a developer-designer (the natural beneficiary of a Catalyst-Builder workflow guide) I found this book to be misdirected and disingenuous - it's really written for ColdFusion developers wanting to get into Flex. A ColdFusion or enterprise programmer should write a review of this book. They could probably give it a much higher (or more accurate) rating.
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I'm a long time Flash Designer and Developer. I feel this book is geared towards server-side developers and Flex heads. I'm someone who learns from deconstruction and I had a hard time with some of the the examples on the Flash Builder side (since having no experience in Flex). However, the Flash Catalyst parts were helpful. It gave me some decent insight to how Flex/Flash Builder files are created. Like I said in my title this book is not for beginners. It would be nice if the downloads for the book were a bit more descriptive if they want to reach a broader audience, because thats how I see Flash Catalyst (Flash with no code!). I did get some insight on Best Practices concerning Flash Builder but I'm not quite advanced enough to use them in my day to day work yet. So if you are a Flex intermediate user you will probably get more out of this book than someone like myself who is more design/visually oriented. Beginners definitely flip through the book at B&N before you buy. :)
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