Flash is traditionally an environment for designers, but the design aspects of Flash are not covered in this book. This book assumes you are familiar with the Flash authoring environment. When I mention the Actions panel, for example, I assume you know to find it under Window Actions (F9). If not, go through the Flash tutorials under Help Flash Tutorials, or read an overall tutorial book on the Flash MX environment and workflow, such as Macromedia Flash MX Hands-On Training (Peachpit Press).
Flash Remoting is not complex, but it helps to know the Flash authoring tool. If you are familiar with other programming environments, such as the Visual Basic or Delphi environments, learning the Flash interface is easy. Coming from a Visual Basic background, I felt right at home in Flash MX. Flash Pro extends the forms-based visual metaphor, making it even more accessible to Visual Basic developers.
Object-oriented programming (OOP) will play an important role in this book, but again, this isn't a book on OOP. I assume you have at least a passing knowledge of OOP; the book uses OOP techniques when they make sense, but it is not bound by them. There are some OOP purists who may scoff at some of the techniques, but it is my goal to show you the techniques you need to utilize Flash Remoting. OOP is, after all, only a methodology. It is most often the best tool for the job, but I don't want to burden the code with OOP for its own sake.
This book does not teach ColdFusion, C#, or Java; however, basic programming knowledge is sufficient to understand the examples even if you don't know much about server-side programming. Because Flash Remoting can be used in a variety of environments, examples are presented in different technologies. Wherever applicable , the server-side examples show ColdFusion (CFML), J2EE (Java), PHP, and ASP.NET (C# or VB) code. The Flash ActionScript, in most cases, remains essentially the same. Independence of the server-side server model is another cool benefit of Flash Remoting. O'Reilly has a slew of excellent books on C#, Java, PHP, and ASP.NET. See Appendix B for some recommendations, or see the O'Reilly catalog page at http://www.oreilly.com/catalog for a more complete list. For guidance on ColdFusion, see Programming ColdFusion MX by Rob Brooks-Bilson (O'Reilly).