Working with Flex
Flex is a framework for developing rich Internet applications, and it is built around ActionScript 3.0
and Flash Player 9, currently version 3. The object of Flex is to provide functionality that allows developers
to quickly and easily build rich applications that can be deployed on the Internet, while still
allowing access to the expressiveness and visual capabilities of Flash.
The framework supports an XML-based language called MXML that can be used in the specification
and development of user interfaces. To support this, it offers a wide variety of prebuilt UI components
including buttons, text fields, data grids, graphs/charts, and components supporting drag-and-drop.
Other features also allow the developer to consume web services and work with XML data with ease.
This gives the developer a powerful platform upon which they can mash up web services and create
entirely new applications.
On the application architecture side, the move to ActionScript 3.0 and features such as the eventhandling
model allow for the development of much more well-structured and maintainable applications,
leveraging industry-standard design patterns and architectural practices.
Flex applications can be developed either by using freely available command-line tools that are distributed
as part of the Flex SDK or by using Adobe’s commercially licensed Flex Builder (see Figure 2-5)—
an IDE built upon the open source Eclipse platform.