Local company ChipIn recently launched an amazing WYSIWYG flash widget builder called Sprout. Sprout allows you to combine shapes, images, videos, RSS feeds, maps, and more with a dead simple drag and drop interface. After creating your Sprout (widget) you can publish your creation on dozens of web platforms including MySpace, Facebook and all the popular blogging sites. You can track usage of your widgets using an excellent reporting interface. I was able to create the widget embedded below in about 15 minutes.
Sprout allows you to create multiple pages and link between them, so it would be possible to build an entire marketing site with the tool. The Sprout builder includes many of the same tools you would find in Photoshop or Illustrator including bitmap effects (blur, glow), rotation, opacity settings, etc.
The builder is a pleasure to use. The only thing missing is the ability to add user scripts to events like button clicks. Although Flash doesn't include an interpreter in the runtime, the scripts could be compiled into the Sprouts on the server. Perhaps we will see this in a future version. The Sprout builder itself is a tour de force of Flex programming. CTO Kevin Hughes will be talking about the application architecture at next month's
Honolulu Coders meeting.