3 Replies Latest reply on Mar 11, 2011 12:22 PM by jeffreypritchard

    Spark Skinning and Flash Professional




      In transitioning to Flex Builder fom Flex 3, I am running into a wall with the whole spark component architecture. I used to create my visual content in Flash, convert those assets to symbols and then reference the skin classes using an external CSS file. This may not have been the most elegant way to do things, but it allowed me to leverage my proficiency in Flash (and tons of existing assets) to create a workflow that was as flexible as I needed it to be, while at the same time allowing me to make changes easily and rapidly.


      I am a single designer/developer, so this 'separation' of everything between 'designers' and 'developers' is creating some serious drag on my workflow. I just don't understand how this new spark workflow model can possibly be viewed as 'efficient' when it adds so much overhead and boilerplate code to my projects. I used to go from vector graphics (using 9 slice scaling) directly into my Flex projects, and now I have to filter all of these vectors through catalyst, and then create these skin classes which require the tweaking of the catalyst output for me to use them (which, in effect, destroys the round-trip editing of the catalyst projects).


      I must be missing something major because, it just doesn't make any sense to me. I know that I can always use the mx components to continue to work the way I am now, but to what end ? I get these warnings that all but tell me the mx buttons are going to be deprecated sooner or later so what should I do ? Just because it's possible to represent vectors with xml doesn't mean that it's a good idea. It seems as if Adobe took something that was optimized (at least for my workflow), and turned it upside down and made things so much more labor-intensive, with no real benefits. I'd use CSS until I couldn't achieve the appearance I wanted, and then for the rest I'd skin the components in Flash Professional.


      If you are still reading this, thank you. I really only have a couple of simple questions: Are MX components going to be deprecated ?, which, I know only Adobe folk can answer, and the more important question (for me): Does a workflow exist between Flash Professional and Flash Builder for the skinning of spark components. I have read a couple of other posts which ask similar questions, and some have 'solutions', but again, these seem to be ways to work around the new component architecture, rather than how to maximize it's efficiency and effectiveness.


      I feel like I should have just stayed with Flex Builder, and Flash Pro because the newest version of Flash Builder just seems more and more like a tweener version that I could have skipped altogether and waited for the platform to mature a little more.


      Thanks for staying with me, I apologize for the rambling.

        • 1. Re: Spark Skinning and Flash Professional
          curtis33321 Level 1

          I can't really help you pick the best MVC framework, but I can recommend that if you are moving your Flex 3 projects to Flex 4, make as few changes as possible for moving components right now.  Like you said, we are in the middle of a transition.  The Adobe guys recommend not porting all of your mx Projects over to Spark.  I have a large Flex 3 project that I'm almost finished moving to 4.1 and I have changed as little as possible.  The only reason I converted it was to take advantage of some of the nice things they've done with data services and binding.


          I don't think it is a waste of time to take Flex 3 projects and make them run in Flex 4.1 or higher, but I do think it is a waste of time to convert all of those components over to their Spark counterparts at this time.

          • 2. Re: Spark Skinning and Flash Professional
            jeffreypritchard Level 1

            Thanks for your reply Curtis,


            I have already done exactly what you mentioned, and transitioned my projects to run using 4.1 with minimal problems. Aside from some of the new namespace requirements and package declaration changes (FlexGlobals, etc.) , I've tried to keep everything else that didn't require change the way it was. I just really hope that there is some consideration given for those who have invested a lot of time and effort to transition from Flash Pro to Flex (Flash Builder) in the future.


            I'm just not a big fan of Flash Catalyst right now (at least not the current release). But if you want to skin your components using vectors, it seems to be a requirement and not an option. But it's basically just getting in my way and causing me to do something else in order to achieve the same results that I used to in the past. It's another moving part of the process that is only necessary because of this new 'efficient' and 'flexible' component architecture (which, in my opinion, is neither).


            Thanks again for your response, I appreciate it.

            • 3. Re: Spark Skinning and Flash Professional
              curtis33321 Level 1

              Maybe you want to go to the Flex 360 conference next month.  I bet they will be close to the next version of Catalyst which will be 2-way with Flash Builder and there will probably be a lot of resources to tap into on the best way to skin with vectors.