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video2brain Flash Mobile App Video Training

This latest Learn by Video release from video2brain entitled Mobile Development with Adobe Flash Professional CS5.5 and Flash Builder 4.5, teaches how to develop mobile applications with AdobeR FlashR and Flash BuilderR. You have two instructors, Joseph Labrecque and Peter Elst.

The instructors begin with a discussion of the reasons to use ActionScript, Flex and AIR to create your Android and iOS apps, including "best practices" for mobile app development and the all-important optimization of your app. Once those details are covered, they walk you through setting up a new project in Flash CS5.5 including how to set up the Application Descriptor, use the project templates, share assets via the project panel and scale the stage for various screen sizes.

I have read many books about mobile development with various languages including Objective C and HTML5. Usually, these books leave the debugging to the last chapter. This was the first time testing and debugging were suggested throughout the project development and not held back until the last chapter. The instructors discuss the many ways you will want to test and debug on the desktop and device with trace statements and break points.

Another thing that I found helpful in the series was how the instructors covered the development process in both Flash Professional and Flash Builder, making it easy to compare these two development options. At this point, the instructors switch over to Flash Builder 4.5 and cover the same basics for beginning a project. Because Flash Builder is based on UI components, the authors first build a blank "starter" Flex project from the various components in the Components panel. They discuss how to set the constraints in the Properties panel for screen resizing on various mobile devices.

Still working in Flex Builder, the other projects discussed are a view-based To Do list application and a tab-based City Guide. Once the basics for these applications are covered, the instructors begin to build an image gallery application, adding features such as an ActionsBar toggled with ActionScript, a semi-transparent panel for the tab bar, a view menu for an Android app and a splash screen.

Next, you move to a more complex multi-view application, a contact manager. Each "page" or view is an MXML component and the instructors discuss how to pass data between these views via the push view and data object. They also cover how to build backward navigation and to override the default transition between views. The instructors then cover mobile-specific features such as the soft keyboard and saving the state of your application when it shuts down.

The next topics are covered in Flash Pro, including content resizing/repositioning due to device orientation changes and how to use the Accelerometer input data to control the X and Y positions of an object on the stage. At this point, I expected the instructors to include how to code for the possibility that the object goes beyond the stage but they didn't. Next, they covered how to code for the Geolocation and the Google Maps API. They also cover how to use the native camera and device storage. For the Android app they discuss the trackball and soft keys including Back, Menu, Home and Search.

The instructors devote a video to each multi-touch gesture, such as the swipe, rotate, zoom and pan, and how to use ActionScript to respond to these gestures to movie objects on the screen. Some touch gestures are not specifically defined in ActionScript, so the instructors discuss how to emulate these gestures. Also covered is how to use raw touch events to simulate your own custom gestures such as a mouse click, how to use touch points to display drag/drop interactivity and how to use the glow filter to simulate a highlight.

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*Peachpit Press provided a copy of this book to me for review purposes.

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