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Creating Visual Experiences with Flex 3.0

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Creating Visual Experiences with Flex 3.0

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  • Copyright 2009
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-280027-6
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-280027-3

Don’t settle for Flex’s boring, standard user interface. Set your Flex applications apart with the breakthrough skinning and programming techniques found in Creating Visual Experiences with Flex 3.0. Leading Flex developers Juan Sanchez and Andy McIntosh show how to build stunning Flex and AIR applications. You’ll learn how to take a design and translate that design into Flex or AIR without sacrificing fidelity, and how to apply state-of-the-art branding that adds value to all your Flex applications, no matter what they do or who you’re building them for.

Sanchez and McIntosh illuminate every aspect of creating superior visual experiences with Flex 3.0 and AIR and discuss planning, design, architecture, and proven user-interface principles, with an emphasis on technical implementation. You’ll learn how to alter the standard Flex interface using all the tools available to you: skins, styling, transitions, effects, filters, graphics built with Adobe creative tools, CSS, and ActionScript 3.0 programming.

The authors reveal the trade-offs associated with each approach to Flex visual experience design and help you choose the right techniques for your applications. They explain each concept and technique in detail, using real-world examples and exercises that solve specific problems and provide samples throughout each chapter.

If you want your Flex and AIR applications to be a cut above the rest, this is the book that shows you how.

