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The 13 chapters in this book are broken into 3 parts: Development, Technology, and Productivity. Here's a quick overview of each.
This first part of the book concentrates on identifying where Flash applications fit. If you're not already convinced that the time for Flash applications is now, you will be a believer after reading the first chapter. It's not so much that I need to persuade you, but perhaps by positioning Flash and ensuring it's given the respect it deserves , we can help continue to grow Flash's acceptance. That is, I know it's cool and you know it's cool, but how can others be convinced? You should have the answers after reading Chapter 1, "Replacing Web Pages with Applications."
Chapter 2, "Designing Flash Applications," steps back and analyzes how to most appropriately use Flash. It forces you to justify the use of Flash. You will also look at various alternatives to ensure that you're using Flash for the right reasons.
I suppose this part of the book puts Flash in perspective.
If this book were a sandwich, this part would be the meat. And the sandwich would be one of those stacked high with meat. If it's a technical detail, it's probably in this part of the book.
Instead of looking at building an application in a linear or project-based manner, this part of the book focuses on data. How to organize data, how to get data into Flash, how to process data and present it to the user , and how to get data back out of Flash if needed. Some applications you build will need to do all of this, but sometimes you'll only need to perform some of these tasks . I do think a key attribute of any application is that it can manage data.
You'll also see a lot of the new features in Flash MX 2004. On the surface, this book is about building apps. But when I look back, this book is also about the new features in Flash. Interestingly, that's nearly the same thing. Flash has grown in areas to enable people to make rich Internet applications. Therefore, it makes sense to concentrate on the new features.
Finally, I've condensed everything I know about Flash Communication Server down to two chapters. Although this product is sold separately, there is a free developer version. So you can definitely follow along. (Note, however, that you won't be able to deploy any Flash Communication Server apps on Macintosh.) The primary reason I included these chapters is that the product is so amazingly cool. But really, I just want you to have a good grasp on what's possible and what's involved in adding Communication Server features to your app. On the surface, the cost of Communication Server can appear high; however, only after you have an idea of the exact value the product offers will you be able to accurately assess whether it's appropriate for your app (and worth the price). In any event, I'll bet most people will get hooked. (I know I did.)
When you start this part, be ready to sink your teeth in. And don't forget to take breaksnot to rest, but to go try this stuff out!
This part of the book covers specific techniques, as well as how to develop a general attitude that can help reduce work. Yes, programmers are lazy. We look for ways to avoid work.
Although this part of the book is just as technical as any other, it doesn't flow from one chapter to the next the way the rest of the book does. In fact, I think of these chapters almost like appendixes. You'll find collections of tips concentrating on production, debugging, and building a code library. Chapter 12, "Using Components," is probably the most cohesive because it covers just one topic. Because there are so many different components , however, the chapter is like others in this section: a list of specific ideas on a single topic.
Don't worry; the chapters in this part should be easy enough to follow. I just suspect if you revisit these chapters later it will be for reference.
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