Review: Flash Catalyst CS5 provides rapid development of interactive projects
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Review: Flash Catalyst CS5 provides rapid development of interactive projects

By Cyndy Cashman

Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5 (http://www.adobe.com) is an US399 Flash development tool for creating interactive applications. Geared toward designers, Flash Catalyst allows designers to turn static Illustrator, Photoshop, and Fireworks files into interactive applications without writing code. At the core of Flash Catalyst are components such as buttons, scroll bars, sliders, text fields, checkboxes, and data lists that are used to create interactions.

The interface is uncluttered and simple to use once you grasp the basics of the program. Its layout is similar to other Adobe programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks. Content is organized into pages/states that allow you to see exactly how content will look as you built different interactions. For example, if a user clicks a button to magnify the view of a street map, you can see the current page and the magnified view in the Pages/States panel.

The artboard, which displays the page’s content, is in the center surrounded by assorted panels. The Wireframe Components panel contains 10 prebuilt components whose appearance can be modified using the Properties panel. These prebuilt components are nice to have if you’re building a rapid prototype.

The real power behind Catalyst is the ability to import your own artwork and convert it to a component. Converting artwork to a component is easy. First, import either an Illustrator or Photoshop file into Catalyst. Next, select the element you want to convert to a component. The heads-up display (HUD) window will appear displaying a list of the different types of components that you can convert the element into. Once you have selected a component type, the HUD displays a note called Next Steps, telling you how to finalize the component. Catalyst writes the code needed behind the scenes.

The Tool panel provides basic tools for adding a line, rectangle, circle, or other closed shapes to a page. The Properties panel for each tool lets you specify fill color, stroke color, and fill opacity. Catalyst was built to allow designers to import artwork rather than create it, and its roundtrip editing capabilities with Photoshop and Illustrator CS5 are straightforward and easy-to-use.

The Timeline panel allows you to adjust the duration and smoothness of transitions between pages/states and objects, such as video. A limited variety of actions can be added to objects from the Timeline panel. For example, you can add an action to rotate an object or change its alpha. Grouped with the Timeline panel is the Design-Time Data panel. This panel allows you to add mock data such as text or images to simulate connection to a database. Once the design is completed, the Flash Catalyst file is handed off to a developer to add the connection code using Flash Builder.

You can choose to publish your project for deployment on the Web and create a desktop application. To publish your project, choose File>Publish to SWF/AIR to open the Publish to SWF dialog. This dialog contains a list of options for publishing your project, including Build for Accessibility, Build Version for Upload to a Web Server, Build Version to View Offline, and Build AIR Application. I checked all options when I published my file. While the file wasn’t large, it did contain several interactions and a video. Catalyst published all three versions of the projects into easily identifiable folders: AIR, Deploy to Web, and Run Local.

I like Catalyst for the audience for which it was designed. Overall, it’s easy to use. I didn’t find it particularly intuitive but I was able to create a simple project after following an Adobe tutorial. However, I didn’t always get what I expected when I applied a timeline action to an object. I also found the settings in the Properties panel for the actions limiting. Catalyst definitely has a place in the world of interactive development. It fills a niche by allowing designers to concentrate on designing rather than learning code.

Rating: 8 out of 10

(This review is brought to you courtesy of "Layers Magazine": http://www.layersmagazine.com ).

