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thanks - this is quite helpful. Now another question to dig a bit deeper. Realistically, how long does it take one to become proficient at Flex - enough to build a useful application? I know that all depends, but here's my drift. I was looking at using Google Maps to be able to open a map for a prescribed area, then be able to draw something akin to traffic information along side the roads using latitude and longitude information from a sql database. But I also want these statistical markings on the map to be mouse-able. It seems farily straightforward that this can be done in Google Maps, but perhaps there are other reasons that Flex would be a better choice.
How long it takes to learn Flex depends to a large extent on your past experience with programming, design, web technologies.
Go through this FlexBuilder help sys topic and all sub-topics and you will have a good foundation. I went through it twice and then got Flex certified:
"Adobe Flex 3 Help"
You can actually use both Flex and Google Maps using the Google Maps API for Flex.
I'd say it takes three months to really understand Flex and be proficient at it. Within a year, you can become an expert with some hardwork. The new Flex in a week tutorials make it easy to get up to speed.