I have the Flex Builder Beta on my Mac. I have gone through all the tutorials. The team of developers I work with also have the Beta on the computers and have gone through the tutorials. I have demoed Flex to the Designers I work with and they seem impressed, if only because its seemingly powerful but not overly complex in how using drag and drop components you can quickly build apps that would have taken days in Flash. So basically, we are just waiting for the right job to come to build using Flex. Low risk, flexible timeline, an easy to work with client, etc. We currently don’t have anything like that in the queue right now, but I’m sure in a couple months or less, something will come in, and it’ll be time to give it a spin.
One thing I’m not quite sure about is how to have the UI designer go through the graphic design process with Flex as the final deliverable platform. Flash MX2004 introduced the v2 components, which completely changed how you design commmon UI elements, etc. I had a heck of a time getting my designers to feel comfortable using those components and assist skinning them, making sure they knew the constraints, etc. Finally, at Flash 8, we are regularly reskinning these components and the workflow seems pretty comfortable.
It looks like with Flex and Apollo things are going to be shaken up again. The components and skinning process operate much differently, and the MXML files are not seemingly somewhere you want a designer digging around in. Content/Presentation and logic are separated, which is great from my point of view, but a bit abstract for those coming from a timeline and library type of background. The concept of states and stacks vs. timelines and nested movie clips are just foreign enough to prove to be a bit of a impediment. I am starting to explore information out there on skinning Flex Components, I have played with the new Flex 2 style explorer, and the new (to me anyway) site ScaleNine look to be a cool way to start learning how themes/skins work.
How about developers/teams out there actively working on and designing Flex apps and UIs? Any tips or ideas on team integration? Workflows? Design comps and process? Do you concern yourselves with getting the designers up to speed on how the components work? Or do you just depend on your skills/know how to make whatever your designers think up come to life?
Posted on February 17, 2007