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Flex on Rails: Building Rich Internet Applications with Adobe Flex 3 and Rails 2 1st Edition
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About the Author
Tony Hillerson is a Software Architect for EffectiveUI. He graduated from Ambassador University with a BA in MIS. On any given day, he may be working with Flex, Java, Rails, Maven, Ant, Ruby, Rake, Capistrano, or shell scripts. Tony maintains RubyAMF, a Rails plug-in that allows Flex applications to pass AMF messages to and from Rails. Tony has been a speaker at 360Flex, Adobe MAX, and RailsConf, as well as local user groups. In his nonexistent free time, Tony enjoys playing the bass, playing World of Warcraft, making electronic music, brewing beer, learning Latin, and studying philosophy. Tony lives outside Denver, Colorado with his wife and son, Titus.
Daniel Wanja, a native of Switzerland, currently lives in Denver, Colorado. He has lived in Denver for more than six years with his wife and three children, ages 5, 3, and 5 months. Daniel is a dynamic, skilled enterprise software architect and developer with over 20 years’ experience. He has worked in the banking, insurance, and high-tech industries around the world delivering mission-critical software. Daniel is president and part owner of two Flex and Ruby on Rails consulting agencies, Nouvelles Solutions, Inc., in Denver, http://n-so.com, and ProDesign Sarl in Geneva, Switzerland, http://prodesign.ch. Daniel started the http://onrails.org blog on Ruby on Rails and related matters in 2005.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
In 2004 yet another framework for making websites appeared. It was called Ruby on Rails, and when web and enterprise developers who had never heard of Ruby before started to work with it, they discovered that it wasn’t like all the others. Why?
Rails offers the promise of fewer configuration files, less boilerplate code, less red tape, and, most of all, the promise of having fun again while programming. Rails was designed to make development more about getting common development tasks done by following conventions, not offering endless flexibility for the remote possibility of connecting up with any number of hypothetical legacy back-ends sometime in the future. By taking away unnecessary choices and offering simple solutions for common problems, Rails lets developers focus on writing applications, and developers have paid Rails back in accolades and adoption.
Flex and Rails developers haven’t crossed paths that often, but more and more as the word gets out about each technology, developers want to know what these two are about. Having worked for years with both Flex and Rails, we believe that both have something powerful to offer developers who want to build desktop-like functionality into web apps quickly, in a team environment, with the ability to be agile and react to the ever-changing requirements of building and delivering an application to the web.
Audience for This Book
?Chances are you're reading this introduction to figure out if this book is for you. Have a look at these "stories" and see if any of them sound familiar.
?Worked with Java for years: Struts, EJB, Spring, all that. Then discovered the joy of working with Rails and hasn’t looked back.
Edge Rails? Is there any other kind?”
Jill—Java to Flex Convert
Worked with Swing and understands desktop applications. Got into “The Web” and did lots of J2EE. Loves Flex for the ability to build desktop-like functionality on the web, usually in front of J2EE back-ends.
GridBagLayout? What were they thinking?”
“I love working with Flex, but I’m getting a little tired of all the work it takes to set up the back-end with Java. Enterprise software is great when I need the flexibility of all that configuration, but what about when I have a straightforward model and I just want it to work? There’s got to be an easier way.”
Has done lots of design work and building of interfaces with Flash. Has built websites with PHP and also integrated PHP back-ends with Flash.
“I don’t skip intro, I make intro”
“I know what I can do in Flash, and I know how to feed Flash UIs with data from PHP. I’d really like to see what this Flex thing is all about though, since I’m not always building timeline animations. I’ve also heard a lot about Rails and how easy it is to get a back-end up and running.”
If any of these stories sound a bit like you, then this book is for you. Rails and Flex have both revolutionized the way we develop web applications on both the front- and the back-ends.
Developers who have found Rails and left the world of enterprise framework stacks behind would very rarely willingly go back to the slow development cycles and bloated boilerplate code they had to endure. Flex developers have found the declarative XML language much cleaner and less crufty than HTML and able to do things like 3D and video that would be impossible without Flex.
Of course, there are the normal disclaimers. Rails isn’t for every project and neither is Flex. David Heinemeier Hansson wrote about PHP in a blog post (http://www.loudthinking.com/posts/23-the-immediacy-of-php):
I’ve been writing a little bit of PHP again today. That platform has really received an unfair reputation. For the small things I’ve been using it for lately, it’s absolutely perfect. . . .
For the small chores, being quick and effective matters far more than long-term maintenance concerns. Or how pretty the code is. PHP scales down like no other package for the web and it deserves more credit for tackling that scope.
And the same goes for Flex. HTML doesn’t need to be compiled and needs no special tools besides the ubiquitous browser to view it, whereas Flex needs a compiler and the Flash Player. However, when you find yourself with a medium to large web project with a database back-end, working with a team on a set of complex forms, rich visual interactions, video integration, 3D features, or a very large set of views, then Flex and Rails make a great choice.
The Flex and Rails story has a lot to do with discovering the integration capabilities and learning the ins and outs of making them talk to each other. We’ve gone a bit beyond that, though, and tried to assemble enough information about the next steps, common tasks, and how-to’s that developers will want to know about sooner or later.
We thought that, for the most part, Flex developers who have never used Rails will want to learn some of the features that they’ll run into during integration, but also during daily work. Likewise, developers who are already familiar with Rails will want to know a bit more abou...
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I was actually waiting to read the book Enterprise Flexible Rails, but as you can see, the book will not be published.
*Firstly, I would like to appreciate the authors for the sample code published in GitHub. They are ready to serve and very well organized.
*It has a right combination of addressing Flex and Rails. This book can sure help you to build enterprise level Flex based application with Rails backend.
*Got lots of tips, collections and receipes that you may not find easily in Internet
*Chapter 8 is very useful in getting an overview of Cairngorm and PureMVC, and the sample codes were also driven with it.
*Has a detailed Chapter on Testing using Fluint, something that is important for developers who loves TDD/Agile
*One thing I very much liked the quality of the sample codes, it address common use-case, well structured. Best of all, the authors updates the code at their blog [...]
*While the first part of the book gives conceptual details & foundations, the second part of the book gives useful recipes. Especially Authenticating, server push with Juggernaut, File Upload and so on.
*Finally, its worth buying.