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Flex and Flash are two sides of the same coin. In the end, you get a SWF.
Flex doesn't have the concept of a timeline. You can use an ENTER_FRAME event handler to do animations. You can make figures completely out of ActionScript drawing commands, you can handle mouse events, keyboards, etc.
But Flash and Flex serve different purposes. You can certainly give it go, but Flash CS3 is the de facto way to do "classic" animations. Flex is more suitable for Enterprise development - it is more structured and the tools are different. This type of structure really puts a crimp into the artists' creativity.
That's why there is still a need for Flash in a Flex world. All of the artistic things are best done in Flash. All of the business things are best done in Flex.
peter, do i understand you correctly that just with flex it is _possible_ to do the 'artistic' things? what i actually want to do is create an animation, with sounds and moving objects, and timers (like moving to the next frame after a certain amount of time). can this be done using just actionscript and flex?
It is possible but I wouldn't want to do it. Here's an example. Suppose you want to make a butterfly move around and flap its wings.
In Flash, you've create a symbol for each wing and one for the butterfly body. Then you'd create a Butterfly MovieClip in which you animate the wings flapping using the timeline and keyframes.
To move about the screen you place the Butterfly on one layer and create a guide layer for it. On the guide layer you'd use the Pencil tool to make an eratic line. The Butterfly will follow this line, flapping its wings as it goes.
To do that in Flex would be quite an undertaking. You'd have to work with the ActionScript drawing commands (moveTo, drawTo) to make wings and the body. Then you'd have to figure out how to use the TweenEffect to get the wings to move correctly. Then you'd have to figure out some algorithm for moving it around the screen.
I'd say the Flash version could be done in an afternoon or less. The Flex way - who knows?