Winnie said Flash Catalyst also helps designers and developers collaborate because it presents an upfront contract on how they will work collaboratively.
“In this case the workflow itself is based on the collaboration between the designer and developer,” he said.
Flash Catalyst is built specifically around the open source Flex Framework. The code it generates when designers build an interface is MXML mapped to known and existing elements in the Flex Framework. The Flash Catalyst file format is .xfg, an open format that’s an XML representation of graphics. Once developers have the Flash Catalyst file they can use the language of their choice, such as ActionScript, Java, or PHP, within the Flex Framework to create the application.
Adobe hopes that Flash Catalyst will make interactive design more approachable. The Catalyst user interface easily directs users through stages of adding interactivity to design elements. It easily round trips edits, meaning designers can quickly go back and forth between Catalyst and a design tool like Adobe Illustrator, for example.
These features will be especially important to designers who resisted moving toward interactive design or older designers who didn’t make the leap to interactive. Winnie teaches an ActionScript class where many of his students are established designers being asked to do more by employers moving to interactivity. Flash Catalyst will ease the transition.