If your wanting to stick to Adobe software, try Adobe Flash Builder 4.5 it's great for making iOS and Android Apps. It uses Flex 4+ (4.5,4.6) it has a similiar workflow as well. Also it's actually very inexpensive for such a powerful tool.
But if your wanting to stay a step ahead, check out Adobe Edge, it's all about HTML5
A few months ago, i built my website with only Flash Catalyst.
As FC is discontinued, as i wanted my website seen by the maximum of people, as i wanted to add ads ...
i have added a second version in html5.
Is it a good idea ? i don't know, but i did.
Your opinion ?
It is true before Flash Catalyst, Flex was version 3, only because Catalyst and Flex 4 were released at almost the same time. However, Flash Catalyst was never required to take advantage of the powerful new skinning architecture, or other designer oriented Flex 4 features such as FXG and TLF. These skin MXML files are generally preferred to be edited with Flash Builder in source mode, although there is also a design mode inside of Flash Builder. Design mode inside of Flash Builder was also discontinued, I'm confident for the same reason Catalyst was discontinued- very few developers were actually using it. Every developer I've talked to stated they prefer editing the MXML skin source code directly and found little to no benenifit, if not required more work when using either design mode or Catalyst. Directly editing the MXML source files is the best solution for working with the Flex SDK
Of course you can do all in source code. You can also do code with notepad. You also can create a bitmap image pixel by pixel setting RGB values in an array.
But when it comes to design, you need WYSIWIG to be efficient.
If you want to be precise when setting position of a component you need to pre visualize it, like it is with Flash builder designer.
How can you be efficient if you must edit your mxlm to change 1 pixel of component position, than build to check the result, and change 1 pixel again...
If you need to choose the correct color and alpha to be visualliy perfect etc etc.
A programmer who only need to edit mxml in source code is not doing design, he is programming the logic.
And the most important thing is that creating design is the work of a designer, which is someone who use any tool but mxml source code editor.
Im confident that much more developpers than what you think where using the flash builder's designer mode. But if you ask component developpers or any other dev who dont do design, of course they will tell you they were not using the flash builder designer mod or flash catalyst. You have to ask to the people who can need such tools.
Flash catalyst was not much used because it was not finished yet.
They released it the first time when you could not even load a project previously saved in flash builder etc.
But the need was still there.
Expression Blend is used a lot to design Silverlight apps.
Catalyst should have been the expression blend of flex.
But i still don't have an anwser, how do you design your app? What tools your designers use? what is the workflow?
If the answer is to edit in source code.
Then the workflow should be that a designer is creating a mockup, which as much details as possible, and then a programmer will integrate it in source code.
its not efficient at all, as the design should not need a programmer. e should only need to programm logic, or complex animations, not design.
I couldn't agree more with you that developers need a solid WYSIWYG tool, and Catalyst was Adobe's closest rival to Blend. It had much more potential than the amount of attention it received. Adobe was very foolish pulling the plug on it, not to mention all their other recent decisions related to the Flash Platform.
My point was that with all of the importing and exporting capabilities of Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash Professional, and especially Fireworks, you already have all of the capabilities of Flash Catalyst, at least in regards to making creative assets available to the Flex framework. That was the sole purpose of Catalyst- to bridge the gap between Adobe's design applications and Flex. If you weren't concerned with Flex, Flash Catalyst would be of no use, even if it were still in development. Exporting a Catalyst project to Flash Professional or HTML was never on it's roadmap, although I'm sure I'm not the first person who thought of those possibilities.
Catalyst, simply put, was the FXG editor which Flash Builder's design mode was not. For example, you could not draw a rectangle using Builder's design mode. With Catalyst CS5.5, it allowed you to directly assign FXG assets to MXML skins for ten of the nineteen Spark components which use the MXML skin architecture. This was a huge limitition, and espeically obvious with the new roundtripping feature, because using any of the non-supported components could easily break the connection between Builder & Catalyst. Honestly, myself and many of the Adobe engineers I talked to on the Flash Builder team, still do not understand why Catalyst wasn't merged into Flash Builder in the first place.
Perhaps it's not as useful out of context, but I compiled a presentation a few months ago for my Adobe user group, titled "Creative & Production Harmony": https://acrobat.com/#d=jNyu*qRjpF68tbl*8lCiTw&x=s
Basically what it outlined, was when to use Catalyst, and when you are better off exporting straight from the other design apps. My conclusion, was that you're generally better off designing your assets in the app you're comfortable with. That IS your WYSIWYG editor, to the precision of 1px. It was also a future proof answer since Catalyst was discontinued and many of the other Flex related workflows have evaporated. The main loss behind discontinuing Catalyst, were its states, timeline, and visual editing of FXG less commonly preserved when exporting from the other apps.
