9 Replies Latest reply on Oct 27, 2011 12:35 PM by lelliott78

    Getting started with Flex ...


      Hi All,


      I've been looking a Flex over the last couple of weeks and have managed to setup a couple of basic projects that can read data from a mySQL database etc...  However when it comes to understanding some of the more advanced frameworks and options to use with Flex it starts to get very overwhelming.


      Does anyone have any pointers/suggestions for good material (online or books etc) to start with Flex.  I come from an Oracle Forms development background and in terms of setting up an application with a connection to a database Oracle Forms seems to a lot simplier than building a Flex database application (although the functionality of Oracle Forms as a lot more limited than Flex/Flash).


      I have taken a look at a the book Enterprise Development with Flex: Best Practices for RIA Developers (Adobe Dev Lib)http://www.amazon.com/Enterprise-Development-Flex-Practices-Developers/dp/059615416X/ref=s r_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1319581262&sr=1-6 by Yakov Fain, Victor Rasputnis and Anatole Tartakovsky (Mar 30, 2010), however the very first code example in the book appears to be dated and I'm having trouble getting it to work and finding the appropriately dated source files for the example project.


      I have also taken a quick look at Adobe Flex 4.5 Fundamentals: Training from the Source by Michael Labriola and Jeff Tapper (Aug 5, 2011) which appears to be a bit more recent, however I am not sure how much is covered regarding database connections to databases like mySQL and Oracle.


      Any suggestions on the best learning materials available would be really helpful.  At the moment it feels like I need to be an expert in Flex, MXML, ActionScript, Java, Spring, Hibernate, AMF, Maven, BlazeDS etc etc just to be able to create a simple database centric application (aarrgghh).


      Ideally I would love to be able to find a recent tutorial that goes through the building a relatively advanced Flex database centric application, that includes information about building a database based login/authentication system (without having to use PHP), and database controlled/stored main menu system and a system for modular sub tabs/screens/programs within a main application.




        • 1. Re: Getting started with Flex ...
          Amy Blankenship Level 4

          Since Flex only connects to the a technology that actually does the database part (like ASP, PHP, or whatever Oracle forms truly are), you probably already know all you need to know about the database part.  Where it gets dicey is that you need to decide if you want to try to build something from the get-go that is a scalable, decoupled architecture, or if you're ok fudging it for a while (some people never leave this stage, so don't feel bad if this is you).


          If you're in the second group, there are a lot of examples that you can reach from the start page in Flash Builder that show you just how to bung your service code into your View in a tightly coupled way and go happily about your business.


          If that's not you, you'll have to dig for it.  You might find these links at least get you looking at some of the Frameworks and ways to do this in a more decoupled way:





          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Getting started with Flex ...
            dwaynie Level 1

            You seen Flex in a Week on Adobe TV?



            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Getting started with Flex ...
              Mansuro Level 1

              You have to use a server technology along with Flex to make database connections and the stuff that comes with it. You have a wide choice: Java EE, spring, PHP, ColdFusion, .Net.

              • 4. Re: Getting started with Flex ...
                dwaynie Level 1

                You forgot to mention Rails Mansuro!

                • 5. Re: Getting started with Flex ...
                  Mansuro Level 1

                  Here is an example using spring http://coenraets.org/blog/2009/05/new-test-drive-for-spring-blazeds-integration-rc1/, The projects in the testdrive are pretty simple to do. I'd recommend using spring personnally, it alllows you to learn only what you need when you need it, it's easy to learn, and the spring community is working actively on spring flex integration.

                  • 7. Re: Getting started with Flex ...
                    lelliott78 Level 1

                    Thanks everyone for the replies.  I guess I'm a bit lazy when it comes to reading up on a technology I am not familiar with :-) .  What makes things worse is the Oracle Forms Builder IDE is very highly coupled to the Oracle database and therefore there is no requirement to know or understand the language or technology under hood (other than PL/SQL), Oracle takes care of that within the IDE and the Forms Java Bean (deployed by default with a middleware installation of Oracle application server).


                    @dwaynie Started working through the Flex in a week video training yesterday.  Its really good and probably the best place for me to start as it goes over a lot of the assumed knowledge regarding Flex, MXML and AS (stuff I have probably glossed over up until now)


                    @Mansuro noticed that spring has a dedicated page on the Flex/Flash plaform site so I'll probably look into this more down the track.  I guess the thing I am little confused about is that there are many examples online that integrate Spring + Hibernate + Maven + Java etc etc, I guess each framework has different features that the others don't and therefore all can be used at once, or does each one offer a completely different service?  More reading is required here I think.

                    • 8. Re: Getting started with Flex ...
                      Mansuro Level 1

                      Like you said, each one offer a different service:

                      - spring will take care of the business model and orchestrating between the different components: it will connect to flex and to hibernate

                      - hibernate is an ORM (Object Relational mapping) framework, it makes it easier for java developers who are not very familiar with sql to access the database, since you are already proficient in SQL, PL/SQL, you might want to use another method to interact with the tables in the database, here's what spring offers http://static.springsource.org/spring/docs/current/spring-framework-reference/html/spring- data-tier.html

                      - maven is a tool for automating the build, it's a very powerful tool, and can be used for many kinds of projects, to build flex classes using maven, you have to use the flexmojos plugin, it also has a good documentation, so you should be able to get started quickly

                      - blazeds is an open source server used to connect flex applications to the back-end, you won't need to learn a lot about it, all you have to do is to configure two simple xml files that contain information about how flex applications are going to connect with java


                      Don't worry, you don't need to be expert at any of the technologies, with just a basic understanding of some concepts, you will be able to write a flex application of any size.

                      • 9. Re: Getting started with Flex ...
                        lelliott78 Level 1

                        Thanks @Mansuro this is a really good high level explanation of the different technologies.  Adobe should look to give similar overview information on their Flash platform pages (they probably do and I've just missed it), little explanations like yours go a long way to helping complete newbies like me to work it all out.  Cheers.


                        Still working through Flex in a week and then next I'll read up on Spring ....