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Adobe® Flex® 3 Bible by David Gassner

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Preface

When Macromedia first released Flash MX in 2002, the product was branded as the new way to build Rich Internet Applications (known by the acronym RIA). The term was invented at Macromedia to describe a new class of applications that would offer the benefits of being connected to the Internet, including access to various types of Web-based services, but would solve many of the nagging issues that had been inherent in browser-based applications since the mid-1990s. By using Flash Player to host graphically rich applications delivered as Flash documents, issues such as the ongoing differences between Web browsers in implementation of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and JavaScript would be overcome. And because such applications would be able to leverage Flash Player's original strengths, including animation and delivery of rich media (audio and video) to the desktop, the applications could be both functional and visually compelling.

The first push into the new frontier of RIAs met with mixed success. Products built and delivered with Flash MX and ColdFusion MX (Macromedia's recommended middleware application server software at the time) could be very impressive. Perhaps the best known of this class was the iHotelier hotel reservations application, still used by many large hotels around the world to present a Flash-based interface that allows customers to find and reserve hotel rooms from a visually intuitive single-screen interface. Users could input information and get nearly ...

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