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.
A couple of weeks ago I read the book Flex 4 - Training from the source. It is the officially introduction book for Flex 4 from Adobe. I was very curious about the book, because I started learning Flex 3 with no good start. For Flex 4 I wanted to learn it how I like to learn new things.
For two or three years I wanted to work seriously with Arduino. During this time I have done the same basic LED exercises again and again. Just for keeping alive my basic knowledge. Finally and luckily, I had to visit the Advanced Microcontroller lecture by Laurent Mignonneau. Laurent is the definition of a Geek himself. Not much talking, just doing, and a fucking huge amount of knowledge in electronics and programming. The assignment for his lecture was to create SOMETHING with a low resolution screen. Really advanced examples of a low resolution screen are the androp project (Making of | strobo animation) or Laurent's solar display (concept).
The last few weeks I did some research on the trendy topic generative art and design. I was very enthusiastically for reading the Form + Code book from Casey Reas, Chandler McWilliams, and the agency LUST.
The content of this book is very well structured. The first chapters introduces programming and the special characteristics of computers in design and art very well. I really appreciate it, that they chose the more concept introduction, then a technical focus. For this reason the reader gets a very good picture why the computer and programming could be helpful for creating new experiences. The transition from the introduction into the toolbox of creative coding is perfectly done. They explained the concepts of Repeat, Transform, Parameterize, Visualize, Simulate pretty good. Especially, the chosen examples of artworks for the various toolboxes are very appropriate. Therefore this book is a very useful resource for research in a scientific environment. The positive argument is also the little weakness of this book. In a theoretical terms everything is fine. The reader gets a very good introduction in this new topic. In practical terms the reader is very often alone with the code examples. Only two or four pages are too less for inexperienced programmers and designers. They are not going to understand and even learn so much from these code examples. The book delivers so much good content, but on the practical site if failed for me. For German-speaking and French-speaking people it is not worse, because the book Generative Gestaltung (review comes soon) is the perfect complement for this book. The book Generative Gestaltung has got some minor weakness on theoretical aspects, but the practical part and the learning from code is perfectly done!
However, this book belongs to every book collection of visual programmers, new media artists and designers. It is definitely the money worth! I enjoyed the reading very much.
Reminder for Flashers:
This books reminds me strongly on the creative coding beginnings, like it was with Flash 4, 5 and 6. Flashers, please don't forget your roots! Have also a look on the the old Flash Math Creativity Books (edition 2). Further good code examples are available on Liquid Journey. Joshua Davis and Branden Hall created a very good Flash library for generative design. Check out their Hype Framework!