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Ys Chronicles II (Games)
Ys Chronicles II 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: After a hard fight to recover the six sacred books in Ys Chronicles I, Adol is back for a sequel! | Read more »
FINAL FANTASY Ⅸ (Games)
FINAL FANTASY Ⅸ 1.0.4 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $16.99, Version: 1.0.4 (iTunes) Description: ==========●Special sale price for the FINAL FANTASY IX release! ●20% off from February 10 to February 21, 2016... | Read more »
Tennis Club Story (Games)
Tennis Club Story 1.03 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.03 (iTunes) Description: Aim for the ace position of tennis club prestige in this simulation! Your leadership decides if players make it to the big... | Read more »
Juggernaut Wars guide - How to use skill...
Juggernaut Warsis a brand new auto-RPG on iOS and Android that challenges you to build a team of heroes, send them out into various different missions to defeat waves of heroes, and level them up to increase their power. The actual combat itself... | Read more »
Check out the new Pirate Attack update i...
Love pirates and board games? Well, you'll love the new Pirate Attack themed update that just launched in Game of Dice. It adds a bunch of new content themed around pirates, like an all new event map based on a pirate ship which revamps the toll... | Read more »
Splash Cars guide - How to paint the tow...
Splash Cars is an arcade driving game that feels like a hybrid between Dawn of the Plow and Splatoon. In it, you'll need to drive a car around to repaint areas of a town that have lost all of their color. Check out these tips to help you perform... | Read more »
The best video player on mobile
We all know the stock video player on iOS is not particularly convenient, primarily because it asks us to hook a device up to iTunes to sync video in a world that has things like Netflix. [Read more] | Read more »
Four apps to help improve your Super Bow...
Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, and whether you’re a Panthers or a Broncos fan you’re no doubt gearing up for it. [Read more] | Read more »
LooperSonic (Music)
LooperSonic 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: LooperSonic is a multi-track audio looper and recorder that will take your loops to the next level. Use it like a loop pedal to... | Read more »
Space Grunts guide - How to survive
Space Grunts is a fast-paced roguelike from popular iOS developer, Orange Pixel. While it taps into many of the typical roguelike sensibilities, you might still find yourself caught out by a few things. We delved further to find you some helpful... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple refurbished 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 15″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $380 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 15″ 2... Read more
BookBook For iPad Pro Coming Soon
The iPad Pro is a device unlike any other, and with Apple Pencil, it’s the ideal portable sketchpad: all that’s missing is the modern easel and portfolio to go. TwelveSouth’s BookBook for iPad Pro... Read more
12-inch 1.2GHz Silver Retina MacBook on sale...
B&H Photo has the 12″ 1.2GHz Silver Retina MacBook on sale for $1399 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this model from... Read more
iPads on sale at Target: $100 off iPad Air 2,...
Target has WiFi iPad Air 2s and iPad mini 4s on sale for up to $100 off MSRP on their online store for a limited time. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for... Read more
Target offers Apple Watch for $100 off MSRP
Target has Apple Watches on sale for $100 for a limited time. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for online orders only, in-store prices may vary: - Apple... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off original MSRP, starting at $979. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free... Read more
Macs available for up to $300 off MSRP, $20 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free, and... Read more
Watch Super Bowl 50 Live On Your iPad For Fre...
Watch Super Bowl 50 LIVE on the CBS Sports app for iPad and Apple TV. Get the app and then tune in Sunday, February 7, 2016 at 6:30 PM ET to catch every moment of the big game. The CBS Sports app is... Read more
Two-thirds Of All Smart Watches Shipped In 20...
Apple dominated the smart watch market in 2015, accounting for over 12 million units and two-thirds of all shipments according to Canalys market research analysts’ estimates. Samsung returned to... Read more
12-inch 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up...
B&H Photo has 12″ 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $180 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 12″ 1.2GHz Gray Retina MacBook: $1499 $100 off MSRP - 12″ 1.2GHz Silver... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* System Analyst - ATOS IT Services...
Apple System AnalystReference no.198783CountryUSARegionUS - CALIFORNIACityUS - CALIFORNIA - BURBANKPosition TypeProfessionalJob AreaIT SupportJob TypeFull Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Subject Matter Expert - Experis (Uni...
This position is for an Apple Subject Matter Expert to assist in developing the architecture, support and services for integration of Apple devices into the domain. Read more
*Apple* Macintosh OSX - Net2Source Inc. (Uni...
…: * Work Authorization : * Contact Number(Best time to reach you) : Skills : Apple Macintosh OSX Location : New York, New York. Duartion : 6+ Months The associate would Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.