I found the reason for the error 1008 and fixed that problem. It turns out the Create Database...wizard generates code which is deprecated. I made changes in XMLSerializer.class.php, PEAR.php, Parser.php, Unserializer.php changing '&new' to 'new' where code was trying to instantiate something. In case you want to know, I found this error by commenting out the gateway.resultFormat = "e4x" line in the mytableScripts.as file and then setting a breakpoint in the deserialize method and saw a bunch of deprecated error messages in the obj variable. Even after fixing this, there still is a strange behavior in that when I try to update data in the first column (after the primary key column) of each record, I get an error saying 'No row found'. (I can see this error is generated in the main .php script which is called by my HTTPService, but don't know why it thinks it can't find the row. I am able to update other columns in that row and am also able to search by that first column.
Duh. I found the reason my first column wasn't being updated and instead I was getting No row found. (BTW I am leaving all this info here in case it is useful to some other Newbies trying all this for the first time.) I found in the .php generated by the wizard that for the update() method it was first doing a SELECT for the record using the column I had specified to be the filter field (in this case it happens to be the first column after the key field column), instead of doing a SELECT on the primary key field. So I corrected that in the php, and now I can update data in the first column. Seems this Flex Builder wizard isn't bomb proof in how it works. I guess the good news, is that all these bugs ARE forcing me to figure out all the details and learn php.