TOPIC: My Amazon.com Book Review of “Flex Application Development”
DESCRIPTION: I recently read and reviewed a great Flex book which I recommend.Â Below is the full book review and link to purchase the book on Amazon.Â In the interest of full disclosure, the book’s authors are my friends and colleagues.
CAST FROM A NEW MOLD
Early in the history of the Adobe Flash Platform it was possible to read all of the great books on the subject because there were so few notable titles. However, now with the incredible popularity of Flash CS3 and Flex 3, the industry is flooded with training materials. While decent, most are rehashes of the introductory ‘Welcome to Flash/Flex’ perspective giving a broad overview without taking the bold position to teach pertinent topics and to teach them correctly.
This book is a great well rounded resource, perfect for anyone serious about Flex application development. This book 1) features a blend of various learning styles, 2) it offers the right amount of depth to tease & inspire, as well as actually teach, but 3) it is not for all audiences (and I like that).
With technical literature the tone and style ranges from the dry dictionary-like reference to the micro-task-oriented recipe books. There is not often an editorial voice giving industry insight, technological context, and workflow experience. That is one of my favorite aspects of this AdvanceED book, it gives all that and more. There is a historical introduction to application development, deep coverage on the many steps of the software development lifecycle through the real-world application of techniques on the authors’ RMX application project, as well as some relevant, isolated (albeit kinda’ non sequitured) programming recipes that can be plucked from the greater project shown in the book and applied in your own projects with ease. The multiple-learning styles is refreshing for those who have been disappointed by reading many other books. Most of the audience for this book has surely done some reading of tech texts and should appreciate the change of pace.
DEPTH AND SCOPE
The book lacks the breadth of a thick reference book, but what subjects it covers it covers deeply. Don’t expect to be able to crack open a chapter and a fresh Flex project in your Flex builder and get typing. The book doesn’t work like that. Its more of a casual read in many parts, fit for any time you get away from your computer. Fit even for some of the less-technical personnel on your team who would like to see the big picture of application development. Project managers, executives, and any creative folks with an eye toward project leadership will get great value from the book, but of course the intended audience is developers.
Perhaps rather than titling this section ‘Intended’ Audience, I should say suggested-by-me audience. Part of the appeal of this book and what sets it apart from what else is available on the subject is its unique perspective. The book focuses on building one application, RMX. This application has a specific purpose and a different one than any we’d likely make as the readers, but one that has components that are immediately relevant to our every day app-developer-lives; Styling, UI/UX + Navigation Design, Forms, Video (that continues to be a big topic these days),
It goes on to feature some rare gems such as Advertising (specifically for Flex) and SEO (specifically for Flex). You just don’t find those covered anywhere else.
This book is a refreshing read and the only must-read on my Flash bookshelf from this publisher.