I'm a flex developer looking for the shortest workflow to use skins in flex
let's take a Button Component for example - in flex 3 i worked with upSkin DownSkin ect' pointing to Movieclips in a flash library swf
it was very convenient, despite the fact i wasn't able to version control it....
now came Flex 4, and by Adobe's Guidlines I'm encouraged to use sparkSkin skins to skin my components - the button....
so i learned the many benefits of version-controling it, the otion to load skins at runtime ect... and it is very slik
but remember - i'm after the shortest workflow....
within the sparkskin file i'm suppose to have the code which describes the graphics of the component
now, i'm sure it was no one's intent that this bit will be done by hand right?
so what options do i have to generate sparkSkin files from my designer's vector graphics either in Illustrator or Flash?
i can export FXG files - but then i'll need again to adjust them by hand to fit in the sparkSkin architechture right?
not short.... not short at all....
so here comes Flash Catalyst as the solution option, which can take files from illustrator and turn them into skins
and it claims to have this seemless workflow i'm after...
so I give it a few tries and come up with the following:
as a skin generator per-se - it's quite nice, though the workflow is still too long because i have to import my AI files, switch to code view
then copy paste the skins it's generating to my Flex project, and if i make adjustments to it in flex, i can't go back to catalyst, i've broken the flow...
so I know many of you think by now - this is not the way you're suppose to use catalyst, you're suppose to create your project in catalyst then take the whole project to flash builder and continue from there....
well this is not really an option for me, since i can't have catalyst automated process make decisions at the project level, for instance, i can't change the folder structure in catalyst. it has components and skins folders and that's it!
i use a different folder structure in my projects, and i can't really change it in flash builder if i open a catalyst project since it has created many dependences in the code that rely on the folder structure that it created
apart from that, it supports a very small subset of flex components, so if i need to skin a combobox, i can't use catalyst to do that because it doesn't support it.
and along with all of that, it supports absolute basic layout
i can't align properly the components without horizontal and vertical components that flex is supporting, but catalyst isn't...
so i can't really use it as the project creator, and i have to use sparkSkins, but catalyst is the only sparkSkin generator i know of, and it doesn't support properly all the components and all what i already mentioned
so where is the golden workflow i got the impression is around???
should i default to flex 3?
should i edit a skin code by hand?
i don't think it really cuts it...
would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on the matter