[ADV] Flexible Rails Alpha Book now available

Announcing the "Alpha Book" version of Flexible Rails.

This is an in-progress, PDF-only book about using Rails 1.1 and Adobe Flex 2 to build Rich Internet Applications (RIAs).

It is not an exhaustive Rails tutorial (AWDwR does that already) or a Flex 2 reference manual (Adobe ships over 3000 pages of PDF reference documentation with Flex 2).

Instead, it is (in the process of becoming) an extensive tutorial, developed iteratively, on building a fairly interesting RIA using Flex 2 and Rails 1.1 together.

It is currently 214 pages, or 169 pages if you don't count the Preface and the six Appendices full of installation instructions. I expect it is between 20% and 40% of the final length of the book. There are many revisions to come in the evenings and weekends over the months ahead. That said, there is enough useful material and code in it that I can sell it with the belief that readers will get their money's worth today.

Obviously, purchasers of any version (Alpha, Beta, Final) of this first edition of this book are entitled to a free PDF copy of every subsequent version of this first edition of this book.

For more information visit http://www.flexiblerails.com.

Thanks, Peter Armstrong

Hello Peter,     Sorry for the very VERY stupid question, but, no-where on that page do I actually see a description of -what- Flex is, nor why I would be interested in using it with RoR. Not that I am bashing the application/language/book or yourself, but, it -may- be a good idea if your posting to the forum to have on the first page a 'What is Flex ?' and perhaps a 'What will Flex do for me ?' ...

    Sorry, I know, stupid, but I am currently in 'buzzword-overload' as is with Rails ;>     Regards     Stef (ps. opinions stated are mine, purely mine, and probably whole heartedly stupid/wrong and asinine :slight_smile:

Peter Armstrong wrote:

Hi Stef,

My bad: I've been using Flex full-time for a couple years (since before Flex 1.0) and I've forgotten that it's not as well known as Rails--especially on this list, of course! I'll update the page shortly with a short description of Flex (with a diagram from my book which shows how it interacts with Rails) and a bunch of links...

Briefly, Flex is a way of building applications that run inside the Flash player. You write code in ActionScript (similar to JavaScript) and layout a GUI using MXML (an XML dialect). This is all compiled into a SWF file that runs inside the Flash player.

So what does this have to do with Rails? Simple: in all the discussion so far, I have not mentioned a server-side technology stack. That's where Rails fits in. (Well, 2/3 of Rails: Action View obviously isn't as central to the Flex + Rails equation as Active Record and Action Controller are.)

Flex is intended to be easy to learn for developers with absolutely no Flash experience but who have experience developing web or desktop applications. This was true for me when I learned Flex 1.0: I had never used Flash, but very quickly I had written the better part of a chess game (fairly slick Flex client, a server written in Java, etc). (My background is years of working full-time with Java Swing, with a few months of PHP over six years ago.)

Earlier versions of Flex targeted Flash 7 and Flash 8; the book is about Flex 2, which targets Flash 9.

Cheers, Peter

How is the coparision between flex and openlaszlo from a rails developer's point of view ?

Thanks, Pratik

Hi Pratik,

I haven't done much with OpenLaszlo beyond "hello world" a long time ago, so I can't say anything meaningful about the comparison. There is work being done though:


OpenLaszlo vs. Flex 2 vs. AJAX is an interesting question. For me, it comes down to choosing the best tool for your requirements. If you need to target Flash 7, for example, OpenLaszlo obviously wins over Flex 2. Luckily, Rails is such a great framework that it can work with all three...

Thanks, Peter