Thank you for this great idea. This is something that we have thought about and will continue to discuss internally.
You're welcome.. I think it would lower the bar for a lot of creative
people to get into using Flash for Webdesign pros and amateurs and
make it what photoshop is for compositing pro's and amateurs, after
effects is for motion graphics pro's and amateurs.
I would love to see more Flash/XHTML sites and less wordpress/Joomla
sites. I would even encourage you to present a user friendly tool that
interfaces Catalist with Coldfusion and/or PHP for basic dynamic sites
like shopping carts, videoCMS, photolibrary and other database driven
applications. But then again may I just had too much coffee today.
Mental Home, TV, Corporate Media & Web
I'd definitely like to see this as well. While Flash Builder might be something to dabble in, as a graphic artist and Flash AS3 programmer, I'd love to be able to take this into Flash, something I'm familiar with, and do all my extra coding from there. Most of the time I'm prototyping in Illustrator or Photoshop, but I do the bulk of my work, especially coding, from Flash.
While I think this is a great feature request, and one I'm certainly interested in seeing implemented, I don't see how this could work. Flash Builder (formerly Flex Builder) uses the Flex framework, as does Catalyst... Flash Professional doesn't. I'm sure that Adobe could find a way to get the Flex framework to somehow work in Flash Professional, I'm not sure why they would. Flash Builder is the superior development IDE and trying to write MXML and advanced Flex SDK AS3 in the IDE would be painful to say the least. This would also cannibalize sales for Flash Builder, as it would no longer be the only Adobe tool to develop with the Flex framework.
As it stands right now, I'd be happy with Flash adding FXP export and Flash Catalyst allowing for extension and binding etc on a Flash design. This is a similiar workflow to the other CS apps in FC.
I can understand that logic. However, having both MXML and AS3 as two separate coding setups for Flash doesn't make logistical sense. Just the costs of the support alone can make it prohibitive. Perhaps it's time for Adobe to focus on MXML and fold AS3 into it. MXML already has a lot of the AS3 like stuff in there. As a programmer, I need to focus on one or the other to maximize my time and productivity. Having to focus on too many languages just slows down the process and introduces too many human errors.
There is a lot designers that use the powerfull a extremely easy to use design tools in Flash CS4, they are better for a RIA design than Illustratror or Photoshop, also the Flash Layer and Symbols are more useful than groups of layers.
Please close the circle !!
Flash CS4 + Flash Catalyst + Flash Builder
There are a lot of designers that use Flash and it is powerful to a degree, but there are a whole lot more that haven't touched Flash and are intimately involved in Illustrator and Photoshop and don't want to use new tools to do that same thing. Artists tend to be creatures of habit and don't like to stray from what they are comfortable with. Flash Catalyst will allow them to use a familiar interface to create something they thought they would never be able to do before.
Exactly that was the point I was trying to make. And if you watch and
understand the tutorials "action script 3.0 for designers" you, as a
designer, can take off like a rocket. Hence my preferred workflow
design in illustrator/photoshop
add "life" to it in catalyst
bring it in flash and build your application and output to the web or
send it to a developer for additional logic and interfacing options in
a dynamic environment
I too can see the logic of working in one language/framework. And I
don't believe it would be cannibalizing Flash Builder and I really do
believe that developers won't be out of a job if things get "to easy"
for designers. The list of things that still need hard core coding
will grow as it always does. its is just another step.
I guess the point I was trying to get across is the most designers don't want to do code at all... period. Most don't enjoy the computer experience either. I'm not saying all, there are quite a few that do, but most don't. Anything that can give them what they want without looking at 'raw' code, they will jump into right away. As easy as AS3 for designers might be, it's not what they want. If they are forced into it, they will do it, but they won't enjoy it and will complain pretty much all the time when something doesn't work as expected even if the error is their own.
Either way, since Flash Catalyst is a MXML product, not an AS3 product, I believe the name causes too much confusion. I'm expecting a Flash product, not a Flex product. Flash to me is AS3, not MXML. MXML is the Flex framework. While Flash might have more cache name wise, it's going to confuse a lot of people who will quite naturally think they can bring their Catalyst project into Flash and you can't. If Adobe doesn't want to integrate AS3 into Catalyst, and at his stage that probably wouldn't be a good business decision just based on costs, I highly recommend that the two products be renamed Flex Catalyst and Flex Builder, which is what it's named now.
I'm curious what's holding you back from following the same "beginner AS3" tutorials in Flash Builder and finishing up your Catalyst application that way. Is it just that you already own Flash CS4 and don't want to buy Builder too? Or are there things in Builder that make it difficult / confusing to follow these AS3 tutorials? (I understand that Flash overall is a more designer-friendly tool than Builder, but once you're down to writing code you can't call anything desinger-friendly really... so what makes Builder harder at that point?)
Also, if Catalyst were to allow editing code directly (where you see the read-only 'Code view' today), do you feel like that would cover your AS3 needs?
As a designer I am am alway is a rush to meat deadline. Working in a
visual environment works better for me. I guess we work also more from
a sort of chaotic trial and error way tan following logic. Sometimes
even nice designs happen, instead are being planned. This goes also
for animations in layers.
