This is my first post on your Labs forums. I just finished playing with the new CS4 -> Flash Catalyst -> Flash Builder workflow and have to say: I am inspired but not impressed. As mainly an AJAX and Cocoa developer, I had to learn AS3 syntax and MXML markup as I went along. I will list my three biggest problems with Catalyst and Builder below.
Design still mingles with Logic
When I first saw Catalyst and Builder, I was excited to finally see a real separation of code and design. I was expecting Catalyst to be the OSX "Interface Builder" of flex, and Builder to be the "XCode." I do like the <fx:Script /> <fx:Declarations /> and <fx:Design /> separation in each MXML document, but feel as if the <fx:Design /> segment should somehow be "off limits" to developers (or at least discouraged). If Catalyst was only allowed to edit the Design segment of the MXML and Builder only edited the Script and Declarations segments then leaner coding practice could be achieved and true interoperability between Designer and Developer would be reachable.
Please allow for custom transitions and transition copying/grouping
At the moment, Catalyst strikes me as an extremely dumbed down version of Flash that only lets the designer use preset "transitions" on their component heirarchy. This is suboptimal in two ways: Firstly, if the designer wants anything more complex than a linear move + Rotate3D + fade, they will have to just give up the UI to the developer. We are trying to avoid having the developer write UI code, so the designer should be able to really get creative with their transitions and animations without having to create swcs or swfs in Flash IDE. Secondly, there is no way to save a transition and apply it to elements of the same type. Layouts are often very repetitive and it is inhumane to expect a designer to sit there and drag out "transition" sliders for each dropdown on a page (for example). I agree that this scripting should be done in a GUI like Catalyst, but components need to be able to inherit transitions. I don't even want to imagine a GUI for such a thing, but you are Adobe, this is what you guys do!
Allow us to export to either Air or SWF at build-time, not at import!
I don't see why this isn't already enabled. Isn't Air supposed to have even more features than Flash? Couldn't Flash Builder just scan your project and warn you of any "air-only" libraries you are using? If you choose not to use anything other than the standard Flash 10 libraries, what would be the harm in giving us the option to export as either at build-time?
I hope that my comments were somewhat useful. Before anybody responds with hostility: I am not a professional Flex developer. This was my first time playing around with the Flex framework and with Catalyst <-> Interface Builder, these were my first impressions.
Thanks for producing such amazing products--
P.S. Your spell checker converts all ":D"s to .. As in <fx:Design /> to <fxesign />.. Made me chuckle