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Flex 4 Fun cover

First Edition
Published
August 14, 2010
295 pages (eBook)
XVI,288 pages (Paper Book)

Flex 4 Fun
Graphics and animation for better user interfaces

by Chet Haase

This book is the authoritative guide to graphics and animation in Flex 4: the fun stuff! Written by Chet Haase, an engineer on the Adobe Flex team and coauthor of Filthy Rich Clients, this book will teach you the graphical and animation technologies in Flex 4 that enable better user experiences.

You can purchase just the PDF eBook for $23.00, just the paper book for $36.95, or get them both by purchasing the PDF/Paper combo at a discount for $46.95. If you purchase the PDF eBook or combo, you will be entitled to receive periodic updates as errata are fixed, for no additional charge. Also, by purchasing the PDF eBook you can for no additional charge download a Mobi eBook version of the book that looks great on your Kindle.

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About the book

With this book you'll have fun exploring the graphical and animation side of the Flex 4 SDK. There are other books out there on Flex, on Flex 4, and on RIA technologies in general, but they generally don't cover the techniques that help you write cooler applications. This book is specifically about the graphical and animation technologies in Flex 4 that enable better user experiences: the "fun" stuff.

Flex 4 is a powerful and flexible set of libraries that enable rich client applications running on the Flash Platform. In particular, Flex makes it much easier to write robust GUI applications than it otherwise might be with just the Flash authoring tool and APIs. For example, Flex provides a rich and extensible component library, databinding for easy communication between objects in the application, and the declarative MXML language that enables you to write your GUI logic in a very simple and straightforward way.

Flex sits atop the powerful Flash graphics engine, and provides all kinds of great capabilities for drawing shapes with various fills and strokes and using image-processing filters to change the way things appear. Flex 4 also has a new component model which enables a very flexible way of changing the look of your components. Flex also offers a "states" model that makes it easy to describe what your application and GUI components look like at different times in their life. And Flex provides rich animation capabilities that make it possible to animate anything in the GUI, which enables rich experiences for the user as objects in the GUI gradually change from one state to another instead of making sudden, discontinuous changes. These are some of the capabilities that this book will cover in detail, along with over 60 example programs to show how all of it works.

This book assumes that you have done some Flex programming, enough to know the basics of MXML and ActionScript, so that when you look at the simple examples in this book you are not confused. One of the highlights of this book is all of the sample code that goes along with it. Much of the code is shown directly in the text of the book itself, and all of that code is excerpted from complete applications that you can download, build, and run yourself. This is probably something you should plan to do, at least for those parts of the book you want to thoroughly understand. Also, these applications provide useful code that you can copy from or start from for projects of your own.

Table of contents

Contents vii
Foreward xi
Acknowledgments xiii
1. Introduction 16
2. Graphics 26 (download free sample chapter PDF)
3. Filters: Easy Image Processing 69
4. States 101
5. Transitions 111
6. Skinning Components 126
7. Animation 148
8. The Animation Class 162
9. Flex Effects: The Basics 195
10. Advanced Flex Effects 221
11. Effect Choreography 250
12. Picture Perfekt 272
13. Go Have Fun 281
About the Author 283
Index 284

About the author

Chet Haase is a senior computer scientist on the Flex SDK team at Adobe Systems, Inc. In the Flex 4 release, he was responsible for Flex effects and the new effects infrastructure and classes for Flex 4. Prior to his work at Adobe, he worked at Sun Microsystems for several years, and co-authored the book Filthy Rich Clients about creating rich user experiences with the Java client platform. His entire career has been in graphics software, from the application level to APIs and libraries to drivers for graphics chips. As long as it puts pixels on the screen, he's interested. He earned a B.A. in Mathematics from Carleton College and an M.S. in Computer and Information Sciences from the University of Oregon.

Chet is also interested in writing and performing comedy; you can see some his work in this completely unrelated field at http://chetchat.blogspot.com, and in his book When I am King..., which is available at Amazon.com. Chet lives in Pleasanton, California, with his wife and three kids, whom he needs to spend more time with now that this book is finished.

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