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Flash® Builder™ 4 and Flex® 4 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. Using Flash Player to host graphically rich applications delivered as Flash documents would address issues such as the ongoing differences between Web browsers in implementation of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and JavaScript. 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. Many applications built and delivered with Flash MX and ColdFusion MX (Macromedia's recommended middleware application server software at the time) were very impressive. Perhaps the best known of this class is the iHotelier hotel reservations application, which is still used by many large hotels around the world. The application presents customers with a Flash-based interface they can use to find and reserve hotel rooms from a visually intuitive single-screen interface. A customer can input ...

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