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March 11, 2010

Flex 3 Tutorials

With Web users expecting richer and more complex interfaces, Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) are seeing a huge increase in popularity. Adobe Flex is the tool of choice for many web developers when it comes to building RIAs.

Flex used to be one of those technologies that was only used by large corporate organisations -- the first release of Flex was priced at around US$15,000 per CPU (a tad expensive for most developers) Since then, Flex has been released as open source software. Talk about a complete turnaround!

Flex is now in version 3.0, and runs on the Adobe Flash Player 9 runtime. Flex 3.0 has been such a success that Flex 4.0 has been announced for release in 2009. As a developer, getting in early and learning all you can now is a good idea -- standing out in the Flex community will soon become extremely difficult.

Developers are picking up Flex with great speed. One of the reasons for this is that Flex programming is relatively easy to learn if you're already familiar with XHTML. Of course, there's always a transition period when you're getting used to a new environment, but learning Flex won't take long!

Another drawcard is that Flex applications can be developed to run on a user's desktop thanks to the wonders of the Adobe AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) platform. Now you can develop and launch an RIA that runs in a web browser and as a desktop application. Deploying an application to a user's desktop with Adobe AIR is easy -- all that users need to do is click a link in the web browser to install the AIR runtime and your RIA on their machine. Now that's quick deployment!
he first thing you'll notice is that MXML is an XML format. To indicate to the Flex compiler that we're defining an application, we use the element, in the same way we use the tags to define a web page. We can then add other elements within the tag. In the above example, we've added a tag to create a button, just as we'd use an tag in a web page form.

As you can see, this is all very similar to constructing a traditional web page, and the framework provides you with everything you might use in XHTML (buttons, lists, etc.) and more. All you have to learn is the properties, methods and the names of the components in the framework, all of which are available from the Adobe Flex 3 language reference.

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