The following book review for Manning Press’s Air in Action was submitted by Barry Knapp of Railinc.
Adobe Air In Action provides a good overview of the most frequently required ActionScript API with many easy to follow examples. There is a heavy emphasis toward teaching the readers through specific AIR example that will enable them to quickly create a running AIR application. This book is not geared for those looking for an in-depth discussion of AIR application design, best practices and frame working.
The best features of this book include:
· An excellent YouTube example that is built upon throughout each chapter.
· Extensive review of file system handling using synchronous and asynchronous methods and a good overview of AMF3 serialization.
· An excellent overview of using the clipboard that contains essential discriminations betweens Flash and AIR copy / paste functionality.
· For those who are looking to build AIR applications that require network connectivity but can function while offline, the concise chapter on Network Communications will undoubtedly save hours of research.
· AIR application distribution techniques with examples.
The authors adeptly cover many of the nuances of AIR development using code examples that may be lost in the big picture provided by other books. These topics include creating irregular windows, ordering of utility windows, opening applications in preferred locations for the user and reopening closed windows. These are undoubtedly solutions that any AIR developer will eventually require.
I would have like to see included in the book-
· A Testing example
· In most cases the flash api is used in the AIR applications which is great for showing users an online demo prior to downloading your AIR application. The books has a couple sections describing the different APIs used for AIR verse FLASH applications such as with Context Menus, it would have been good to include strategies for externalizing the AIR specific API in one of these areas.
· Technical issues and resolutions with distributed AIR applications, such as version control and building your app to handle future client side schema changes if using a local database.
The database usage section is a bit remedial with basic SQL instruction but has some helpful tidbits related to AIR-DB performance, transaction handling and connecting to multiple databases.
The book will absolutely save me time in my future AIR development and I would recommend it to any new AIR developer.
Barry Knapp MA, MSCIT, Senior Software Engineer, Railinc Inc.