Today on labs.adobe.com, Adobe made available preview releases of the next version of two tools in the Adobe Flash Platform. Of these two tools, one is an upgrade from a previous version (Flash Builder), and another is a completely new tool (Flash Catalyst).
Flash Catalyst is an incredible new tool from Adobe that aims to bridge the gap between developer & designer workflows. Traditionally designers hand over artwork as still images or “sliced up” assets to a development team that then need to go ahead and attempt to reassemble the assets as intended. I say attempt, as often it is very time consuming if not impossible for a developer to recreate the intent the designer had.
Designers can now continue to use familiar tools such as Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator to design, then use Flash Catalyst to add interaction to their design while at the same time moving the project into something a developer can use. Flash Catalyst converts artwork into a Flex project which can be opened up in Flash Builder and extended by developers.
Flash Builder 4 (formerly known as Flex Builder) is the latest version of the Eclipse based IDE that allows developers to build applications that execute in the Adobe Flash Player, Adobe AIR or even within a PDF. Renaming Flash Builder links the product into the Flash Platform, something that the name Flex often missed, yet it will continue to leverage the Flex framework to make it quick and easy for developers to build Rich Internet Applications
Developers will benefit from the new features in Flash Builder 4, including support for projects built in Flash Catalyst, round trip support for Flash Professional CS4, coding enhancements, service introspection and more.
As both of these tools are now on Adobe Labs as available free of charge technical preview, it is a great idea to download and test these tools to see how they assist your workflows, but equally important that you provide feedback to the product teams so they can make the tools meet your needs.