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peterarmstrong (94) [Avatar] Offline
#1
Dima and I are going to have some fun in this book, building an application that is not only interesting but which should hopefully demonstrate the parts of Flex 4 you need to understand right away. Since Twitter is so all over the news (especially TechCrunch) lately, we hope that it's a timely and relevant example for you. The same is true with the "blah, but on a map" mashups. We picked Yahoo! Maps since it is slightly easier for mashups, but we could have used Google Maps.

Of course, there's no possible way any introductory book can cover everything you need to know about Flex: that would be a very long book, since Adobe ships thousands of pages of Flex documentation. However, I think I'm a pretty good judge of what people need to learn first when doing Flex development: I have been a Flex developer for over 4 years, and besides learning Flex myself I've seen lots of coworkers at three companies learn Flex, both when coming from a JavaScript background, a Flash background or a Java background.

Please post to the forum with any feedback about the book, help running the examples etc -- I try to get to every forum post eventually, but sometimes it takes a day or two. (Dima and I are the co-founders of a 4-developer Flex startup and we're writing 2 Manning books currently--the other being Enterprise Flexible Rails, which is decidedly *not* an introductory Flex book--so we're really busy. You can also email me directly at peter@ruboss.com with any feedback.

Specifically, one question that has always been asked about my writing is whether the length of code examples is really a Good Thing (TM) like I claim it is. I have currently sold my development editor on the idea, saying that I had really long code examples in Flexible Rails, and readers really liked that book. However, if you think the examples are too long or are difficult to follow, please let me know -- I want this book to be accessible *and* interesting, regardless of how much software development experience you have....

Thanks,
Peter Armstrong

Message was edited by:
peterarmstrong

I've updated this message to say "Flex 4" not "Flex 3". We are updating the entire book to be for Flex 4. (Currently it is based on Flex 3, but this will change once Beta 1 of Flex 4 is public.)
ghosh007 (1) [Avatar] Offline
#2
Re: Welcome to Hello! Flex 3
How is this book going to be different from "Flex 3 in action"?
peterarmstrong (94) [Avatar] Offline
#3
Re: Welcome to Hello! Flex 3
I don't know -- I haven't read Flex 3 in Action smilie

On a serious note, this book is going to be our attempt of explaining what we think you need to know about Flex right away, combined with a meaningful-length cumulative code example.

The code for the book is at:
http://github.com/peterarmstrong/helloflex/tree/master

My recommended algorithm for whether the book is worth it is to take a look at the code and ask yourself if you would pay the book price for a good explanation of it. If so, then the book should be worth it for you; if not, then please check back in a few months smilie

Cheers,
Peter
IamMaris (4) [Avatar] Offline
#4
Re: Welcome to Hello! Flex 3
I just got the MEAP on this book and I LOVE it. I have to say that your style of writing is educational and fun at the same time. I just completed the first two chapters and built the first part of the "stalker" program, amazed to see it actually worked.

I appreciate that the exercise included test data so it was possible to get the full effect of the application. I had not used Twitter before reading your book, so it was impressive to see how your version compared to the "original."

I look forward to completing the rest of the book. This is what all learning should be like.

Maris

PS ... I think the length of the code I have seen so far (only first two chapters) is great. I like your approach.
pbergsma2004 (3) [Avatar] Offline
#5
Re: Welcome to Hello! Flex 3
Hi,
How can I download the entire project for a chapter from github ?
Thanks.
peterarmstrong (94) [Avatar] Offline
#6
Re: Welcome to Hello! Flex 3
Go to http://github.com/peterarmstrong/helloflex/tree/master and click the "download" button to get the code for the entire book.

Cheers,
Peter
peterarmstrong (94) [Avatar] Offline
#7
Re: Welcome to Hello! Flex 4
Note that the code is further ahead than the writing currently. So, you're getting a sneak preview of what's ahead...
pbergsma2004 (3) [Avatar] Offline
#8
Re: Welcome to Hello! Flex 3
I have this message when I tried to download with Firefox 2.0.0.16 whether ZIP or TAR option :
"This repo is too large to generate a zip. Please file a bug report."
Can I have the option of downloading per project ?
Thanks.
PS : with Microsoft IE7 or 8, the download button ended in error.
peterarmstrong (94) [Avatar] Offline
#9
Re: Welcome to Hello! Flex 3
You will be able to download from http://manning.com/armstrong3/ once the book is done.

