I have seen the future, and its name is THERMO.
I was at Adobe's MAX conference in Chicago last week and had the opportunity to see what I can only describe as probably one of the most exciting pieces of technology I've seen in the past five years. It is something that will change the way I do my own work and will probably do the same for many others as well. It is called Thermo.
Adobe gave a little sneak peek of Thermo -- which is an application that Adobe is working on (they have made no formal announcement as to when it would ship). The name Thermo is also a codename -- no word on what the final application may be called.
Before I can accurately describe what Thermo is, I have to paint the picture of where things are today.
As my loyal readers, you are familiar with kuler -- which is what Adobe refers to as an RIA (or a Rich Internet Application). That's because while it uses the internet, it doesn't necessarily have to live in a browser. You may also be familiar with AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime), which enables RIAs to simply run on your desktop -- no browser needed. Besides kuler, Adobe also recently took the wraps off AMP, or the Adobe Media Player -- which is a player (much like the Real Player or the QuickTime player), but which naturally supports FLV playback amongst many other things. AMP is an RIA that runs on AIR as well.
But how does one build such applications? Well, it usually requires both a designer and a developer to work together. The designer creates comps using applications like Illustrator, Photoshop, and even Flash. These designs may look nice, but they just sit there -- they aren't functional. A developer then has to write the code to make the application function as intended, using tools like Flash and Flex Builder.
Thermo is an application built for designers that allows you to design in Illustrator or Photoshop, and then easily convert design elements into functional code that works. Meaning, you can DRAW a picture of a button or a slider and then simply click on it and tell Thermo you want the picture or design element to be a button. In the background, THERMO WRITES ALL OF THE FLEX CODE FOR YOU. It also means that at the same time, a designer can tweak the LOOK of the app while a developer plugs in code to hook up your app to a back-end server, etc. It's all the same code.
It's unreal, and you really can't fully grasp the potential of this until you actually see it. And what do you know -- you can watch a video of the entire Thermo sneak peek right here... ENJOY.
Would love to hear comments on what others think about this...