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CS5 Provides New Design/Development Workflows

· Web Dev Zone

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With today's release of Adobe's Creative Suite 5, designers are getting a major upgrade for creating top-notch graphics, video, and web content.  What does this have to do with developers?  Well, you may remember that the final release of the Flex 4 framework and Flash Builder 4 was last month.  Flash Builder 4 has been built to receive design assets from a program that connects design interactions in a much more seamless way.  That program is called Flash Catalyst.

Flash Catalyst is an interaction design tool based on Flex 4 that bridges the gap between design and development.  It is focused on creating expressive interfaces and interactive artwork/animation components that generate a special Flex "dummy code".  The files created by Flash Catalyst (FXP files) can be opened in Flash Builder for code review, plumbing connections, and custom logic.  Developers can connect Flex arrays generated in Flash Catalyst to live data services via wizard.  Because of Flash Catalyst, Flash Builder is also included in the creative suite

Designers with existing skills in Creative Suite tools (countless designers are trained with these tools) will be able to import Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, or Flash Professional files with full fidelity, so with CS5 there is now a clear bridge between Adobe's design tools and their development tools.  Some designers might create a library of artwork components to hand off to the developer for custom arrangement.  Users of Flash Catalyst can also import and control Flash animations in a SWF file and export projects that will run as native desktop apps via AIR.  There's also support for audio and video files that can tie into user interactions.  Designers will also be able to use Flash Catalyst by itself to create interactive content without having to write code.

Flash Catalyst essentially facilitates a better design/development workflow by creating a quick and easy prototyping cycle.  The program allows designers to create many prototypes with a basic degree of logic already built in.  Once a design is decided upon, the assets can go to the developer and they can add in the full logic and features with less risk of having to send it back and scrap the code.  

Adobe has several CS5 packages for web design, multi-media, and print media.      The web premium package contains Flash Builder 4, Flash Professional CS5, and Flash Catalyst.  The program is $399 as a standalone.

Here's a 6 minute video demo of Flash Catalyst.

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