I will also try to upload zip files somewhere during the MEAP, however I'm under tight deadlines on client projects and two books. So, I won't have any time to do this properly until mid-November at the earliest.

In the meantime, I guess the only solution if you want a fully up-to-date code sample is to use Git.

http://code.google.com/p/msysgit/ - Windows
http://code.google.com/p/git-osx-installer/ - Mac OS X

Thanks,
Peter
binhyuen (1) [Avatar] Offline
#10
Re: Welcome to Hello! Flex 3
I have some hard time to deal with this dowload from github too and git command line tool is not what I love most in life.
The code is part of the MEAP to help understanding, like many I need the code before may 2009 !
vlefur (12) [Avatar] Offline
#11
Re: Welcome to Hello! Flex 3
I agree !
It's best to get the code before may 2009 and git tool sucks.
peterarmstrong (94) [Avatar] Offline
#12
Re: Welcome to Hello! Flex 3
Hi,

For the record:

1. I am busy coding chapter 6 as we speak.

2. I plan to get a MEAP version ready with chapters 4-6 within the next 2 or 3 weeks.

3. When this happens, I will release a new code zip file and post it somewhere.

For the next 2-3 weeks, can everyone please be patient and just use the PDF or Git?

Thanks,
Peter
peterarmstrong (94) [Avatar] Offline
#13
Re: Welcome to Hello! Flex 3 - here is some source code
Here, in the meantime I am attaching the following zip file which has chapters 1-5. I don't want to get in the habit of posting zip files to the forum, but hopefully this will do for now...

Thanks,
Peter
vlefur (12) [Avatar] Offline
#14
Re: Welcome to Hello! Flex 3 - here is some source code
Just finished the first 3 chapters and I walked through the code. I can tell you this, the book is very promissing, insightfull and I found there many ideas.
May I suggest a couple of things : how about integrating some new functionnalities of Flash 10 like local file access (even if unable to debug with for the moment), advanced printing.
peterarmstrong (94) [Avatar] Offline
#15
Re: Welcome to Hello! Flex 3 - here is some source code
Thanks!

So you know the plan, I'm finishing chapters 4-6 still using Flex 3 (and then a MEAP release will happen). This will be in early November.

Then, the book will be updated to Flex 4. All existing chapters will be updated (smaller updates), and the final 2-3 chapters will be delivered (bigger updates).

So, Flash 10 and Flex 4 won't get into the book until late November or early December.

Thanks,
Peter

P.S. Sorry I was grumpy about the zip files smilie
IamMaris (4) [Avatar] Offline
#16
Re: Welcome to Hello! Flex 4
I see from the time I purchased the MEAP you have switched from Flex 3 to Flex 4. Will I be able to follow along using only the Flex 3 Builder?

Maris
peterarmstrong (94) [Avatar] Offline
#17
Re: Welcome to Hello! Flex 4
I just rewrote the book to using Flash Builder 4 and Flex 4. The MEAP will be released next week.

Regarding following along with Flex Builder 3, it should be possible if you install the Flex 4 SDK, but it won't be officially supported...

By the way, here's the summary message from a different post about the upcoming MEAP release...

Hi all,

I know it's been a *very* long time, but Hello! Flex 4 is now complete--and almost completely rewritten. I've been really bad and totally stayed off of Author Online while I was doing this, since the rewrite was a total format change and took a brutal amount of work. So, sorry about not being responsive.

The old Twitter example from chapters 2-6 is now compressed into chapter 7 only.
Chapter 1 is half new, and chapters 2-6 are completely new. Chapters 1-6 now contain 26 self-contained workshop items, which include everything from small one-page examples, to a 3D rotating haiku to a Connect Four game. I hope you like the book!

The MEAP will be released sometime next week.

Thanks for your patience,
Peter