The tool, codenamed Thermo, enables designers to draw an image of the appearance of the application and then, without having to write a single line of code, generate applications from those images in which there is a full ability to interact with users, as stated by Mark Anders, vice president of engineering at Adobe. He and Steven Heintz (Adobe Product Manager) demonstrated the tool at the presentation at the Adobe MAX 2007 user conference in Chicago, USA.
Adobe, like Microsoft and other companies that offer tools to develop rich applications for the Internet, is trying to solve the problem of how designers and programmers can work together, because the processes of each are very different.
Traditionally, it has always been very difficult for designers to see their vision of the application’s visual presentation embodied once the developers had implemented the program logic. Furthermore, designers are visually oriented and generally not good programmers, so it has always been more difficult for them to create an application that would really respond to their initial vision with current tools.
According to Anders, Thermo should help solve these problems by allowing designers to convert their visual representation of an application into a functional program before it reaches developers. As he says, “We’re trying to make it so that designers don’t have to change the way they work, and that it also makes more sense when they give it to developers.”
Thermo, which is still in the early stages of development, is built on the Flex Builder development environment, a tool that the company already offers today to fill the gap between developers and designers. Flex offers workflows that developers can recognize to render visual parts of the application, making it easier for them to include visuals in an RIA application. Designers using Thermo will not have to write code in their applications, but will be able to view the source code as well as edit it in the Flex Builder editor if they wish, as Anders indicates.
A previous version of Thermo should be available over the next year, although Adobe has not yet indicated the expected date for the final availability of the product.