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Learning Flex 4: Getting up to Speed with Rich Internet Application Design and Developmentby Alaric Cole
Synopses & Reviews
Since Adobe released Flex 3, Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) have become so popular that the market for RIA developer and designers has grown in spite of a down economy. And while RIAs are by nature build with "developer" technologies, tools like Flex are making it easy for non-traditional developers to become a part of the process.
Adobe has integrated Flex 4 more soundly than ever into compatibility with their Creative Suite tool set for designers, and Adobe has made fundamental additions to Flex, in order to integrate a powerful design component to the RIA creation process. The result will be that more non-traditional developers will be able to create or help create Rich Internet Apps, giving clients their much-requested ability to have RIAs that are more widely recognizable from one another and more easy to use.
*Learning Flex 4* gives us the return of Alaric Cole, Yahoo's resident Flex guru, as he draws on his own rich experience showing others how to get the most out of Flex. His hands-on approach to learning gives right-brained learners step-by-step entry into how Flex works, and how to immediately begin creating apps with it (learning Flex's power and limitations all along the way).
Alaric Cole has been working with Flash technologies since the introduction of ActionScript. Once Flex came on the scene, he has focused primarily on Flex development, creating enterprise applications with rich data visualization, interactive media, and advanced components. Alaric continues to use Flex in his daily work at Yahoo's prestigious Flash Platform team, leading development and consulting on the newest Flash and Flex projects across the company.
Learn Adobe Flex 4 in a fun and engaging way with this book's unique, hands-on approach. Using clear examples and step-by-step coaching from two experts, you'll create four applications that demonstrate fundamental Flex programming concepts.
Throughout the course of this book, you’ll learn how to enhance user interaction with ActionScript, and create and skin a user interface with Flex’s UI components (MXML) and Adobe's new FXG graphics format. You'll also be trained to manage dynamic data, connect to a database using server-side script, and deploy applications to both the Web and the desktop.
Learning Flex 4 offers tips and tricks the authors have collected from years of real-world experience, and straightforward explanations of object-oriented programming concepts to help you understand how Flex 4 works.
Elijah Robison is completing a Master of Science degree in Geospatial Sciences from Missouri State University. As a graduate assistant, he built several hydrologic assessment utilities for ESRI's ArcGIS platform. Currently he works as a programmer with VillaGIS, Inc., where he helps develop mapping applications using Adobe Flex and Adobe AIR. Elijah brings a fresh perspective in Flex that helps to demystify the technology.
Table of Contents
Preface; Who This Book Is For; How This Book Is Organized; Companion Website; What This Book Covers; Typographical Conventions Used in This Book; Using the Code Examples; We’d Like to Hear from You; Safari® Books Online; Acknowledgments; Chapter 1: Getting Up to Speed; 1.1 What Is Flex?; 1.2 What About AIR?; 1.3 Where Flex Fits; 1.4 Why Use Flex?; 1.5 How Flex Compares to Other Technologies; 1.6 When Not to Use Flex; 1.7 Summary; Chapter 2: Setting Up Your Environment; 2.1 Using Alternatives to Flash Builder; 2.2 Introducing Flash Builder and Eclipse; 2.3 Running Your First Application; 2.4 Creating a New Flex Project; 2.5 Summary; Chapter 3: Using Design Mode; 3.1 A Blank