Introducing Adobe Flash Catalyst… formerly known as ”Adobe Thermo”

I’m sure you by now are very well aware that Adobe has announced the upcoming release of Adobe Flash Catalyst, formerly known as “Thermo”.

Adobe Flash Catalyst will eventually build bridge between the design world and the development world. By enabling Graphical Designers, User Experience Designers and Developers to work together in leveraging the design powers of CS4 with the development powers of Flex Builder and the deployment and execution powers of the Flash platform, we will be able to improve our process radically all together.

Adobe Flash Catalyst

It has been interesting and humorous this year at Adobe MAX in San Francisco to experience that an entire community of various professionals who have become so used to say Thermo, have had to learn to say “Adobe Flash Catalyst” or “Flash Catalyst” instead.

It’s important to understand that Flash Catalyst primarily is a design tool targeted at User Experience Designers and not so much Graphical Designers and Developers. The activities that will take place in Flash Catalyst are wireframing the information architecture, skinning the user interface components and designing the motion graphics.

One of the primary use cases for Flash Catalyst is therefore to import a PSD file and then implementing the interface into the existing structure of the PSD document and then eventually passing it on to developers that will tie the user interface to the business logic and backend. For this to work smoothly it requires the Graphical Designers to structure the PSD document in a way that facilitates the way Flash Catalyst uses the contents of the PSD file.

Adobe Flash Catalyst and its counterpart Microsoft Expression Blend, are tools that allows us to dramatically improve our productivity… however, for us to leverage the power of these tools we have to change what we do and how we do … our collective mantra has be…

Hate it, you break it … embrace it, you make it !

This means that we need to reevaluate what it is we are doing and eventually also who we are… An important question that we have to think about is “What is a Flex Developer” and what it exactly they do… I certainly see Flash Catalyst as a huge step forward in optimizing our collective productivity in the interactive agency business, but it forces us to do take a couple of hard decisions about who does what, and certainly we all will have to kill some darlings and sacrifice some of our holy cows. The true price for utilizing the full potential of Flash Catalyst is not the license fee, but eventually that everyone involved in the development of a Flex solution, from graphical designers to business logic developers, have to adopt it whole-heartedly and to accept the constraints that come with using Flash Catalyst. There is no doubt that the pro’s far outweigh the con’s and there is no doubt that the agencies that stay in business are the ones that are willing to improve their operations and embrace change.

I am so fortunate to have the pre-alpha release which I will play around with so we can hit the ground running when it arrives in the beginning of next year (ooops… did I just write that).


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