As many have already blogged about, Adobe announced the project “Thermo” last Tuesday at the general session at MAX 2007 in Chicago. Thermo will be a new tool to help designers create Flex applications using a lot of their familiar workflows. You can find out all about it on Adobe Labs. Aral Balkan filmed some nice footage of the keynote and demo. You can find it here. Unfortunately, all of us employees were forced into a separate room during these general sessions, so we couldn’t do our fair share of oohhh… ahhss.. and cheering.
People at the conference seemed really excited about the prospects of this product and wanted to know when we were coming out with it. But, there is no news in that department. There are no promises as to when this tool will make it to market. Right now, everything is a prototype.
For me, the most exciting this to see was that something that I tested a long time ago has finally been used in the public. In the demo, they showed a photoshop file getting imported into Thermo to create a Flex Application. A brief look at the code will show a new “<mx:Graphic>” tag to represent this image. Inside this <mx:Graphic> tag were other tags like <mx:BitmapGraphic> and <mx:TextGraphic>. I tested these new Graphic tags for the Flex framework at the beginning of this year even though they were not going into Flex 3 (Moxie), so, it was exciting to finally see them used in a Flex Application. A slew of new graphics objects were added to Flex, with corresponding MXML tags. This includes tags for rectangles, lines, ellipses, paths, text, bitmaps, strokes and fills, filters, transformations, and groups. All of these objects can be accessed and manipulated at runtime. So, you will be able to do something like this to draw a simple red line that is 200 pixels long:
<mx:Graphic> <mx:Line yTo="200"> <mx:stroke> <mx:Stroke color="0xff0000" weight="3" caps="round" /> </mx:stroke> </mx:Line> </mx:Graphic>
You would be able to treat this Graphic like any other Flex component and change its properties or styles at runtime, play effects on it, etc. Of course, all of this is just in the “prototype” phase, so any of these Graphic tags could change. However, I think its a great step forward for flex to have a set of tags to represent any graphic.