Data lists and design-time data
When developing an application that’s used to present large amounts of data, it’s not always possible to see the end result until the application is running and connected to a back-end data source. That is unless you’re using a Flash Catalyst Data List component and design-time data.
Flash Catalyst includes special type of component called a Data List component that’s used to retrieve and display a series of related items. The name data can be little misleading. Each unique record in a Flash Catalyst data list can include artwork, text, or a combination of both. It doesn’t need to be a list at all. Traditionally, a data list might look something like a spreadsheet or data table. Using Flash Catalyst, you can build a Data List component that displays a tiled wall of images, a scrolling filmstrip, or a series of thumbnails, from which you select and view other content or navigate to new locations in the application. By adding a scroll bar, you can extend the list to include any number of items. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from making your data list look like an ordinary list if that’s what you want. In fact, there’s even a built-in wireframe Data List component to help you get started. Design-time data allows you to use content, such as sample database records or bitmap images, without having to actually connect to a back-end system. This gives designers complete control over the final look and feel of the user experience. A developer using Adobe Flash Builder can replace the sample design-time data with real data from a database while maintaining the interactions and pixel-perfect design from Flash Catalyst. Round-trip editing Flash Catalyst provide a good collection of tools for creating and modifying basic lines and shapes—including gradients and a nice collection of filters for adding drop shadows, beveled edges, and more. If you have a copy of Adobe Photoshop CS5 or Adobe Illustrator CS5 installed, you can also take advantage of the Flash Catalyst integrated round-trip editing features. Select the artwork you want to edit, launch Illustrator or Photoshop, make changes, and then return the edited artwork to Flash Catalyst.