October 06, 2007

Adobe “Thermo”: Photoshop -> RIA

In my pre-Adobe job, I lost countless hours turning complex Photoshop PSD files into something ready to animate in Flash.  In fact, the pain of that process is largely what drove me to work at Adobe, trying to devise something more efficient.  Flash CS3 marks a giant step forward in its ability to suck in PSDs & turn them into layers and symbols.  That’s great, but what if you’re a designer working with Adobe Flex to build rich Internet apps?  The hand-off right now isn’t so seamless.

The need to turn designs into interactive apps quickly is what’s driving development of a new Adobe application code-named “Thermo” and sneak-peeked at Adobe MAX.  To borrow Sean Corfield’s nice summary:

The much anticipated “Thermo” was next. As expected, this is a designer-focused application for creating Flex applications. Starting with a Photoshop PSD file, Thermo imported this and converted it to MXML. Design elements can then be selected and with a simple right-click they can be converted from artwork to Flex controls. The automatic inference of design-time data sets so you could test UI interactions with “real” data was very impressive. You really cannot appreciate the impact this had on the audience – it drew a huge amount of applause and loud cheers! [Via]

To see the tool in action, check out Aral Balkan’s videos & notes from the keynote.

Update: Here’s perspective from Adobe Chief Software Architect Kevin Lynch:

[Thermo is] for people who are using tools like Illustrator or Photoshop and have a background in interface design and want to create a great experience for someone. But they are primarily a designer… [T]he designer can not only draw what the application looks like, but they can also add the interactivity for how it works.  The magic of what we’re showing with Thermo right now is that you can select elements that are just pictures on the drawing and you can say this actually represents a list box, or this represents a text edit field and we put the logic to convert the picture into a work component.


Posted by John Nack at 1:08 PM on October 06, 2007
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