There is a well-defined lifecycle you should use that involve createChildren, commitProperties, measure and updateDisplayList. See the doc on building custom components
Flex SDK Developer
Adobe Systems Inc.
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The documentation Alex referred to is following:
Another great resource for component life cycle is, "Programming Flex 3".
On another note, to Alex, I appreciate the work you have put into your blog. I have came across it several times when seeking for answers and learned a lot from it. Thanks.
Thank you very much!
This is one of those things that have been keeping me from really nailing down good application architecture.