With Flex, you can easily style or skin your app. In skinning, you use external images or files (as swf files, actionscript files as programmatic skins) to give the exact and sometimes complex appearance you want.
As explained in a very good article from Adobe, you can use bitmap or vector files. Vector-based skins, ie swf files, are better for performance and scalabity. Available tools are Flash, Illustrator, Swish or Corel Draw ; all of them generate swf files that can then be used as skins by Flex (not sure that Corel generates symbols in its swf). These tools are great but most of them are expensive for someone like me, just developping for fun, or if you use them just for application skinning ;p
You can create bitmap skins using Fireworks for example, or your preferred image editing tool like Photoshop, quite easily using the instructions given in this articles. And I loved this way of generating skins :
- a single template file containing skin elements that are distributed in layers,
- a convenient export feature generating each individual files,
- a CSS template file that can be used as is in the Flex app.
Again, great great tools but I would prefer to find a free vector drawing tool able to apply this easy process of skin generation (easy process once the huge labor of drawing is done, of course…).
There is probably a bunch of such tools but, I gave my preference to Inkscape. So let\’s talk about it…