I'm pretty new to Flex for mobile development, so I may be missing something obvious.
Does anybody know of a way to mimic the behavior of the iPhone's contacts app, where items are displayed in a list view, but an alphabetical index is displayed on the right? This lets a user jump to specific points in the list quickly. If that's not possible, how do you guys handle finding data quickly in very long lists?
that feature is called *index list* and it is specific to iOS and to one specific style of UITableView only (so it not so commonly used). I don't think it managed to find a way as extension to spark List component but you could roll your own view to navigate within List component when specific section is touched (clicked).
Instead more common way is applied by using input text field working for data filtering. You could see example of it using that sample from Adobe dev net:
(it is not simple application to test - but it includes search input text field and use it extensively). Just open views and see how it is positioned and built withing .mxml file.