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Foundation Flex for Designers excerpt: Flex Builder and Flash

Under the hood, Flash and Flex are closely related. Both work with ActionScript 3.0, both output to a SWF format, and both use Flash Player 9 to display their content. But they are very different in what they are good at. Flash started life as an animation program and developed more features as time went on, but animation is still one of its strongest points, and is more in line with what Adobe is intending it for in their modern suite of tools. Flex by contrast is really good at developing applications and the things that are associated with it—charting, handling data, and such. Sure, it can do animation, but the kinds of animation that Flex focuses on are things such as transitions that take place as menus expand, or items such as images scaling to different sizes in different states.

There are three major ways to integrate Flash and Flex. The first is to use Flash to create skins and component animations. The second is to bring in complex timeline animations. And the third is to bring in Flash MovieClips that can be controlled in Flex. We will be looking at all three in this chapter.

Figure 1. Flash animation playing in our Flex project

This chapter covers the following topics:

  • Using a loader to import Flash animations
  • Controlling Flash animations through Flex
  • Creating dynamic skins for Flex components in Flash


In order to make the most of this article, you need the following software and files:

Flex Builder 3

Flash CS3 Professional

Read the complete chapter

Chapter 6: Flex Builder and Flash (PDF, 1.4MB)


Some knowledge of Flex and Flash.