Today Adobe announced Flash Catalyst for interactive designers looking to quickly create desktop and Web applications that tie into backend databases, including over the Web. Adobe says that Catalyst helps bridge the gap between designers and developers so a rich Internet application as conceived by a designer has the best chance of being developed that way on the back end.
Usually, a design team will conceive how it wants an application to look and come up with a set of what are called "wire frames" -- similar to still photographs -- to show developers how the application should look, he said. The team will also pass over a set of assets -- such as photographs, graphics and the like -- to developers to incorporate into the final application.
Because these are static images and assets for what will eventually be a dynamic and creative application, this process is flawed; it's hard for developers to create exactly what the designer had in mind by building an application this way, said Tim Buntel, a senior product manager at Adobe.
"A developer doesn’t find it easy to translate those suggestions to allow a functioning application," he said.
Catalyst solves this problem by allowing "the designer who came up with the design in the first place to come up with a working application without having to write all that code," Buntel said.
Indeed, "the real promise of Catalyst is to make it easier to take something a designer locks up and build out an application from it," said RJ Owen, a senior developer with EffectiveUI in Denver, Colorado, who has worked with Catalyst. EffectiveUI is a 100-person firm that builds RIAs (Rich Interactive Applications) for clients such as eBay and United Airlines.
Adobe's Web design tools like Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Flash have been enormously popular with Web designers for years, but Adobe has been working for about five years to give people who write code better tools for executing on the plans of the design teams. Developers and designers use inherently different tools and skillsets, and helping them work better together has been a consistent problem.