Foundation Flex for Developers: Data-Driven Applications with PHP, ASP.NET, ColdFusion, and FDS (Foundation)
Description:Flex is a very powerful and versatile technology for creating web application front-ends. But what every good web application needs is a robust data source, be it XML, or a database. Flex is very adaptable in terms of connecting to data sources, and that is the main focus of this book. In Foundation Flex for Developers, Sas and Koen assume that you've got the basics of Flex down already, and explores in detail how to create professional data-centric Flex 2 and Flex 3 applications. In the first half of the book, she starts off with a brief exploration of Flex and ActionScript 3.0, before looking at application essentials in detail?creating custom components, user and web browser interactions, binding, formatting, and validating data, debugging, and more. In the second half of the book, the focus is on connecting Flex to data sources, and covers XML, LiveCycle Data Services, PHP, ASP.NET, and ColdFusion in detail, via a series of step-by-step case studies. Covers Flex application basics Covers connecting Flex 2 and Flex 3 to a variety of Data Sources Includes several complete case studies. What youll learn How to create custom components How to handle user and web browser interactions How to debug Flex 2 applications How to bind, format, and validate data How to load and write external content The essentials of XML, and working with it in Flex 2, including E4X The essentials of Flex Data Services How to build up data-driven Flex 2 applications with PHP, ASP.NET, and ColdFusion backends Who is this book for? This book is for any Flex developer who knows the basics of building Flex UIs, and wants to learn how to connect their applications to data sources. Summary of Contents Part 1 - Flex Application Basics Introduction to Flex Working with ActionScript 3.0 in Flex 3 Creating Custom Components Interacting with Users Interacting with the Web Browser Working with Data in Flex Applications Introduction to XML Using XML in Flex Builder Flex Data-Driven Controls Debugging Flex Applications Part 2 - Data-Driven Applications XML Case Study ColdFusion Project ASP.NET Case Study PHP Case Study Part 3 - Livecycle Data Services Introduction to LiveCycle Data Services LiveCycle Data Services Case Study
Great Coverage of Flex with Decent Case Studies
It goes very in depth in covering XML in Flex builder with detailed information on understanding E4X expressions. Which I will refer back to many times in my development process for these great techniques. And great best practice information for MXML.
I would have liked more coverage of how to integrate Flex with the Flash IDE type workflow. Other than creating components. There's a good but brief overview of AS3.
The case studies for connecting to data-driven applications are pretty short but useful. The PHP chapter walks though a Flex blog management system with a tabbed interface. It walks through how to set this up in with PHP code and how to connect to a MySQL database. With all the sample files available for download on the Friends of Ed website.
The book is very long (over 500 pages) and most useful for me as a desk reference when needing assistance while working with particular items in Flex. It tries to cover so much in terms of data driven technologies that the individual case studies feel a bit shallow.
Overall, I recommend this book to anyone that wants to learn or improve their knowledge of Flex and best practices using AS3 in Flex.
Not a good book
This is not a good book to learn from unless you learn best by thinking very deeply about what the teacher says and correcting errors.
I am up to Page 27 and have worked through the first example with FlexBuilder3. The book is riddled with problems, including typographical errors, imprecise explanations, and even a conceptual error.
Example page 21: click=`txtResult.text= = String(cboUnit.selectedItem.data ,,.`
While reading this I wasted about two minutes trying to puzzle out why there would be two equals signs in a row before deciding that this is probably a typo. By working the example on my computer I confirmed this.
Example page 23: The book refers to both a NumberValidator and NumericValidator.
An engaged student will have to wonder, are there two different kinds of Validator, or is the teacher lazy? No one wants a lazy teacher but that appears to be the case here.
Example page 23: `The CDATA declaration prevents Flex Builder from parsing the contents of the,,.`
I believe this is an imprecision that can seriously throw someone off who is trying to learn this stuff. In fact the CDATA declaration prevents the *compiler* from parsing the contents of the,,. Flex Builder only gets involved because it happens to invoke the compiler, but the compiler is a separate agent here, and the critical one that should have been named.
Example page 26: `This event object will also be dispatched when the user clicks the Convert button because the validator uses the click TriggerEvent.`
I don't mean to be an impertinent student, but I would suggest that this is just plain wrong and it reveals a conceptual misunderstanding on the author's part. In fact, in the code the author presents, the validator is invoked by an explicit call to a validate() method; the correct validation is done because the NumberValidator object has its source property set to the TextInput object. The TriggerEvent is not necessary, as I verified by commenting out this part of the author's code.
To be generous, this book is indeed teaching me Flex, but by a very peculiar pedagogical approach. Maybe indeed one learns better by being forced to think very hard about the validity of every single statement and sentence. What worries me is if this author launches off on the wrong track with regard to coding style and program architecture. Since I now know that I cannot trust this author, I'm not sure how much longer I'll stick with the book.
My recommendation: find a better book.
To be honest, i was really excited when i saw that title `data driven applications with php, asp.net, coldfusion and lcds`. what do you expect from a 600 page book that contains less than 90 pages on the topic it portrays. i have always liked the author but she disappointed me this time. its a good book yes,,.but if you are looking into getting deep into data driven flex applications using server side technologies like php, coldfusion etc,,.look else where.