I’m about to hop on a plane for Chicago to attend MAX 2007. I’m always excited to meet real customers, experience their enthusiasm, and find out what we can do better.

But this year, I’m extra excited, because we’ll be unveiling the new project I’m working on, an RIA design tool codenamed “Thermo”. Mark Anders let slip a little information about in in his blog, but we’re keeping it under wraps until we show it at MAX. I’m sure I’ll be talking about it a lot more once we’ve unveiled it!

In the meantime, to tide you over, I wanted to point out something else exciting that we’ve released in time for MAX: My good friend and colleague Rob Adams has just published the first part of the Flex Interface Guide (FIG) on the revamped Flex Developer Center. I’ll let Rob describe its purpose in his own words:

The FIG describes (and in some ways prescribes) the kinds of RIAs that we intend folks to build with the Flex platform. Good RIAs. Great ones, even. RIAs that are as well designed as Adobe XD showcase apps such as the Tour Tracker and some of the best customer applications like Yahoo! Maps and Picnik. By articulating the design principles and practices behind these applications, we hope to make it easier for Flex designers and developers to learn how to design their own applications to be as good or better than these.

But the FIG is more than just advice. Articulating what we think makes a great RIA helps us understand what we need to do to make building such RIAs even easier in the Flex framework than they are today. If a best practice we discuss in the FIG is more difficult to achieve in Flex than you’d like, we’re going to take that really seriously and make it easier as soon as we possibly can. One way we’ll do that is by revving the Flex framework and tools, but another, faster way is by releasing components and sample code on the FIG site itself that developers can pick up an use to easily implement many of the FIG design idioms.

So far we’ve posted the first half of the “Designing for Flex” series, which describes the general principles of the FIG, along with an initial set of components that exemplify some of the ideas in the FIG. Over the next few months Rob is going to roll out the rest of the series, and introduce a more specific set of practical guidelines that you can use directly when designing Flex applications.

I think Rob has done a great job distilling and articulating the collective wisdom of the Adobe design team, and am excited to see how people respond to the FIG. Check it out and let us know what you think! And, if you’re at MAX, come to the BOF that Rob and I are hosting on the FIG on Monday night–check the conference schedule for details.

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