And flash is a visual tool where you see on the stage what you do, you
can click and drag, switch layers and see the result, oinion skinning,
and now even blend modes.. And the coding designers do is mostly
recycling and tweaking the same bits and piece over and over. Mostly
event handlers, and URL handlers.
But time is the most important factor and for designer Catalyst can be
handy to experiment more with adding dynamic bits and pieces to their
photoshop designs, again trial and error, experiment quickly to see
what visually works and what not, for a given person with a given
I am not sure if we can skip the Flash stage if that's what you mean
I understand Willard's position here. It's based on the amount of time people have and how they work. Most artists work visually and can work much faster that way. The time and effort to learn the code part just isn't practical. The same goes for coders who can work so well and fast in code, working with visual editors would actually slow them down.
Catalyst and Builder are a perfect complement to each other and would excel in a work environment where you have both artists and coders. For the rest of us, especially those artists who learned AS3 in Flash, being able to take a Catalyst file into Flash would be great. If it doesn't, then we might use Catalyst for some quick prototyping and perhaps a few finished jobs that don't require much. It just doesn't make sense to get Builder if we already own Flash Professional to learn another coding language and stray any farther from our main focus, which is design.
I fully agree!
On a slightly different note I've just been playing around in catalyst to see how it handles 9 slice scaling and using flash symbols. It turns out at the moment you can import swf files into catalyst using >File > Import Artwork, but they don't maintain any 9 sclice scaling, and basically get treated as images in catalyst.
Is this the case, or was I doint something wrong?
I also had to make sure the symbol wasn't exported for action script as a Flex component or the movie wouldn't test. I'm sure it's on the way but I'd definitely like
to see this sort of feature the same as being able to import flash symbols into flex builder.Still if anyone needs to currently get some vector work into catalyst from flash this might come in handy.
On some of the other points I'd definetly like to be able to edit code in the code view of catalyst. Unless there's some other feature planned to allow transitions to occur to or from any state. Just being able to wildcard the to and from states could really speed things up, and is something even people with no coding ability could easily handle.
However I don't really understand why you'd want to be able to go back to Flash CS4 with catalyst files. Isn't the whole point of using states to get away from the flash timeline for code which is such a nightmare for developers. If you know enough AS3 to make a website in Flash, why not just use that in Flex Builder. I'd rather see all the AS3 filters and transition options become available in catalyst, especially being able to transition between colors and glows etc. Making components in catalyst to code in Flash would seem like a backwards step to me. I remember thinking I didn't want to bother learning to use Flex, but it definitely has turned out that the more AS3 I know, the less I have to write to get the job done. Catalyst seems like it will really reduce that amount of code again, and being able to maintain a layer structure like in flash or illustrator is a big plus that I had found quite annoying not having in Flex.
While Flex Builder does include some AS3, it also requires MXML coding, something I am not familiar with. As for the states and the like of Flash Catalyst, there are extensions that allow me to do some of the same things, but certainly not on the scale of Catalyst. Still, buttons and the like are fairly easy to handle in Flash Professional without having to do a ton of code.
Still, I know Flash AS3. I would like to do rapid prototyping with Flash Catalyst. Then I would like to bring in the Catalyst file into Flash and do the extra AS3 work there, in an environment I know and understand. I don't know Flex Builder and I don't know MXML, so why would I want the file to go somewhere I'm not familiar? Why should I have to learn one more coding language just to get my project done?
It's all about economies of scale. In my personal 'economy', I have only so much time and money to invest and I'm pretty much at my limit. The learning curve of Catalyst for me is extremely small but the rewards would be quite large. The learning curve of Flash Builder, on the other hand, would be quite large and would reward me very little. Since I already know Flash and enough AS3 to do my work, why can't I have Catalyst produce an FLV file as well so I can use it in the environment I've already invested in.
To me, since Catalyst and Builder use the MXML format, Adobe is just using the Flash name before each because of the value of the name Flash. In reality, this is Flex Catalyst and Flex Builder, not true Flash. In my humble opinion, that's going to cause quite a lot of confusion for those who work in Flash Professional and frustrate them that they can't use a Flash creation program with their Flash Professional program.
I understand where your coming from, because I had the same opinion not very long ago, but when I actually got in and started using Flex I found out that a lot of those views I had held were missconceptions. MXML is another mark up for AS3, and in my experience is the answer to all that time you spend programming in flash thinking why do I have to keep writing so many lines to do something that seems so simple, couldn't they just make one line for this. That's what FB is.
For example to load an external image or swf in AS3 you write something like:
var url:String = "http://www.unknown.example.com/content.swf";
var urlReq:URLRequest = new URLRequest(url);
even though you can compact that a bit more in AS3, the same thing in MXML is:
and you can change properties and add listeners like 'progress' and 'complete' within
the same line.But if you prefer not to use the MXML you can still write the AS3 itself,
it will just take longer. Especially with all the code completion in FB, you only have
to type the first few letters of most tags, then hit enter on the selection.
Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst are about producing things quickly, where as flash is
more for things that need to be very customized and time is not such an issue. They all
make the same finished product played by Flash player, and if you wanted you could make
the same thing in FB and Flash.
