Adobe offers Flash Catalyst for testing

Programmers can now get their hands on a beta for the new design and development tool, as well as Flash Builder, the IDE successor to Flex Builder

Adobe on Monday released a public test version of a new design and development tool called Flash Catalyst, along with test code for Flash Builder 4, the latest version of its development environment.

The software maker also made available the open-source Flex 4 framework that underpins Flash Builder 4, which was previously known as Flex Builder.

Adobe said it rebranded Flex Builder to more clearly align the Eclipse-based development tool with the company's Flash line of products, which include the Flash Player found in most web browsers.

The Flash Builder 4 integrated development environment (IDE) beta introduces a framework created with PHP developer Zend Technologies. It is designed to simplify the creation of links between user interface elements and data in PHP-based back-end systems, Adobe said. The links can now be created with a drag-and-drop approach.

The connections are intended to make it easier to create applications that take data from miscellaneous data sources, such as dashboards, e-commerce sites and self-service web portals.

The final version of Flash Builder 4 is due this year.

Flash Catalyst, a new tool announced by Adobe in April, is aimed at making it easier for designers and developers to work together.

The tool allows a designer to build a user interface using files from Adobe's Photoshop, Illustrator or Fireworks, and create and edit behaviours such as mouse-handling events, all without coding. A developer can then use the resulting project in Flash Builder to code the rest of the application, Adobe said.

Flash Catalyst uses a new interchange format called FXG. Adobe did not give an expected date for the delivery of Flash Catalyst. Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder 4 are both available from Adobe's Labs website.


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