I usually don't have questions to ask authors I just read their books :-] But since I plan to develop my next application with Flex (and Java of course ;-) and I don't have much experience with it I have few questions if that book could turn out as great help for me.
I want to ask if this book is well suited for advanced Java developer who wants to learn new technology for making GUI for his/her applications and does not have experience with Flex?
Does the book covers basic topics/introduction to Flex and its SDK?
Are there in book any tutorials or robust examples that you can actually run on your computer or are there just code snippets cutout from bigger picture that focus on some particular aspect (of a matter)?
Hehe... I wouldn't let the TOC scare you. Its true that the first 8 chapters didn't change much from Flex 3 in Action. But that is only because the fundamentals of the Flex framework and ActionScript haven't changed. After that, you have 17 chapters of fresh content that consist of code "snippets", as well as full blown applications as you get into the later chapters. We did our best at making the book progressive, meaning that you can read it cover-to-cover, as opposed to being just a reference tool. One difference you will notice is that there is a lot more commentary than what is typical with Flex and AS3 books. You get to read about specific experiences that we've had, where we had some hard-learned lessons. To me, this is just as valuable as the code. I like the rare occasion that I find a computer book written by an author or authors that gives a lot of insight and actually discusses the how and the *why*, rather than overwhelming you with code. I think that's what I like most about Manning. They encourage their authors to keep things interesting by providing commentary and insight on the subjects. Otherwise it just gets dry after a while.
I think the book caters to a wide range because it goes from the simplest basics all the way to advanced enterprise architecture and design patterns, as well as development methodologies like TDD with FlexUnit4. Some might suggest that it covers *too* much, but that is the nature of the beast when you're dealing with such a wide range of skillsets as there is with the Flex community. Its rare to find a book that can take you from beginner to hardcore Flexmonster, but I tend to prefer this type of book over those that fit into either beginner, intermediate, or advanced. I've read the vast majority of Flex and AS3 books, and I'd have to say that while we cover the basics, we also go where few authors have dared to go yet... dealing with real-world issues like what to do when you encounter a massive enterprise Flex application with no architecture that has gotten out of control. Hopefully this gives a little bit of insight into what the book is like overall.
Dan Orlando Adobe Community Professional
Author, Flex 4 in Action (Manning Press)