October 02, 2007

Adobe Thermo: It's the new VB3!

Well, not really, but the whole “Draw things on the canvas, then flip over to see the source code that represents what you drew” thing is so reminiscent of VB or Delphi.

But it’s cleverer than that; in particular, it understands PhotoShop PSD files and can import them, using the layer information to create objects within Thermo. In a fairly impressive demo, a PSD of a music browser was imported into Thermo, and a layer representing a text field was converted into an actual text field, then a set of images was converted into a list object with behaviours and (extensible) properties associated with the list; our old friend, the event handler dialog box reappears, with some clever graphical representations of things like transitions and effects. There’s also a cute lorem ipsum pseudo-data generator which allows you to pretend that you have a data source even though you don’t at design time.

The “Convert Artwork To…” trickery seems quite smart; Thermo seems to have quite a lot of ability to take bits of graphics from a layer and convert them to a functional control, tying different graphics to different parts of the control (eg. the thumb and the track of a scrollbar). Coders can also design their own controls and their own rules for how graphics should be converted to an instance of their control. You can also visually wire objects together such as a list of objects and a scrollbar so that one of them controls or affects the other. (Didn’t Delphi do that once upon a time?)

Easily the best demo of ths show so far; the crowd went pretty wild for it. Nothing shipping until 2008, though.

- 2 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Steven Carpenter

    Sounds lovely. The canvas/source code thing has already been realised in Flex (and lots of other visual development tools) but I’m all for the ‘you draw it and we’ll turn it into layout markup’ thing, especially if your development workflow is missing such expertise. Thermo is another brave (or foolish, dependent on your point of view) attempt to bring designer and developer closer.

    Got to hand it to Adobe though – H.264, Flex framework caching, perspective handling, Media Player, Share, Buzzword, AIR. There can’t be anything else up their sleeves? “One more thing…”

    02 Oct 2007, 21:10

  2. Robert O'Toole

    I had a similar time-warping experience when I first used Flash. With its ability to switch between visual components and code, it was like writing VB6 again, but in Java, and entirely cross-platform.

    03 Oct 2007, 13:44

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