on 31 August 2011
All those Flash and Flex developers who are concerned about being sidelined by the mobile revolution need fret no longer. What they need to do is get a copy of the indispensible resource, Flash Development for Android Cookbook, by Joseph Lebracqu. As the title suggests, the book walks the reader through easy-to-follow exercises, each targeting a different , core aspect of mobile development. For example, chapter 2 is all about Actionscript Classses specific to the mobile experience, where there is no mouse. And so, we have Multitouch and Gesture Events. By Chapter 5, you are already ramped up to using audio and video, and tapping into the media stored on the Android device. And of course, tapping into the debice's GPS capabilities for creating uniquely mobile apps is also covered. Best of al -- and this cannot be emphasized enough -- the resulting apps are not simply running in the Flash player. The cookbook shows how to use the Air SDK running in conjunction with either Flash SC5.5 or Flash Develop 4.5 to compile your apps into native Android file format. The result are real Android apps--not just Flash Player running on an Android device. The only caveat here is that the reader must be at least intermediate level in Flash Actionscript 3. Knowledge of AS 3, and its events, functions and data-typing are assumed. That said, the material is logically presented and clearly explained, making it as easy as possible to follow this inherently advanced material. The reader will benefit greatly from owning a copy of Flash Pro CS5.5, and/or Flash Develop 4.5 (although it is possible to develop without these). Naturally, a current Android enabled device to test ones apps is also a must, preferably both a tablet and a phone. The serious-minded developer will also have to put the time in, but these are very worthwhile investments -- so roll up your sleeves and get ready to dive in to the world of Flash Development for Android.
on 29 September 2011
This book provides you with everything you need to start developing programs and games on android using Adobe AIR, assuming you already have some knowledge in ActionScript.
It shows short "recipes" on how to interface with everything that you would want to on the phone, from gestures, drawing, acceleration and geolocation, camera, microphone, images, video, audio, local storage and SQLLite, to even putting the final app on the market.
Every recipe is well written, and specific to the interface you will be looking for, so you can easily find how to use the accelerometer, or load up the browser within your app. Most examples show how to do everything in Flash Builder (Flex), Flash `professional', FDT, and even command line, so you have many options (although the code will work well in any of them).
The only negative I found with the book is that in Chapter 1, you learn how to compile, and run a program on Android, but Chapter 10 is when it actually goes into debugging, and setting up different configurations for testing your app. I wasn't sure how to have the app test run in Windows instead of running on my Android directly until that chapter (although it is a cookbook- you pick which chapter is relevant what you're trying to do).
If you have built applications or games using Flash/Flex before, and would like to have a version running on Android, this book will give you all the information you need, and is a great reference as well!
Get it now to get your Flash apps running on Android!
on 22 September 2011
For any Flash or Flex developer looking to create applications for mobile (in particular Android ones) then this is a great book to have on your desk! Weighing in at 372 pages, there is a lot of content in there just waiting for you to try out and play with.
First things first, this is a Cookbook. It's not a reference title listing every single API and documenting every single class available. Though to be honest, it seems to cover most of the new AIR for Android features. The idea behind a Cookbook is to provide you with a selection of `recipes' or common tasks, and then explain how to go about solving them in a clear and concise way. This book does this brilliantly. It is the sort of book you can dib into when you have a specific thing to get done in your app and you're not sure where to start. Having said that, I basically read it from cover to cover, and still found it very informative and enjoyable.
All the chapters are equally important and cover a wide range of features, but which ones you'll actually need to use will depend on your project and what you are trying to achieve. Although the title of this book specifies Android, most of the code in this book will work equally well on iOS devices and the BlackBerry PlayBook. That's the joy of developing using ActionScript and AIR!
I was particularly pleased to see that nearly all the code examples were IDE agnostic and didn't tie you in to the Flex framework. They concentrated on using pure ActionScript in whatever IDE you feel comfortable working in. In fact, Joseph even went to the trouble of explaining any IDE specific stuff using example in Flash Pro CS5.5, Flash Builder 4.5 and FDT 4.1.
Once you have had a flick through at some of the examples it quickly becomes clear that Adobe have done a really good job at providing a consistent and logical API for achieving all these new mobile specific things. And this book does a great job of demystifying it all.
My one criticism would be that there is quite a lot of repetitive code (about 14 lines) in each example, where Joseph sets up an output textfield (and accompanying textformat) for demonstration purposes. But I guess I noticed it more because I was reading the book straight through (not how it was intended to be read). At least this way, each `recipe' or example is self contained and provides everything you need to get you up and running easily.
I did notice a few errors here and there (code and layout), but nothing too serious that would cause you issues.
I'd thoroughly recommend this title to anyone who is interested in creating mobile apps for either Android, iOS or PlayBook using AIR and ActionScript.