I've written at least one post about Adobe Flex, the killer fusion of XML and ActionScripting 3 that makes the development of Rich Internet Applications extremely easy, fast and–let's be honest–extremely sexy.  The one drawback of Flex up until now (IMO) is the clunkiness of the design interface.  While it is easy to layout and manipulate design items, I have found it a bit tedious to style applications they way I want them.

Well, Adobe has made inroads to solving this issue with the development of their now Labs-interred Thermo.  Thermo is basically the designer's Flex.  Designers can import Photoshop files (and hopefully Illustrator…) into Thermo and begin creating working examples of functionality and animations in Flex.  For example, graphical text boxes can be point-and-click converted to real, manipulateable input boxes; lists of items can be converted to real data-driven lists; and so on.  

The purpose of this, of course, is to bring the design and development community closer together.  Instead of the designer simply handing a flat PSD file to a developer with illegible notes about what they would like the final product to look like (e.g., transitions), the designer can herself create a mockup of the functionality in Thermo.

But the best part is that they can then pass the prototyped version of the application to their developer.  Because all that has been done is managed in clean, well-formated MXML, the developer can spend time dealing with more precise logic and data-manipulation.  

In the final analysis, Thermo seeks to save PSD files from the inevitable doom of a necessary, but ultimately worthless step.  With Thermo, the PSD can become the actual graphical backbone of the application, which was, after all, its initial purpose.

Check out this video which shows some of this .