Be sure to also check out parts II and III of the video. What’s truly ground-breaking about this new app is how it allows for transforming what were just layers and objects in Photoshop (and possibly other apps – they only used Photoshop in the demo) into actual functioning interface elements on a web page. In other words, rather than being stuck with whatever ui theme that the framework you are using supports, you can just draw the components and then tell Thermo what part of your drawing should have what functionality. In other words, I can turn a text layer in Photoshop into a text field, or two rectangles into a scroll bar. All of this is functioning within Flex, meaning that Photoshop files effectively are being converted into MXML. Rather than requiring developers to recreate all the designer’s efforts, they can now instead allow the designer to bring their work into their framework, and even continue their design work, prototyping behaviors (Thermo has a bunch of cool prototyping features built in, such as easily being able to add sample content) and exploring interactive versions of the formerly static Photoshop files.
In some ways, I am incredibly excited about Thermo, and can’t wait for the public release. But the devil will, as they say, be in the details, and that couldn’t be more true for an application as complex and powerful as this. The demo looks fantastic, but so did a demo of iRise, which I saw years ago, only to discover that the real application fell far short of its promises. Of course, Thermo goes far beyond iRise (after all, iRise is an application simulator, while Thermo in fact is intended to allow for creating real apps), and is many ways a much smarter model, particularly the use of MXML, which allows for much more control and portability.
So, for now, I’m definitely excited about this tool, but only cautiously so.