…he says, belatedly. If you’re wondering why this blog and Snackr haven’t been updated lately, this is mostly why :)

On Monday, we released betas of:

  • Flash Catalyst — This is the new product I’ve been primarily working on for the last couple of years: the interaction design tool formerly codenamed “Thermo”. It allows you to take artwork created in the Creative Suite tools and turn it into a working Flash interface. You can publish it as a standalone piece, or give it to a developer to add functionality in…
  • Flash Builder 4 — This is the next version of Flex Builder, with a slightly new name and a whole bunch of new features for developer productivity and easy data access. We renamed it Flash Builder in order to emphasize that it’s a tool for building all kinds of Flash applications (including pure-ActionScript apps), aligning it better with our other Flash Platform tools, and reserving the name Flex for…
  • Flex 4 SDK — the open-source framework that’s the foundation of both Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder 4. The biggest feature is the new Spark component architecture, which completely separates the presentation of components from their underlying logic. Without Spark, Flash Catalyst wouldn’t be able to make it so easy to turn artwork into skinned components.

If you do try out Flash Catalyst, check out the great documentation, tutorials and videos page. In addition to content from our Learning Resources team, there are videos from some of the developers on the FC team, and from other folks on our prerelease group. It’ll really help you get up to speed quickly.

As someone who helped start this and this, I can say it’s always a little nerve-wracking to release the first public beta version of a new 1.0 product. You wince at every bug you knew someone was going to run into (and the ones you didn’t know about), and you wish you could just tell everyone “we’re planning to get to it, really!” for all the features that didn’t make the beta, or that you know aren’t even going to make the 1.0 release. But that’s dwarfed by the excitement of having people encounter it for the first time and seeing what they can actually make with it despite its limitations. I’ve already been amazed by what we’ve seen our prerelease group do with Catalyst, and I’m looking forward to see what you can do with it!

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