I wouldn't be surprised if not to far down the track with flash Catalyst, you will be able
to create all the basic flash site stuff your currently using Flash CS4 for without
writing any code at all. But obviously if you have a bit more of an understanding of
what's going on with the code, you will be able to do those things quicker, and do
Let's clear something up, shall we.
I can code. I know how to code.
I can design. I know how to design.
Learning one more code for me isn't that hard and I'll probably do it. However, I'm in the extreme minority.
The majority of my clients are artists. They design and work extremely non-linear. They have Flash Professional since it came with their CS3 or CS4 suite. They know just enough to get into it and do some very small things. They don't, and let me very clear here, and WON'T learn another code. It was like pulling teeth to get them to use Flash Professional.
The rub is that now that they do use it and they see Catalyst, they want Catalyst and Flash Professional to work together. You won't get a compromise from artists. That's what makes them artists. Period.
Adobe isn't blind here. They understand artists. That's why that created Catalyst. But it's not 'Flash', it's 'Flex'. Yes, MXML has AS3 in it. But if you think artists are going to even take a whiff of it, then I think you are clearly misjudging their way of doing things.
As it stands, I have over 200 clients that I work with and have over the past 17 years. Over half are artists/designers. When I showed them Flash Catalyst, they got so excited, it was downright embarrassing. Of the ones who knew Flash and a small portion of AS3, they immediately started thinking about doing their final tweaks in Flash Professional. When I explained that they would not be able to, but they could get Flash Builder to tweak the code, I could swear I saw the blood rush out of their heads and they got the cold sweats.
Artists hate coding. Period. They don't even like having to use computers quite frankly. Give them some paper and some pencils and they are in heaven. Put them in a chair and give them a mouse and the complaining will start.
That's the reality.
Lastly, for people like me, there are economies of scale that I have to deal with. While learning MXML won't be a huge learning curve, it will be one. It takes time. Time spent learning one more freaking code system is time spent not earning money.
So, when will I learn it? Probably in my spare time, which means I spend less time with my family. Less time decompressing from my work and more time stressing over learning more stuff. More time in front of a computer than outside doing things with my kids. I certainly can't take time away at work doing it or I'm not earning a living.
That's the reality.
You can pose all the situations and solutions and say it's not that hard and all that. To that I say 'congratulations to you', but that's not how the majority of artists work and if this product ships without support for Flash Professional, you will get a great deal of confusion and a lot of frustrated customers, mostly artists.
Is it fair to want your cake and eat it too? Maybe... maybe not. But reality is rarely fair. Usually it just stands up in front of us blocking our way and slapping us across the face for being way too naive.
If Adobe ships this product with the Flash name, you are going to hear a lot of complaining if they can't get it into Flash Professional.
That's the reality.
Wow 17 years is a lot longer than I've been doing this. You obviously have a good grasp of what your clients want.
I suppose the reality is though that if your clients / (designers) want products that take advantage of the benefits of using FB / FC but aren't prepared to learn any of it themselves then you just charge them to do it for them. You can always bring swfs/ symbols / artwork etc from flash into FB if you want, even with AS3 on different keyframes on the timeline (god forbid).
I am fairly sure when I say that MXML really is another mark up of AS3 that comes with a bunch of extra components in the framework, which you can use in FB using either MXML or AS3, (often a combination of the two, but if you don't want to use MXML, you can get away with using the default application tags that are inserted for you when you create a new file). You can even just drag most components into the design view and it will write the MXML for you.
That's why if you look up a MXML tag in the help docs the results look the same as in the AS3 docs, often not containing any MXML at all. MXML is basically just a faster way of writing the same AS3. When it doesn't do what you need it to, you can extend it with the same AS3 used in flash.
Any way obviously different people will have different views on this but if people can understand HTML structure they can understand MXML structure. If they're not prepared to consider it, then they can pay someone who is. In my much more limited experience in this industry, learning new techniques and even code everyday is the reality, and if your clients aren't prepared to update their skills and knowledge they're not going to be able to create the most up todate applications that the end user wants.
I've been a designer/artist for 15 years, and some of what you say is true. Designers/artists hate to code. We resent any time taken away from our focus on design, so any tool that exists to allow us to bypass code and design visually, we jump at.
I have plenty of experience with Flash, and as a tool for designing interactive websites and applications, it falls way short. Flash wasn't originally designed to build websites and applications, and so the process is very non-intuitive.
Catalyst appears to be the version of Flash I always wanted. It's shortcomings at this point are purely due to its youth, and as the product matures from beta to 1.0 to 2.0 and beyond, I think it will be able to do many of the things we are asking for on this forum.
Which is why I think it will distance itself from Flash, and won't have interactivity with it beyond being able to import Flash files into Catalyst. Right now artists need to suck it up and learn Flash Builder until Catalyst matures. Believe me, I don't wish to learn Flash Builder, but pulling Catalyst into Flash to make edits seems like putting a band-aid on an amputated leg.
i am agree with you, we may import and HD to flv video directly here, and .swf parts also... Something missing here...(FC)