Author: Chafic Kazoun & Joey Lott
Publisher: Adobe Dev Library, 2008
Aimed at: Developers already familiar with OOP
Pros: Very useful reference
Cons: Lacks illustrative examples
Reviewed by: David Conrad
If you want to get use Flex then this book, subtitled "The Comprehensive Guide to Creating Rich Internet Applications with Adobe Flex", is a good place to start and an even better place to continue. It starts from the very basics but it isn't quite simple enough for the complete beginner - you need to be able to program to follow much of the discussion. In particular you do need to understand the basics of objects, classes variables and so ideally you should have mastered a language such as Java. C# or any object-oriented language.
If you are familiar with a similar system such as .NET Silverlight or any GUI framework such as the Java or WPF then you might find that the author doesn't tell you what is going on in terms that are direct enough, e.g. MXML is like XAML and so on. If you can stay the course however and read the full description you will understand what is going on.
The book also has a tendency to go over the more advanced aspects of things before doing the commonplace things that anyone new to Flex would need to know. There are also many omissions - coverage of the remote object, for example, and not much about of using Flex Builder IDE. It also tends to cover slightly esoteric topics such as late binding via introspection well before the reader has met the user interface controls. This isn't a big problem as long as you are reading the book according to the sections that interest you rather than reading through from page one to the end.
There are also very few useful illustrations in the book showing what the programs presented are trying to do. This can leave you no choice but to go and try them out.
The book also tends to present programming approaches to creating objects rather then the alternative declarative MXML approach. This is a matter of taste and for me its perfectly acceptable.
The final verdict has to be that this is a useful addition to a Flex 3 library but it isn't an essential book that you need to read cover to cover. It is a useful reference source however that explains things rather better than a cookbook approach would. I keep a copy near to hand while programming.