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Getting Started with Flex 3 by Emily Kim, Jack D. Herrington

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How many times have you gotten an idea for a killer application in your mind, only to have the implementation fail when the framework you use bogs you down in the detail work? I know I certainly have experienced that. Fortunately, Flex came to my rescue and made the process of implementing my ideas fun again. I can think up amazing interfaces and pull them together quickly in Flex. While I concentrate on the design, Flex handles all the details of making it happen.

This book will inspire you to try Flex and to see just how much fun it can be to bring your ideas to life. Let Flex make your interface design and coding enjoyable again!

Who Should Read This Book

This book is primarily intended for people who are new to Flex or who have tried previous versions of Flex and are interested in what’s new in Flex 3. I’ve designed the book to be a quick tour of the Flex world without delving too deeply into any one topic. To provide in-depth coverage of every topic I present in the book would require five times the page count, which could present a health hazard to you, dear reader.

To make up for the lack of depth in every area, in Chapter 10 I provide a collection of resources from which you can glean additional information regarding Flex. And as always, there is Google, which is your best friend when it comes to learning about the nooks and crannies of the Flex API.

How This Book Is Organized

Here is a summary of the chapters in the book and what you can expect from each:

Chapter 1

In this chapter, I’ll guide you through installing Flex Builder 3 and putting together a fun image manipulator application.

Chapter 2

This chapter presents several real-world examples of sites that make amazing use of Flex.

Chapter 3

This chapter provides a step-by-step walkthrough of how to build a Flex application.

Chapter 4

This chapter describes Flex layout mechanisms and controls. Filters and effects are also covered.

Chapter 5

This chapter covers the different forms of network communications supported by Flex applications, and includes examples for a few of them.

Chapter 6

This chapter presents additional example applications, including a calculator, an image viewer, a drag-and-drop application, and more.

Chapter 7

This chapter provides a preview of several advanced controls that are available for use as stock libraries. Some choice examples include 3D graphing, as well as a flow list that is similar to Cover Flow in iTunes.

Chapter 8

This chapter discusses how to build small Flex movies for use on other people’s web pages. A full working chat widget is provided as an example.

Chapter 9

This chapter covers how to use Adobe’s AIR runtime to put Flex applications on the desktop.

Chapter 10

This chapter presents numerous resources for Flex developers, including blogs, forums, podcasts, books, and more.

Conventions Used in This Book

The following typographical conventions are used in this book:


Indicates new terms, URLs, email addresses, filenames, file extensions, pathnames, directories, and Unix utilities

Constant width

Indicates commands, options, switches, variables, attributes, keys, functions, types, classes, namespaces, methods, modules, properties, parameters, values, objects, events, event handlers, XML tags, HTML tags, macros, the contents of files, and the output from commands

Constant width bold

Shows commands or other text that should be typed literally by the user

Constant width italic

Shows text that should be replaced with user-supplied values

How to Contact Us

Please address comments and nontechnical questions concerning this book to the publisher:

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About the Author

Jack Herrington is an engineer, author, and presenter who lives and works in the San Francisco Bay area with his wife, daughter, and two dogs. He is the author of three additional books, Code Generation In Action, Podcasting Hacks, and PHP Hacks, as well as numerous articles. You can check out his technical blog at http://jackherrington.com.

Emily Kim is the co-founder and managing partner of the company Trilemetry, Inc., which specializes in software design, programming, and education.

Acknowledgments and Dedication

I’d like to acknowledge the help of Mike Potter at Adobe in the inspiration, design, and writing of this book. My thanks to Jen Blackledge for doing the technical review on the manuscript. A big thank you to my editor, Audrey Doyle, who is as astute with her comments as she is deft with her editing touch.

This book is dedicated to my beautiful wife, Lori, and awesome daughter, Megan. They are both the reason and the inspiration for this book.

—Jack Herrington

Publisher’s Acknowledgments

O’Reilly and Adobe extend deepest thanks to Emily Kim and the entire team at Trilemetry (http://www.trilemetry.com). The learning materials that inspired this book were created for Adobe by Trilemetry as an online resource. You can find this material at http://learn.adobe.com/wiki/display/Flex/Getting+Started. The scope of the materials online is quite wide in contrast to what you’ll find in this book, and we heartily recommend you use both as learning resources as you develop your Flex skills.

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