By Rich Tretola
Published July 2011 List Price:$29.99, Your Amazon.com Price: $29.99
Amazon.com Sales Rank:5,670,800 Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Ready to put your ActionScript 3 skills to work on mobile apps? This hands-on book walks you through the process of creating an Adobe AIR application for Blackberry Tablets from start to finish, using the Flex 4.5 framework. Move quickly from a basic Hello World application to complex interactions with Blackberry APIs, and get complete code examples for working with tablet components'''including the accelerometer, GPS unit, camera, file system, and multitouch screen. This is an ideal resource no matter how much Flex experience you have.
Use Flash Builder 4.5 to create and debug a Flex Mobile project
Choose a layout option to determine which files Flash Builder autogenerates
Obtain permissions you need to install your app on a Blackberry Tablet
Read and write text files, browse the file system for media files, and create and write to an SQLite database
Learn how to use native qnx components within your application
Publish your app to a BlackBerry installer file with Flash Builder
GDNet Staff Review: Developing Blackberry Tablet Applicationswith Flex 4.5 is the secondrecent book I've seen that fits in with their recent push towards smaller andmore focused titles intended to be read paperless. I don'''t know if this is anofficial direction, but their 100-page titles are certainly a departure fromtheir larger more comprehensive works. Also, they are pushing more towardse-books with more aggressive pricing and a wider selection of DRM-free formats.
Also, O'Reilly'sebook pricing has become more aggressive. The DRM-encumbered Kindle version onAmazon is $10, compared to $28 for the paper version (or $20 for DRM-free fileson O'Reilly's site). That's about the steepest "free yourself ofpaper" discount I've found.
On to the book. Myinitial impression of the title was "why bother with such a book?"After all, Flex is one of those "write once run everywhere"platforms, and Flex on Playbook should be the same as Flex on every othermobile device. And that is true to an extent. And the rest is most of what makesup this book. Much of DevelopingBlackberry Tablet Applications with Flex 4.5 involves the stuff that isdifferent, both in the build process and in code. And the differences betweenPlaybook Flex and generic mobile Flex is the stuff that's not easy to findanyway. For one, RIM built their own UIclasses that display Playbook's native components rather than Flex's generic UIcomponents. That way you can build an app that does not look like a Flex app butlike other "native" Playbook apps.
The book beginslogically, with about the first third (remember this is a short book) devotedto building a simple app and deploying it on the Playbook emulator as well asPlaybook hardware.
The middle third ismore generic and is the least necessary, covering how to build and wire up FlexUI's to code. I say it is the least necessary not because it is unimportant. Tothe contrary, wiring up UI's to code is what Flex is all about. It's just thatthis information is 100% cross-platform and can be found everywhere.
As for the qualityof the e-books, I must say that they're top notch. And this does bear mention,as I've seen some fairly poor paperless offerings. Publishers are finallyfiguring out that an e-book requires a bit more than just choosing "Printto PDF". Heck, I've seen e-books that still have the color alignmentguides and cut-marks in the corners. If you buy the paperless book onO'Reilly's site, you get a DRM-free PDF, EPUB, and MOBI version of the book,and they all look great and read just fine on every device I tried.
As an aside, it wasironic that the Playbook is the only mobile platform I can find without adecent free EPUB reader. It does read PDF, but I've yet to find a PDF readerthat is very mobile friendly. There are, however, a couple of good EPUB readersfor a couple of bucks in the Playbook App Store, so grab one there if youintend to read the book on its namesake platform.
Developing Blackberry Tablet Applicationswith Flex 4.5 is about whatit needs to be. It is concise. It is not too expensive. And it gives you theinformation you need if you plan to build something for the Playbook with Flex.