Flex by Adobe is one of those products that can be used by both designers and developers without making either group feel left out or left behind. Designers can use Flex Builder while developers can dig their hands into the Flex SDK.
The Flex Builder IDE is less expensive than other Adobe products but if you’re already good at hand-coding HTML, or at least understand the code, you may want to give the free Flex SDK a chance before you pay the full price for the Flex Builder IDE. If you decide the Flex SDK is the way to go you’ll find that price isn’t the only factor for choosing to learn Flex from the ground up. You’ll also learn how to fix problems and how it works under the hood, so to speak, which in the long run will make your Flex and web designs better.
The Flex language is mxml and is based on XML. XML stands for Extensible Markup Language and one of the places you’ll see it used is in RSS feeds. The first line in your Flex application reflects this as it starts with xml version=”1.0″ and then moves on from there.
There are already some books on Adobe Flex at bookstores and more are on the way. Three of the books already at bookstores are: “Programming Flex 2: The comprehensive guide to creating rich media applications with Adobe Flex,” “Adobe Flex 2: Training from the Source” and “The Essential Guide to Flex 2 with Actionscript 3.0.” If you go on Amazon.com and enter the phrase “Adobe Flex,” you’ll see what’s available currently and the dates of the upcoming Flex 2 book releases.
If you want to save your money, you can always see if your local library has these titles or will be getting them. Also, check out the Adobe web site. They have a lot of information on using Flex 2 and show great samples to give you an idea of what you can do with Flex and where to start with Flex. You can get to the Flex information on the Adobe site at: www.adobe.com/products/flex and from there you can see the myriad of choices Adobe offers you for information on Flex. On the right hand side of the web page, under “See also,” the second link down says “Flex documentation.” That link itself is a gold mine for Flex 2 information. You can look at the Live Docs or download the PDFs. You’ll also find there the Language Reference and information on Actionscript 3.0 which will greatly enhance your Flex applications.
If you choose the Flex SDK route, then you can use any text editor. One really useful open source text editor that will work great with your Flex apps is FlashDevelop. The syntax highlighting is helpful and you can set it for XML or AS3 to use in your Flex apps.
Flex 2 is a great tool and makes the development of Rich Internet Applications easier and quicker.