Monday, April 5, 2010

Flex 4 Fun: Available in PrePrint

Chet's handy AcrtionScript algorithm for writing a programming book:

public function writeBook():FinishedManuscript
{
 var manuscript = new FinishedManuscript();
 writeDemos(manuscript);
 writeText(manuscript);
 while (true)
 {
    edit(manuscript);
    revise(manuscript);
 }
 // TODO: Next line never executes
 return manuscript;
}

Finally, after months of writing, editing, revising, coding, explaining, revising, deliberating, cogitating, revising, formatting, reformatting, revising, snapshotting, describing, captioning, revising, and dying a little inside, my book Flex 4 Fun is finished. Almost. It just needs a little more editing and revising.

The book is content complete: all of the chapters are done, all of the demo applications compile and run, all of the text is correct as far as I know, and there are no known typos.The book could still benefit from one more review cycle, but rather than wait for that plus the printing delay until it would actually be available on bookshelves (usually 2-3 months after a book is completely complete), I wanted to push out this early version close to last month's Flex 4 release.

Flex 4 Fun is different than other Flex, or Flex 4, books I've seen; it focuses on the graphics and animation side of the SDK. I figured that's what I like to play with on Flex, it's what I know best about the platform, and it deserved a book that went deeper into these topics than the other Flex books. Sure, an overview book is good to have. Yes, you should understand how to connect Flex to a back end. Alright, you probably want to understand how to architect large Flex applications. But when you get around to creating better user experiences for that Flex client, you'll want to know more about graphics, states, skinning, and animation. And hopefully this book and its 65+ examples can help teach you how that stuff works.

Here's the books Contents page:

1. Introduction 13 2. Graphics 18 3. Filters: Easy Image Processing 60 4. States 96 5. Transitions 105 6. Skinning Components 119 7. Animation 138 8. The Animation Class 152 9. Flex Effects: The Basics 184 10. Effect Choreography 209 11. Advanced Flex Effects 230 12. Go Have Fun 258

The book is available in PrePrint form on artima.com. Go check it out and have some fun!

9 comments:

DLSalahi said...

Just ordered the book and downloaded the samples. FYI, I get an error when I click the Start color swatch in the LinearGradientProperties example:
TypeError: Error #1009: Cannot access a property or method of a null object reference.
at mx.managers::PopUpManagerImpl/addPopUp()
at mx.managers::PopUpManager$/addPopUp()
at mx.controls::ColorPicker/http://www.adobe.com/2006/flex/mx/internal::displayDropdown()
at mx.controls::ColorPicker/downArrowButton_buttonDownHandler()
at flash.events::EventDispatcher/dispatchEventFunction()
at flash.events::EventDispatcher/dispatchEvent()
at mx.core::UIComponent/dispatchEvent()
at mx.controls::Button/http://www.adobe.com/2006/flex/mx/internal::buttonPressed()
at mx.controls::Button/mouseDownHandler()

But if I dismiss it and do it again it works.

Chet Haase said...

@DLSalahi: Thanks for reporting this.

I saw this type of error on dropdownlist components when running against a pre-release build of Flex 4. The problem went away when I compiled against the released version of Flex 4, though. Are you running with the released 4.0 version, or some pre-release build?

Also, I assume this is when you're running on your build of the projects and not on the site where they're posted, right? The website with the apps is built with my version of Flex 4, so the problem shouldn't be there (but it'd be good to know if there is still an issue there...)

koro said...

Just bought your book, cause I love your codedependent show, and I agree with you that a graphic oriented flex book should be in every flex dev bookshelf.

It's late in Paris, almost midnight so I will check the book tomorrow... but at first glance, the color illustrations are some of the best looking ones I've ever seen in a dev book, so first congrats for this point!

Best regards from Paris Chet.

Dimitri K.
Ps: I know Romain worked on the illustrations, but I'm kinda confused: Gordon didn't work on text this time? ;)

julien said...

Kudos for the book!
Just bought my copy too, animation in FlashPlayer is also the thing that I love the most ... and actually since I started with Flex (2 beta) I've always found it hard to find good material on this topic (besides your codedependent show) ... Guess it's gonna be fun

Cheers,
Julien

Tink said...

Congrats, getting a book together is a lot of work.

I had a quick glance over the beginning of the sample chapter and thought I'd flag this...

"The slider is composed of
a very thin ellipse object for the track"

The track is a Rectangle with rounded corners. You can't create that shape with an Ellipse.

Chet Haase said...

@Tink: Argh!
This is why there are review periods, because no matter how many times you read/edit/fix your own text, some how there are still really dumb errors in it.
Thanks for the catch.

Francisc said...

Congratulations, Chet! You must be proud.

I'll be buying the book for sure.

Chet Haase said...

@Francisc: Thanks!
Yeah, I guess I'm proud like I just gave birth to a child: I'm happy it's out in the world, and very glad the labor's over.

Anirudh Sasikumar said...

Congratulations! Let me see if I can pick up a copy of your book here in India.