My Next Book: Effortless Flex 4 Development

January 22, 2010 — 13 Comments

I’ve just started writing my forthcoming Flex 4 book, tentatively titled Effortless Flex 4 Development. I’m happy to say that the first chapter is in the can, which is always a big hurdle to overcome. The book will be around 400 pages, released by New Riders, with an expected publication date later this Spring. I may post a more detailed table of contents in time, but the rough outline consists of three parts:

  1. The Fundamentals
  2. Data and Communications
  3. Application Development

Each part will be roughly a third of the book. As no previous Flex knowledge is assumed, the first part covers the basics of Flex development. This includes the tools you’ll use, the user interface elements, an introduction to ActionScript, and a discussion of event handling. The second part of the book is especially important, I believe, as working with data and client-server communications are what give Rich Internet Applications their true power. Unlike the other Flex books that I’ve seen, I’ll be exclusively using PHP for my server-side code. This is in part because I’m a PHP guy at heart, in part because increased PHP support is a key addition to Flex 4, and in part because I want to present Flex development in a way that doesn’t require a huge amount of cash or server requirements. The last section of the book adds more advanced concepts, ties together what had been discussed to that point, and has more complete examples.

I’ll post more details in time. If you have any questions or comments, on my book or on Flex, please share them. Thanks!

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13 responses to My Next Book: Effortless Flex 4 Development

  1. Thats a great news. I have bought PHP6 and MySQL5 2E and MySQL Visual quickpro guides. I found them invaluable. Learning Flex is on my todo list for next year.

    Any time estimate when this book will be published?

    Thanks and Regards,

    • Thanks for the feedback and for the interest in the book. It’ll be out in the Spring, probably in May. I’ll keep the status updated here and through my newsletter.

  2. Sounds like a great book that will be an addition to my library =)

    Will you be using Adobes Flex/Flash Builder as your IDE in the book or something more like FlashDevelop?

    Will you be covering ZendAMF or AMFPHP?

    • Hey Jason, thanks for the feedback. Primarily I will be using Flash Builder (formerly Flex Builder). I know it’s not cheap but the 60-day trial is more than enough time to get through the book and see if it’s worth buying. I just think it’s the fastest, least frustrating way to learn Flex. That being said, I just finished Ch 1 and I did demonstrate how to create Flex applications using any text editor or IDE. Although I want to stress using Flash Builder, I also want to acknowledge others might not use it, for whatever reason (although 60 days is a nice trial). I hadn’t thought to mention FlashDevelop because it only runs on Windows but maybe I’ll add a note on it during the rewrites. It’s a good compromise between Flash Builder and any old text editor or IDE.

      I will be covering both ZendAMF (which Flash Builder/Flex 4 uses) and AMFPHP. There’ll be lots of PHP-Flash interactions demonstrated! Let me know if you have any other thoughts or suggestions. Much appreciated!

  3. Thank you. Sounds good. Will be looking forward to the updates.

  4. Dear Larry,

    It sounds more than great! By web-wise, the best news so far in the internet!

    I’d like to learn flex – and as I learned php and adobe air from your books – I am looking forward to your new book. My question(s): is it possible to learn flex without flash knowledge? I mean, I do not worry from programming ActionScript, but I am not a handy man and I cannot draw in Flash (not only in Flash, but at all). So do I need to be aware of how Flash timeline works and be able to draw or no need of it for flex?

    I wish you all the best for your new upcoming book(s),
    Best regards,


    • Thanks, Peter. That’s extremely nice of you to say, if not overly-generous! Good questions, by the way. I year+ ago I found Flash-Flex etc. to be confusing, too. Adobe now has three ways of creating Flash content: Flash Professional, which is for designers and uses the timeline; Flex, for developers, and is largely event-based; and, Flash Catalyst, which is a middle ground between the two. I also have absolutely no design skills whatsoever. I could learn how to use Flash Professional technically but still wouldn’t be any good at it. So the book discusses creating Flash content using only Flex. It’s really quite similar, generically, to creating Web pages. You’ll use pre-defined elements and ActionScript to make the application. No timelines, no drawing, no creativity! Okay, some creativity, just not graphic design skills. Thanks again!

  5. Absolutely can not wait for this book. Please post the full Table of Contents as soon as you are able!

    • Thanks, Callum. I will post the TOC soon, I hope. Still waiting for feedback on it from others. Meanwhile, as always happens, the contents have already changed just after writing the first two chapters!

  6. Dear Larry,

    I have been dealing with PHP/MySQL websites for the past 4 years and right now I have started developing one medium size website using Yii framework. Your blog “Getting Started with the Yii Framework” is really doing wonders for my work. Thanks for the precise information. Simply wonderful.

    I am really thrilled to know that you are now on the onset to your next work “Effortless Flex 4 Development”. Anxiously waiting for its arrival :)

    Is it mandatory to know flash for learning flex?

    Vimal Maheedharan

    • Thank you for the nice words on the blog and for the interest in my Flex book. Before I started learning Flex, I too was confused about how Flash and Flex are related, so your question is natural. Think of Flash as a medium: Flash content can run via the Flash Player plug-in used in browsers, in a standalone Flash Player, or using Adobe AIR. So Flash is really something you output, like a PNG image or a QuickTime movie. You can generate Flash content in three ways: using the Flash Professional application, which is the classic designer way of doing it and probably what most people think of when they think Flash; using Flex, which is a programmer’s approach (Flex is a framework for using MXML and ActionScript to create Flash); and the new Flash Catalyst, which is like an agent between Flash Professional and Flex. My book is really a programmer’s guide to creating Flash content.

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