Where do we go from here?

My previous post completes what was hopefully a good introduction to Flex 3 so what next? Well don’t worry, there’s plenty more stuff out there to learn.

To start with, Flex 4 is in beta now and due to be released some time this year. It’s not a complete redo so there’s plenty that carries over from 3. Many of the changes revolve around the new Spark component set and the way they’ve separated out appearance (with skinning), states (with the new states design) and behavior. This supports the Catalyst tool as I’ve covered briefly in prior posts.

You can download the SDK for Flex 4 Beta2 from here and use it with FlashDevelop (although it only understands the MX namespace right now so it’s MXML autocomplete isn’t very helpful).

There’s a good article on the differences between Flex 3 & 4 here to get you started and that’s certainly something I plan to post more on in the future.

Another avenue for exploration is frameworks – if you’re going to be writing Flex professionally as part of a team or larger apps on your own, you’re probably going to need to know about them. One of the oldest and most well known is Adobe Cairngorm. It’s sometimes criticized as heavy and requiring a lot of boilerplate code but because it’s well known, it’s probably worth at least knowing how it works. A newer contender is the Swiz framework. I’ve seen a couple of presentations on this and plan to get to know it a lot better.

There are plenty of ActionScript libraries you can use, I’ve already written about Google maps and the FLAR toolkit manager but I plan to start looking more into data visualization using Axiis in the future.

All in all, I’d say there’s plenty to keep me busy here!

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