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Flex on Rails: Building Rich Internet Applications with Adobe Flex 3 and Rails 2

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The Bottom Line

While not a comprehensive reference or guide to either Flex or Rails, Flex on Rails is a vital resource for making the two work together. It's a great book for Rails programmers wanting to create Flex applications that interact with their web applications. Though experienced Flex programmers will probably find nothing new in this book.

Pros

  • A wide range of topics are covered.
  • Rails programmers new to Flex can follow along without knowing Flex.
  • Plenty of example code.

Cons

  • Topics are not covered in-depth.
  • Flex programmers won't learn anything new, and can learn the Rails portions on their own.

Description

  • Ch. 1-3 Creates a fully functional Flex and Rails development environment and basic skills to use them together.
  • Ch. 4 -6 Gets you started with MVC frameworks and TDD on the client. Covers Cairngorm and PureMVC.
  • Ch.7 What to do when it all goes wrong. Covers logging on client side and server side, as well as Flex debuggers.
  • Ch. 8 How to make charts, graphs and tables of data from your Rails applications.
  • Ch. 9 Finishes the core of the book with methods on profiling and optimizing Flex code for better client-side performance.

Guide Review - Flex on Rails: Building Rich Internet Applications with Adobe Flex 3 and Rails 2

Flex on Rails - Building Rich Internet Applications with Adobe Flex 3 and Rails 2 by Tony Hillerson and Daniel Wanja is not a book for Rails-only programmers. Those wanting to continue using HTML and Javascript interfaces to their Rails applications won't find this book very interesting. This isn't a book for Flex programmers either. Flex programmers won't find very much new information in this book. The sections pertaining to the server-side aspects of Rails is a small portion of this book, and can be read mostly from the documentation. So what is this book?

This book is for Rails programmers who want to add Flex to their toolbox. Flex is Adobe's client-side application framework for interacting with web services. This is, of course, a natural fit with Rails. In fact, many Rails applications can work with Flex with just a minimum of modification. This book is for bootstrapping Rails programmers into the Flex world. All the basics of installing Flex, getting your Rails application producing XML data and consuming this XML data with Flex are covered.

It also takes you on a whirlwind tour of many aspects of Flex development. However, these topics are merely touched on, none of these topics are covered in any great depth. The last third of the book is devoted to chapters like these. At a little over 300 pages, Flex on Rails can't pretend to be a comprehensive reference.

Though, for a "bootstrap" book, Flex on Rails serves its purpose. It teaches Rails programmers how to get going with Flex, shows them the basics, how to do a variety of things, and generally orients them in the Flex world. Programmers who want to take Flex to the next level will have to see more comprehensive materials on Flex.

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