Adobe designed Flash Catalyst to resemble other design tools such as Illustrator and PhotoShop. Catalyst (above) preserves layers and other familiar aspects of those programs, allowing designers to use them to build a Web application’s interface.
Jeffrey Hammond, a principal analyst at Forrester Research covering application development, says that he thinks Catalyst represents “a new class of design tools that bridge the gap between designers and developers.” He thinks that Catalyst will appeal particularly to developers, who “will find Catalyst a much more approachable way to integrate the work of designers into the development process.” Hammond says that he expects to see as many developers using Catalyst as designers.
Catalyst and Builder are well positioned to extend Adobe’s already considerable hold on design software, says Al Hilwa, who is the program director for IDC’s research on application development software. Hilwa believes that it was Microsoft that first identified the gap between designers and developers and moved to fill the hole with its product line Expression Suite. However, Hilwa says, Adobe’s new lineup does a better job of streamlining and building on existing products, leaving Adobe well prepared to compete.
Both Catalyst and Builder are available now as previews, although Builder is in a more mature form than Catalyst. Adobe has not yet said when the products will go on sale.