also should mention that when I do the compile it spits out this message:
Warning: This compilation unit did not have a factoryClass specified in Frame metadata to load the configured runtime shared libraries. To compile without runtime shared libraries either set the -static-link-runtime-shared-libraries option to true or remove the -runtime-shared-libraries option.
I am not sure what compiler options u are using to compile your code. If use option -debug=true swf file size will be large having debug capability. By default debug option value is false so if u don't give this option the generated swf will be a small size (used for production) with no debug capabilities.
Also if you are using Flash Builder by default it compiles code with debug option true. So the sample swf you are looking might be compiled with Flash Builder having a big size and debugging capabilites.
I'm not really worried about the file size. I just pointed it out in my original post because I think it indicates that I'm doing something wrong. Let me try and rephrase my main problem.
I have been using the open source flex compiler for a few months and I am able to compile mxml files that include .as files that I import. When I do that I am left with a .swf file that I can put on my web server and run inside of a web page etc..
What is different now is that I have a book with code examples that I downloaded. These examples are almost just like what I have been doing for months, the only difference is that there is no file ending in mxml to serve as a main class. It is .as files all the way down. When I pass the main .as file as a command line option to my compiler it produces a swf file but it doesn't work at runtime. I don't know why but I am almost certain that it is not including the imported class files in the final binary.