Sample Content

Table of Contents

Foreword xix

Preface xxi

Acknowledgments xxv

About the Authors xxvi

Part I: Introduction 1

Chapter 1: Rich Internet Applications 3

The Audience 3

The Content 4

User Interaction 6

The Presentation 7

Summary 11

Chapter 2: Adobe Flex and AIR 13

Flex 3.0 Framework 13

Developing Flex Applications 15

Summary 17

Part II: The Flex 3 Framework 19

Chapter 3: Dynamic Layout 21

Understanding Flex Layout 21

Automatic Positioning 23

Absolute Positioning 25

Sizing Components 29

Managing Scrolling 31

Summary 35

Chapter 4: Styling 37

Understanding Style Properties 37

Applying Styles Inline 40

Applying Styles Using CSS 41

Style Precedence 44

Working with Styles Using ActionScript 48

Styling in Design View 51

CSS Design View 54

Themes 56

Summary 56

Chapter 5: Graphical Skinning 57

Difference Between Bitmap and Vector 60

Embedding Graphics in Flex 3 61

Using 9-Slice Grids 62

Naming Conventions for Skin Importing 64

Using the Skin Import Wizard 67

Working with Skins in CSS Design View 69

Skin Templates 70

Mixing Tools 71

Summary 72

Chapter 6: Programmatic Skinning 73

Introducing the Drawing API 74

Creating a Programmatic Skin 75

Understanding Measurement and Programmatic

Skinning 80

Summary 81

Chapter 7: Lists and Navigation Components 83

List-Based Components 84

Item Renderers and Editors 87

Navigation Controls 91

Navigation Containers 95

Specifying Labels and Icons 98

Using a List-Based Component for Navigation 99

Summary 100

Chapter 8: Indicators and Cursors 101

Understanding by Example 101

Icons 103

Focus Border 105

Tool Tips 107

Using the Tool Tip Manager 113

Cursors 115

Summary 118

Chapter 9: Fonts and Text 119

Attention to Text 119

Customizing Fonts 120

Embedding Fonts 121

Using Fonts from SWFs 123

Advanced Anti-Alias Properties 123

Specifying Character Ranges 124

Working with Fonts in CSS Design View 126

Text Styling for Consistency 126

Working with Text 127

Working with HTML Text 129

Summary 133

Chapter 10: Filters and Blends 135

Filters 135

Working with Filters 136

Filter Properties 138

Applying Filters 139

Blends 142

Summary 145

Chapter 11: Effects and Transitions 147

Using Effects and Transitions 147

Effects 151

Applying Effects 152

Compound Effects 156

Easing Functions 158

Repurposing Effects 162

Data Effects 162

Default Data Effects 163

Custom Data Effects 165

Other Tweening Options 167

Transitions 168

View States 168

Adding Transitions 171

Summary 176

Part III: Beyond Flex 177

Chapter 12: Flex and Flash Integration 179

Flex Component Kit 179

Motion XML 182

Summary 183

Chapter 13: Customizing AIR Applications 185

Getting Started 186

Working with Window Chrome 188

Custom Application Icons 191

Summary 191

Part IV: Exercises 193

Exercise 4.1: Loading a Style Sheet at Runtime 195

Summary 199

Exercise 5.1: Creating a Graphical Skin with Flash 201

Getting Started 202

Creating the Artwork 202

Converting Artwork to Symbols 204

Setting the 9-Slice Scale Grids 206

Bringing Your Flash Artwork into Flex 206

The Final Product 209

Taking This Example Further 210

Using Bitmap Assets in Flash 211

Skin Templates for Flash 212

Summary 212

Exercise 5.2: Creating a Graphical Skin with Illustrator 213

Getting Started 213

Creating the Artwork 214

Taking Your Skin Artwork into Flex 217

Taking This Example Further 220

Using Skin Templates 221

Summary 222

Exercise 5.3: Creating a Graphical Skin with Fireworks 223

Getting Started 224

Creating the Artwork 224

Bringing Your Skins into Flex 228

The Finished Product 232

Taking This Example Further 232

Using Skin Templates 232

Summary 234

Exercise 5.4: Creating a Graphical Skin with Photoshop 235

Getting Started 236

Creating the Artwork 236

Taking Your Skin Artwork into Flex 240

The Final Product 245

Taking This Example Further 245

Using Skin Templates 246

Summary 247

Exercise 6.1: Creating a Programmatic Skin 249

Setting Up a Testing Harness 250

Creating the Skin Class 251

Applying the Skin to the Buttons 252

Drawing the Artwork 253

Applying Styles 261

The Final Product 262

Taking This Example Further 262

Summary 264

Exercise 7.1: Creating a Chat Dialog Window Using a List 265

Getting Started 265

Testing the Application 268

Summary 273

Exercise 7.2: Creating a Photo Gallery Using a Tile List 275

Summary 282

Exercise 9.1: Embedding a Font in a SWF File Using Flash 285

Summary 286

Exercise 9.2: Packaging a CSS File with a Font as a SWF 287

Summary 289

Exercise 9.3: Creating a Style Sheet for HTML Text 291

Summary 295

Exercise 11.1: Applying a Custom Effect 297

Summary 299

Exercise 11.2: Creating a Transition between Views States 301

Summary 312

Exercise 12.1: Creating a Graphical Skin Using the Flex Component Kit 313

Creating the Skin Structure 313

Creating the Skin Artwork 316

Creating Transitions 318

Setting the 9-Slice Grid 321

Bringing the Flash Skin into Flex 321

The Final Product 326

Creating Other Assets 327

Summary 327

Exercise 12.2: Using Flash Skin Templates 329

Summary 331

Exercise 12.3: Creating a Custom Container Using the Flex Component Kit 333

Creating a Basic Container in Flash 333

Bringing Your Custom Container into Flex 335

Summary 337

Exercise 12.4: Using Motion XML 339

Preparing Flex 343

Summary 346

Part V: References 347

Appendix A: Skinning and Styling Diagrams 349

Appendix B: Filters Cheat Sheet 367

Appendix C: Resources and Cool Stuff 371

User Experience Design 371

Flex Skins and Themes 371

Flex Component Kit 372

Flex Explorers 372

Community Flex Components 372

Flex Libraries and Frameworks 373

Reference 373

Downloads 374

Community 374

Adobe Blogs 374

Other Blogs 375

Flex and AIR Showcase 376

Icons 377

Fonts 377

Graphics 378

Index 379


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