Slate: Your First Project; 3.2 Adding Components to the Application; 3.3 Exploring Common Components; 3.4 Modifying Properties Directly; 3.5 Summary; Chapter 4: Using Source Mode; 4.1 What Design Mode Does; 4.2 Anatomy of a Flex Application; 4.3 Adding Components in Source Mode; 4.4 Code Completion; 4.5 MXML in Depth; 4.6 S, FX, and MX: Namespaces Explained; 4.7 Summary; Chapter 5: ActionScript Basics for Flex Applications; 5.1 Getting Ready; 5.2 Dot Notation; 5.3 Inline ActionScript; 5.4 Assignment and Concatenation; 5.5 Functions; 5.6 Variables; 5.7 Data Types; 5.8 Objects; 5.9 Classes; 5.10 ActionScript's Relationship with MXML; 5.11 Comments?; 5.12 Summary; Chapter 6: Debugging Flex Applications; 6.1 Outputting Values to the Console Using trace(); 6.2 Inspecting Event Properties with trace(); 6.3 Using Breakpoints; 6.4 Summary; Chapter 7: ADDING INTERACTION WITH ACTIONSCRIPT; 7.1 Understanding Events; 7.2 Common Events; 7.3 Researching Events; 7.4 Listening for and Responding to Events; 7.5 Collision! A Whirlwind of Events; 7.6 Summary; Chapter 8: Using Data Binding; 8.1 What Is Data Binding?; 8.2 Applying Data Binding; 8.3 Two-Way Bindings; 8.4 Handling Complex Data with Data Models; 8.5 When Data Binding Isn’t Appropriate; 8.6 Summary; Chapter 9: Designing Application Layouts; 9.1 Types of Layouts; 9.2 The Display List; 9.3 Sizing; 9.4 Controlling Whitespace in the Layout; 9.5 Advanced Containers; 9.6 Spacers and Lines; 9.7 Alignment; 9.8 Constraints-Based Layout; 9.9 Summary; Chapter 10: Creating Rich Forms; 10.1 Preparing a Form-Based Application; 10.2 Validating Data; 10.3 Restricting Input; 10.4 Formatting Input; 10.5 Combining Restrictions and Formatters; 10.6 Linking Formatters to Functions; 10.7 Summary; Chapter 11: Gathering and Displaying Data; 11.1 Using List-Based Controls; 11.2 Using XML Data; 11.3 Implementing List Selection; 11.4 Connecting to Search Results; 11.5 Dragging and Dropping in Lists; 11.6 Creating Custom Item Renderers; 11.7 Working with External Data Services; 11.8 Summary; Chapter 12: Controlling Visibility and Navigation; 12.1 Controlling Visibility; 12.2 Navigation Components; 12.3 Creating a Photo Gallery Application; 12.4 Summary; Chapter 13: Working with View States; 13.1 Scenarios for States; 13.2 Managing States in Design Mode; 13.3 Making a Login/Registration Form; 13.4 Applying States to the Search Application; 13.5 Summary; Chapter 14: Applying Effects, Transitions, and Filters; 14.1 Effects; 14.2 Transitions; 14.3 Filters; 14.4 Summary; Chapter 15: Styling and Skinning; 15.1 Inline Style Assignments; 15.2 Style Blocks and CSS; 15.3 External CSS; 15.4 Skinning; 15.5 Summary; Chapter 16: Making Data Dynamic: Linking Flex to the Server; 16.1 Some Background Information; 16.2 The ContactManager Application; 16.3 Linking ContactManager to the Server Using the HTTPService Class; 16.4 Summary; Chapter 17: Deploying Flex Applications; 17.1 Deploying to the Web; 17.2 Deploying to the Desktop; 17.3 Summary; Chapter 18: What Comes Next?; 18.1 Third-Party APIs; 18.2 Print Resources; 18.3 Online Resources; 18.4 Certification; 18.5 Enfin; Creating a Development Environment; Use WAMP (Windows) or MAMP (Mac OS); Add PHP Development Tools (PDT) to a Flash Builder Installation; Summary; MySQL Basics; Language Elements and Syntax; MySQL Statements; Creating a Database with phpMyAdmin; Summary; PHP Basics; Language Elements and Syntax; The PHP Scripts; Summary; Compiling Flex Applications on Linux Using the Command Line; Install Flash Player 10; Install Java; Download the Flex 4 SDK; Create a Project Folder Structure; Add an MXML File; Add Environment Variables; Tweak the Project Configuration File; Create a Reusable Compiler Script in Bash; Compile and Test; Summary;
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