Confronted with 1028 pp (more or less) book on Flash Builder 4 and Flex 4 isn't as daunting as I expected. I would imagine that users come to FB4/F4 from different angles ranging from the novice to both programming ActionScript 3.0 and using the FB4 IDE to those who are familiar with Eclipse using Java who want a familiar environment to develop their programs. There's likely to be a sizable group who have an extensive Flash Professional/AS3.0 background who are migrating to FB4 for a more robust AS3.0 development environment. I represent this last group. Having fiddled with Flex since version 2, I'm somewhat familiar with it, but would almost rather program AS3.0 using Notepad than learn a new IDE.
Living on the more advanced side of ActionScript 3.0, any IDE (Flash included) is viewed as an impediment getting between me and cranking out code. Favoring OOP and Design Patterns, I like to create lots of files containing classes that communicate with one another in a loosely coupled fashion. So, what is most important to me is how well a tool can do that and how well a book can explain how I can keep my classes happily available for development and change. So the first thing I look for is OOP, and on Page 11, that's where the author tells the reader that using an OOP approach to program development is favored. (Declaring he's using OOP on page 11 of a 1028 pp book is like putting it on the cover!) Better and better.
Since I don't have to learn ActionScript 3.0, I want to jump in and get going, and right away the author is talking about modularity! I love this book! That's exactly what I want to hear. (If you're a novice, that's great news because you can learn how to code AS3.0 and use the FB4 IDE is smaller chunks.) So, the author is approaching FB4 development like a real programmer and not a 'get-it-done-by-any-means-possible' hacker.
The big thing for me and ultimately FB4 users/developers is becoming comfortable with working in an MXML environment. At some point, code is code whether it's Java or AS3.0, and the hurdle is working with the IDE to develop objects that can be used with code. As far as I'm concerned, the sooner I can hook into AS3.0, the better. I can use the IDE for creating the UI and some of the other objects that I need (or can import), and then run the show with AS3.0. As a result, the first part of the book is the most important, and here again I was not disappointed. The second chapter is a patient explanation of how to use FB4, followed by creating a basic Flex app, which is followed by an analysis of a Flex app.
Normally, I don't like big books. My experience has been that I only use 10% or so that is of interest and the rest is a big doorstop. This book is an exception, and once past the first few chapters, it's easy to explore beyond to parts of specific interest. In my case it's integrating AS3.0 apps with PHP plus how to work with FB4 and Java. However, novices, can ease through the different chapters building both their AS3.0 skills along with getting used to the IDE. So, this is one Bible that's earned it title.