Adobe Flex 3.0 For Dummies 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
Develop interactive applications without worrying about browser differences
Flex lets you leverage the power of Adobe's ubiquitous Flash technology to build large applications. If you're eager to create Flex apps and you've written code in any language, this book will get you started, introduce you to Flex Builder and the Flex framework, and have you building some really flashy stuff before you know it!
Discover how to:
Use the event model
Work with ActionScript® and MXML
Create, run, and debug a project
Build simple user interface controls
Set up data binding
Explore styling and skinning
About the Author
Deepa Subramaniam is a Computer Scientist working on the Flex Framework team at Adobe. She joined Macromedia/Adobe in 2003, straight out of University of California, Berkeley where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science (Go Bears!). Deepa joined the early efforts that culminated in Flex 1.0 and has been working on Flex ever since. She might be described as one of the most enthusiastic Flex team members and is thrilled to be working with such bright engineers on such a cool product. Deepa is an active member of the Flex community, often speaking at large Flex and RIA conferences like Adobe MAX and 360|Flex. You can learn more about Deepa at her Web site, which includes her popular Flex blog, at www.iamdeepa.com.
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While most likely regarded as a beginners book, there is probably plenty here for a moderately experienced developer to work with. Chapter 16, on Custom Components and Component Architecture has been invaluable while trying to build more complex components.
As Flex grows in popularity, there are more and more resources popping up. While this is great, it is also becoming more difficult for developers to sift through it all and find the answers to their questions - Flex 3.0 for Dummies can provide many of these answers... on your REAL desktop.
With so much Flex knowledge in their heads, can this really be a book for dummies? Yes, it can. I'll prove it with a quote from the book. In Chapter 16 (Custom Components and Component Architecture), Doug and Deepa explain how to make a custom component in MXML, not ActionScript. You'll find this little gem in the "Choosing between MXML and ActionScript" section:
"Because creating ActionScript components is an advanced topic (we could write a book on it!), we cover only MXML components in this chapter."
They know their audience and thankfully take it easy on them. The writers gives a taste of Flex's greatness, without getting too deep into all the complex magic that happens behind the scenes.
Anyone looking to get up to speed on Flex would do good to pick this up. After you get comfortable with the basics, go check out the authors individual blogs for more advanced information.
I took my copy of the book into the office, where it was rather quickly "borrowed" by a coworker. I'll likely have to buy another copy just to have at home, where no one can "borrow" it. :)
I want to be clear that I know Doug and Deepa on a personal level. They speak at my conferences and participate in my user group. Does this make my review biased? No. Instead, it gives me insight into their personalities. It helps me understand why they spent so much of their precious time to make life easier for those just getting started with Flex vs those advanced enough to find their own way. Although, I say they still should write an advanced book. If they get started now, it should be done when the buyers of this book are ready for something a bit more advanced.
The examples could be helpful as reference but are difficult to find and review making them useless as reference. I will add this to the bottom of my closet and forget about it for years to come.
If you want to actually know how to use Flex Builder 3 and be able to write the king of Rich Internet Applications that you are undoubtedly dreaming of - I highly recommend this book. It's more Expensive but absolutely worth it.
Adobe Flex 3: Training from the Source
Maybe this unparalleled clarity and quality is because one of the authors is part of the Adobe Flex team or maybe it is just because the other author is one of the most prolific, dynamic, sought after Adobe Flex developers. Either way, this book will get you up to speed on Adobe Flex development.
The book develops in a clear, uncluttered style for which the Dummies franchise is known. Also, scattered through the writings at appropriate times are callouts for Tips, Points to Remember, Technical Details and Warnings. These features will help you retain important parts of the teachings by reinforcing the principles.
My top two favorite parts of this book were Part 5 "Exploring Advanced Flex Topics" and Part 6 "The Power of Tens". This book is worth the cover price if only for those two chapters.
In short, if you want to learn to program using the Adobe Flex framework, or want to be more proficient at programming with the Adobe Flex framework, order this book.
Top international reviews
The downloadable examples are just snippets and the book does not descibe haw to incorporate them into a project.
Chapters 1,2 & 3 regarding Flex Builder are repetitive.
Chapter 4 introduces several concepts that have no examples and are not refered to again.
The integrated debugger is only touched on even though it is invaluable for debugging remote data connections.
I shall use the Adobe online tutorials and buy a Flex reference book.