I really like the idea of catalyst, split the work between designers and developers, let each of them do what they do best. I am a developer, and I've been responsible for the last few months to work with a few designers and create a RIA in flex 4. We used Flash Builder and Catalyst and Illustrator. Overall we really enjoyed the experience, the designers did a really good job, gave us their work in illustrator. One of our programmers who had some design sense put the project into catalyst, and in a short time had some pretty good looking stuff, and then we all went to town programming the app.
The problem that I saw with the whole Idea, and one of the biggest problems we faced was that the design of the application didn't stop when the designers gave us their work. In fact, I'm going to have to say that rarely if ever, is that the case. There needs to be some way that the design and programming can truely be done at the same time. It seems like catalyst can only output two types of files, a fxp and a fxpl. It can only open fxp, illustrator and photoshop files. Flash builder can only import fxp and fxpl files, but when it exports a fxp project, it is can't be opened by catalyst. This creates a one way workflow, things come out of catalyst, and into flash builder. So whenever something changed in the design, we'd have to go through a painful process of importing a new project or library, painstakingly parsing through it to find the changes, and then pulling those out of the new project and putting them into our old project (or visa versa). This pain seems to be slightly eased through the use of library projects, but still, it wasn't great.
Perhaps I'm missing something. Perhaps there is a way for a designer to continue to update his design, while the programmer added features and functionality to the program, I just don't see catalyst working for this.
Is there any way you can have Catalyst work on flex projects that are already in development (in the development stage)? If not is there any plan for this? If you could have catalyst work on an existing project, it seems it would also work nicely with version control systems as well.
All in all I think Catalyst is great. It closes that big void between the designer and developer. But I think that it is missing a really important part of the puzzle. It seems that most projects need a two way solution.
I'm surprised such a well-written question got no responses. Has this been addressed in CS5.5 with FB 4.5 and Catalyst?
I'm new to Flex/Flash RIA development but am already facing similar issues between the design and programming sides of things.
you'r right, the second interesting point is, this topic is around 17 months old now, and there's still all the same problems.
i wrote my point of view on this into "Working on pages in 1 Library..."
After finishing more possibilitys, together with an developer to try out some workarounds (for workflows), we got too many problems to discuss, but two mainproblems are written down in "Catalyst 5.5 is still in its egg..."
Two main-problems for us so far: not to be able to work on the Library anymore if it has a component which can't be editet by catalyst (the library will cancel the import) So the "workflow" is truely just "one-way"... which is from designer to developer. And just for a handfull of components possible so far (even no datagrid!)
It's a pity this tool is named to be in Version 1.5, but for us its more a good Beta-version, but not useful (so far) for a real workflow with existing projects, nor new(multi-target)-projects.