A workflow example for a project I recently used Catalyst with, http://disneycruiseadventure.com/ was to open the PSD provided inside of Photoshop, launch Catalyst, draw a shape (or copy/paste in a vector smart object from Illustrator), and use it's properties panel to match the Photoshop layer styles. This basically the climax of the day, because the rest of it was all spent manually editing code in Builder (and often fixing a lot of the crap code Catalyst spit out). For advanced use of graphics, we relied heavily on the Flex Component Kit, which basically lets you work with any MovieClip inside of Flex or even insert Flex components into a Flash Professional container. The integration between Flex & Flash Pro is most commonly overlooked, which is sad because it still offers the very most design freedom for Flex and has been around long before Catalyst.
In my personal project, my workflow heavily involves Fireworks. It's exporting capabilities are unparralled by any of the other Adobe design apps. You can design with the 1px precision you are after, and almost always preserve that precision after exporting to Flex 3, FXG, and even CSS. Speaking of CSS, now you can export to CSS3 and jQuery mobile themes using Fireworks. If I had a choice between Fireworks and Catalyst, I would take Fireworks without any question. If you're looking for another workflow, consider the idea of taking HTML/CSS exported by Fireworks and opening it inside of Adobe Edge for adding animation and interactivity. Then do your final editing with Dreamweaver, or skip the Edge step if you don't need it.
Glad you started this post I agree 100% although you're more advanced than I on this particuIar subject--- I recently spent some time on Lynda.com learning the ins and outs of FC and thought WOW as a video/graphics editor FC was the missing piece to my toolkit by allowing me to publish my videos on the web with interactivity--I just put in a feature request for Flash Authoring to include FC in the next version of Adobe Flash by using a simplified design mode as an alternative to the code mode. The flash peeps are so used to thinking in code and that's great for them but I like you don't think in code but would rather take a visual approach to web interactivity-- Put in a feature request for this please
Don't know why Adobe would pull the plug on FC----some of this interactivity does not require us to write lines and lines of code- There's the hard way and the easier way-- just because the old schoolers learned the hard way does not mean the rest of us should be held back from advancement in authoring techniques
That's a fantastic idea- I would love to see features from Catalyst migrated into Flash Professional. The existing Flash Pro components could use a significant overhaul... and I'm predicting there won't be a Flash Builder CS6 (but I hope I'm wrong!). There should really just be one Flash authoring tool, and I couldn't agree more that it shouldn't require coding. Especially in the case of Flash Pro where it's already super easy to import almost any creative asset. Hopefully Adobe will realize this by CS7...
glad you think It's a good idea- I believe that FC was turning into a tool that us non coders could use and get very good basic interactivity for our video/graphic projects--more people should know about it as it seems from this forum not too many do-- but it's a great tool and should definitely be integrated into Flash Pro CS6-- I put in the feature request https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform-------
for a design view just like FC in Flash Authoring-- (I couldn't find Flash pro on the dropdown list of programs)-- but I hope you will also submit a feature request-- the more people we can get requesting this functionality the better----
(I'd even settle for a situation where there is a Flash pro and a Flash lite (get it Flashlight ha) just like Photoshop and Photoshop extended of course the Flash lite would be the FC version while the Flash pro would be the old school coding way--Flash Lite would be included in the production suite-- and maybe it would be an extra $150 (production suite premium (flash lite) vs production suite premium plus (flash pro version)) to sub out Flash lite for Flash pro for those who needed it)---I know HTML 5 is coming on strong but from what I've seen most of it is bs video games- why would I WASTE time making a crappy video game when XBOX and playstation have that market already cornered--I want to engage viewers with an interactive online video experience not make some bear grab a stupid lollipop---just my 2 cents
I'll chime in here. Flash Catalyst is dead. Although Adobe still has engineer's working on Flash Builder, all Flex related efforts are 95% over. Most of the work is in transitioning the various parts to the Apache Foundataion. There is still work being done on Flash Player and Flash Professional. But other that being the runtime that powered Flash Catalyst projects, it has no connection. Flash Professional knows nothing of the Flex framework and it never will.
FC could and should have been more. I had hoped it would be become a great tool for skinning Flex components. Have you tried to do any mobile skinning? ugh. The roadmap I saw was promising, but that is water under the bridge.