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Learning Flex 3: Getting up to Speed with Rich Internet Applications Paperback – Jun 26 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Adobe Developer Library; 1 edition (June 26 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596517327
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596517328
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 2.1 x 24.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 699 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,548,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Alaric Cole has been working with Flash technologies since the introduction of ActionScript. Once it came on the scene, he's been focused primarily on Flex development, creating enterprise applications with rich data visualization, interactive media, and advanced user interface components. Pushing Flex beyond its comfort zone, he has worked with Adobe to discover ways to improve the technology.

A leader in the industry, Alaric has spoken at conferences such as Adobe MAX and 360|Flex, and has contributed a number of open-source components to the Flex community. He uses Flex in his daily work at Yahoo!, leading development and consulting on projects across the company.

Inside This Book

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9ab0ba20) out of 5 stars 34 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a9384ec) out of 5 stars Good choice to get your feet wet with Flex Sept. 17 2008
By Tariq Ahmed - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The first thing that stood out is that it's in color! I love color, especially for technical material it adds a whole extra dimension to the medium and another vehicle by which to communicate. Obviously in code listings it makes the code easier to visually digest and mentally break down what you're seeing, and with screen caps color is so much more appealing.

The dimension of the book is wider that normal, which gives the book an extra wide gutter that the publisher is able to leverage. And leverage they do by making use of it for an assortment of side bars, notes, tips, and blurbs.

So aside from the aesthetics, content of course is the key. The book is aimed at beginners who don't necessarily have any sort of programming background - so the audience that this book would appeal to includes anyone interested in learning more about Flex and if it's the right fit for them; as a quick read (only 304 pages) you can blast through this book in a short amount of time.

Who might those people be? Developers wanting to test the waters with Flex because they had heard good things about it, Flash or Web media designers thinking about getting into the development side of things with Flex, and management level folks looking to explore new opportunities and want to get a barometer reading on what it would take to get into Flex, etc...

The writing style is fairly casual, and you feel like the author is talking to you (as opposed to the feeling of a manual). I think the author does a pretty good job at keeping things high level with enough meat to make the reader feel they're actually being productive as they work through the examples.

So I'd recommend this book to someone who wants to get their feet wet with Flex - someone who may not be fully committed to Flex at this point in time and doesn't want to invest a ton of time yet.

* Difficulty Level: Beginner
* Range of topics: Moderate
* Depth of topics: Light
* Development experience needed: None
* Reading Speed: Fast
* Writing Style: Casual
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a9388f4) out of 5 stars A great beginning to intermediate Flex 3 book Aug. 10 2008
By Ed_7 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've worked with Flash and ActionScript for a few years, but I'm new to Flex so I purchased three Flex books and I found this one to be the best one. I like how the author has you build smaller applications that work by themselves but also adds more features to them as the book progresses.

There are some minor code issues, but he answered my questions on his website which is one of the best book websites I've seen [...]. All of the source files and the working applications can be viewed on his site.

I also really enjoy the layout of the new Learning series that O'Reilly has been putting out (similar to the Learning ActionScript 3 book). The color coding and pictures are a nice change from the majority of black and white technical books.

Since the focus of this book is Flex and MXML, newer programmers will need to supplement this book with an ActionScript book once they start to build more advanced applications.

Highly recommended for those who are new to Flex.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a93896c) out of 5 stars This is it! Sept. 7 2008
By JT - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have started to read several Flex books in the past. I say "started", because I quickly lost interest. Many times I found myself scratching my head saying "Why would anyone ever do that?"

This book has been an amazing adventure. The examples are relevant, the writing is entertaining without being off topic, and best of all, within the first 5 chapters I knew enough to make a basic Flex website.

If you have some web design experience with html, and css, then I highly recommend this book!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a938cfc) out of 5 stars Great book for getting started. (but what does that mean) March 23 2009
By Robert K. Tribit - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me start off by saying I hate web coding. I hate it. I hate the browser issues, I hate the "hacks" to do something, I hate the whole thing. And as for Flash? Why am I putting action script into a frame, on a time line, to do what now? Things were great and simple when it was HTML 1.0 and CGI. I prefer C, assembly, and Perl, because it just works. Humbug.

