Book review: Developing Flex 4 Components
A couple of weeks ago I finished reading the book "Developing Flex 4 Components" by Mike Jones. The reviews on Amazon.com were very promising and during my Flex 3 developing I always wished such a book. For this reason my expectations were very high.
I wasn't disappointed. The book is a perfect continuation of the Flex 4 beginner book "Flex 4 - Training from the source". Even it repeats some content like Data Binding and basics of developing custom compontents, it was enjoyable to read. Mike Jones has a really nice writing style for explaining the core concepts of the Flex 4 component and skinning architecture very easily. These chapters are really one of the best availabe informations to these kind of topics. Completely new for me was the chapter about "working with Metadata". I learnt some deep concepts behind the Meta-tag usage of the Flex Framework. The same is valid for the "Distribution" part of the book. The development worklflow with Flash Library Project, Component Integraton in Flash Builder 4, and the Documentation part are very helpful for my future projects.
I can highly recommend this book for experienced beginner and intermediate Flex Developers. For really advanced Flex developers I missed some more deeper information. Here is my wishlist for a second edition (maybe it comes some time?!):
- Data Binding: This topic is mentioned but I wish more deeper information like the presentation "Diving in the Flex Data Binding Waters" by Michael Labriola and the compound data object approach by Olikhver Sergey
- Component Skinning architecture for multi-screen objects: If you have a very complex application or you have to create various skins for various devices, you can run very fast in an architecture nightmare. See the article Advanced Flex 4 Skinning Techniques by Pavel Jacko
- Differences between mobile component and desktop component development
- For some certain cases the hack with the mx_internal namespace makes still sense. A short segment or a mini chapter about the use of this approach would be nice.
- Test Driven Development with Flex Unit: I don't know if Flex Unit really belongs to this kind of book, but if you are creating a component library, then you should use Flex Unit. Just for ensure the quality of your compontes for upcoming versions. Especially, writing and managing Flex Unit code for visual components is always tricky. Some advices for this topic would be so nice.
That is all what I can say. Mike Jones wrote a really good book about Flex 4 component development. It is a must-buy for every Flex Developer.