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Professional Adobe® Flex® 3 by Joe Berkovitz, David Hassoun, Andrew Trice, Tom Sugden, Todd Prekaski, Jun Heider, Peter Ent, Joseph Balderson

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Chapter 1. Why Flex?

It seems like nearly every programming book I have ever read starts off with the obligatory "Introduction to [whatever]" chapter, which basically regurgitates the essentials that everyone knows, and hence is the one chapter nearly every reader skips. In this first chapter of the book, I thought we'd start things off with a different approach, one that takes you, the reader, through the reasons that you might want to use Flex, what Flex is for, bursting some myths about Flex and the Flash platform, and, finally, ending up with a "Top 10" of Flex's strong points. Enjoy!

What Is Flex?

Often this is either the first presciently asked question for someone new to the Adobe Flex ecosystem and the Flash Platform, or it is the last question asked after many hours of wrestling with how all of this "stuff" fits together in the scheme of things. Read on: the first two chapters in this book will make it all crystal clear.

In a nutshell, Flex is a rich Internet application (RIA) development toolkit based on the ActionScript 3.0 and MXML languages that can be deployed for the Web using the Flash Player plug-in, or to the desktop using the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR).

As Adobe Evangelist James Ward puts it in his article "How I Overcame My Fear of Flash"(www.jamesward.com/wordpress/2007/02/21/how-i-overcame-my-fear-of-flash/),

"[the] Flash Player is a ubiquitous, cross-browser, cross-OS virtual machine enabling next generation web experiences. Flex is a simple tool for developers ...

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