However, this book gives me hope that it is worth while to get back in. This is what javascript should have been, this is what java applets should have been. This is Christmas morning for Web 2.0.

This book walks you through an explanation of the syntax of mxml and gives an adequate tool chest of techniques on how to go further and more importantly where you should begin looking. I find just knowing what vocabulary to use when I google will often lead me to other code examples, etc. This book gives you the lingo to start doing that and Mr. Cole seems to know what he is doing and acts and talks in a way that Flex documentation expects him to act and talk, all the while communicating clearly to someone who hasn't the foggiest idea what's the difference between a transition, state, filter or effect...and more importantly how do I use those to make awesome rockin' flash apps already.

I'm not an expert after reading this book. Neither will you be. But, Bravo to Mr. Cole for giving a crash course/overview on action script- assignment, classes, objects, methods, functions, etc. You'll be thirsting for more, and he breaks it down enough to let you know that there is somewhat of a serious programming language behind it.

Also, almost all of the examples are done completely within mxml but with the slightest hint of actionscript. Much better than other examples I've found where it wasn't clear to me what the mxml was doing and what the action script was doing. This book demonstrates the promise of what mxml provides, and that is rapid application development using mxml. Not only that the breadth of what is presented in this book is enough to start doing some real work. However, you'll need to hit up livedocs on adobe's site to go deeper and to get yourself in and out of trouble.

Just as a note: I was able to use Eclipse SDK, some software updates I found on the net, google code's xsd4mxml to trick out Eclipse, and the free flex3 sdk from adobe for all of the examples. Mr. Cole talks about FlexBuilder (a bit), but you don't need it which he readily admits. I did it this way, cuz' I'm cheap like that.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a938d2c) out of 5 stars Really good but not enough... Jan. 5 2010
By idBloc - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wanted to learn Flex 3 so I bought Learning Flex 3 on Amazon.com to learn from scratch. This post is a review of the book.

This is my first book about learning a technology. It means that I am a beginner about getting knowledge from a book and also reading a complex technical book in english.
I am not going to review the spelling of the book but to express the possibility of improvement of the content.

[+] Colorful and clear pages
[+] Easy to read for beginners
[+] Go through a lot of knowledge...
[-] ... and not enough sometimes
[-] Start to be complex after some chapters
[-] Bad use of words resulting in frustration

[+] Colorful and clear pages
At first, the book looks clean and moreover in color which helps a lot when you need to read the source code inside.
When there might be a problem while you exercise, Alaric Cole is always using clear hints on the page side to help going through problems.

[+] Easy to read for beginners
As English as my second language I may have problems on different texts. Learning Flex 3 is easy to read and I devour the book very fast. It is the first time I enjoy that much getting new knowledge.

[+] Go through a lot of knowledge ...
The book has 283 pages. I am pretty sure that it is less than most of technical books but after reading this book, you will be able to write your own Flex application or Air application with form verifications, data providers, visual effects, CSS theming, etc.

[-] ... and not enough sometimes
If you need to create applications, you need to submit some data somewhere. With Learning Flex 3, you won't know how to do it. You are going to learn how to do forms and how to print them on your screen, but you are not going to submit them anywhere. The button submit is no use.

[-] Start to be complex after some chapters
While it might be easy to read for intermediate developers, after few chapters you will encounter some words without definitions. Alaric is using words such as instance which from a beginner point of view means nothing...

[-] Bad use of words resulting in frustration
While sometimes Alaric is not going to tell everything about some aspects, Learning Flex 3 is not about learning Flex itself, otherwise the book would have a huge amount of pages.
The book won't be enough to master Flex 3. I would say that 80% of it is about MXML which is basically a specific language to create visual interfaces. MXML is very useful but is not enough to create a Rich Internet Application. You will need to buy one or two more books to have more knowledge and be confident in developing with Flex.

To conclude, I would say that Learning Flex 3 by Alaric Cole is a good book, easy to understand and good to jump into Flex 3 but the book feels like an appetizer that you need to buy one or two more books about Action Script in order to feed your hunger.

4 stars because the book itself is really good but not perfect, I enjoyed reading it... I think it's a good book about doing interface via Flex Builder.