We have been currently working on a desktop application with customized components. As you may be aware without Flash Catalyst the work flow for creating an application with customized components can be time consuming and very demanding. You can customize the components using Flex Style Explorer or customize the templates offered in Illustrator, Fireworks, Flash or PhotoShop. However, Adobe is now bridging the gap between design and development to make it easier. Flash Catalyst Beta has just been released. Is it a disappointment or not? There are many opinions out there. In this post we will review some of the advantages of Flash Catalyst and what it has to offer.
1. Faster Work Flow – Creating a more successful work flow and saving time is money. Let the designer and developer do what they do best. This is amazing because Flash Catalyst helps tie everything together. The designer can be working on making a change to the design while the developer is developing the back end.
Flash Catalyst facilitates the designer in many ways:
- Gives the power to create a visual appearance for an application.
- Offers pre-defined visual components to work with while designing an application.
- Gives the freedom to arrange the components and create a unique interface.
- Offers the ability to create a customized appearance without a headache.
- Gives the designer written code with behaviors without having to know any code.
Flash Catalyst facilitates the developer in other ways. Like:
- Gives the freedom to focus on what they do best which is writing code, connecting data and communication services.
- Offers the ability to build and run the application with a totally customized look.
2. HUD – You may be asking what is the HUD. This is a new feature offered in the Flash Catalyst interface. The HUD is the Head-Up Display. It helps assist you the user while you are creating different projects in Flash Catalyst. How? When you have a component or anything on the stage selected in Flash Catalyst the HUD tells you what is selected and options with different things you can do with it. When you are first learning Flash Catalyst it can be very helpful and save time in general. You can move the HUD to any location so it does not have to get in your way.
3. Timeline – The timeline may be confusing at first. You may have been intimidated by the timeline in Flash but they have a different kind of timeline in Flash Catalyst. The timeline allows you to create specific interactions and transitions. The timeline in Flash Catalyst is different because it does not deal with a specific object that moves along the time timeline over the application like in Flash. You do not have to worry about easing in and out. The timeline allows you the user to create and time smooth transitions. The different kinds of animation it offers is smooth, fade, move, resize, rotate and 3D transitions. The user can control when they happen with the timeline.
4. Wireframes – A large part of developing and designing an application is selling the design to the client. You do not want to get half way through the development and find out that the client is unhappy with the design or functionality of an application. In Flash Catalyst the designer can create the application with transitions and show it to the client. This paints the big picture for the client without all of the development time. Some clients need to see the big picture to completely understand the final product they will receive. In Flash Catalyst you can create wireframes or the application. Apply transitions and show the client. They can tell you their likes and dislikes before it is even handed off to the developer. This will help while working with your clients and developers.
5. Illustrator, Photoshop, Fireworks – If you are designer you are probably comfortable designing with one of the above programs. I like to work a lot in Illustrator. I can create an Illustrator file with all my customized components and bring it into Flash Catalyst and then back to Illustrator to make changes. The back and forth process is very helpful. The first time I did this it felt like a miracle that would have never happened. Magic? It is so simple, right? Their are some negatives. Nothing is ever perfect. Hopefully, all of the bugs will be worked out in the next release.
Thanks to Flash Catalyst making customized skins just got easier. We will be developing and designing with Flash Catalyst/Flash Builder in our upcoming projects. We will keep you updated as we dive deeper into the newest Beta release and let you know if Flash Catalyst is all they say it is. Hopefully, it will not be a disappointment.
If you have not downloaded Flash Catalyst or if you would like further information check out the following links:
Download Flash Catalyst at: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flashcatalyst/