Adobe Flash Catalyst beta

Adobe has certainly succeeded in shrinking the distance between design and development with its latest batch of RIA tools

Adobe Systems Flash Catalyst beta
  • Adobe Systems Flash Catalyst beta
  • Adobe Systems Flash Catalyst beta
  • Adobe Systems Flash Catalyst beta
  • Expert Rating

    Not yet rated

Pros

  • Catalyst is very easy to use, new state model and Spark skinning simplifies coding, new Builder tools help debugging efforts, good client-side data management additions.

Cons

  • Catalyst lacks advanced components, transitions are awkward to apply, Network Monitor monitors services calls (Flex RPC) only

Bottom Line

By allowing you to import Illustrator or Photoshop artwork and turn them into interactive Flash, Catalyst jumpstarts any Flex project. I can't overstate how accessible and easy to use I found Flash Catalyst.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    TBA (AUD)

If only it were as easy to build a Web application as it is to design one in Illustrator and Photoshop. Maybe it will be someday, and maybe that someday is closer than we might think.

Adobe has certainly succeeded in shrinking the distance between design and development with its latest batch of RIA tools: Adobe Flex 4 SDK, Adobe Flash Builder 4 (the Flex Builder IDE renamed), and Adobe Flash Catalyst, all recently made available in public beta.

The new kid on the block is Adobe Flash Catalyst, previously code-named Thermo. By allowing you to import Illustrator or Photoshop artwork and turn them into interactive Flash, Catalyst jumpstarts any Flex project. I can't overstate how accessible and easy to use I found Flash Catalyst.

Using Catalyst's pallet of UI components (scrollbars, buttons, data lists, and so on) and other tools, I was able to graphically construct a data-ready interface from scratch within minutes. Page and button states were quick to customize; even glitzy transitions such as fades and slides were a one-click cinch to apply.

Catalyst reads Adobe's new static XML graphics interchange format, FXG, so importing bitmap and vector images from Creative Suite 4 applications (Illustrator and Photoshop) is a snap. Elements altered in Catalyst can still be edited back in Illustrator and Photoshop tools. And you can include 'design time data' to give designers a view of actual data formats.

To be sure, Adobe needs to fill out the asset library with more controls, containers, and prefab layout grids -- but this is a nice showing.

Meanwhile, under the hood, Catalyst generates the Flex code behind the user-interface components, which developers can import into Flash Builder 4 and combine with the business logic.

I liked the ability to isolate code by page (or state) in the Flash Builder 4 IDE (known as Gumbo). Because a single Catalyst FXP file contains the code for every state of the entire interface, it can become cluttered. To streamline navigation and comprehension of the design, developers can isolate by state and view only the code relevant to the page they're working on. I'd like to see the code actually collapse too, rather than just gray out.

Flash Builder 4 brings new tools to data-centric workflows, rounding out the coding and design focus of its predecessor, Flex Builder 3. Builder 4's new data service wizard makes very quick work of importing and introspecting back-end services and binding them to UI objects. In addition to PHP, Web services, and HTTP services, Builder also supports BlazeDS, LiveCycle Data Services, and ColdFusion.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?