Flowerbuilder is a neat idea that could do with better execution.
- You can't change the flowers' z-order (that is, "How do I put this one behind that one?"). Any flower you add later is automatically on top of the others. It's annoying if you dump a bunch of flowers of one kind into the app and then--you know--decide you want them in front of other ones.
- Strange things happen when you drag a flower and release it on top of another one. If the one you're dragging is in front, it pops back to where it was, or somewhere else (!). If it's behind the one you release on--that is, there's a more frontward flower already where you're dropping the--then the app doesn't realize you released the button and your flower moves around with the mouse still. By the end I was good at grabbing the flowers by the edges or by the stems.
- You can't select move several flowers as a group. I ended up making a purple heart shape with bands of blue arcing from it, but then realized it would look better if they were all vertically centered in the window. I opted not to move every flower individually again.
- The different steps are on different web pages. One of the reasons to build a Flash application is that your app isn't split across multiple web pages--so don't split your Flash app over multiple web pages. "Preview now" loads a whole different Flash applet, and when you click "Make some changes," it has to go back and reload the flower moving interface, complete with splash "Loading interface..." screen.
- I arranged my flowers as I wanted them, then hit "Preview now"--and I was stunned--stunned, hear!--to discover that in the preview, the flowers were moved. On second look, this appears to be because the purple flowers are larger in the design applet than they're supposed to be: the flowers are smaller in preview, but they're smaller in the final display version too.
- When it displays the "Step three: preview your flowers" message, the text is black with no contrasting corona, so the black lines of the flower designs obscure the letterforms.
- You can drag flowers to the trash can visible in the design shot to remove them from your bouquet. After previewing and using the "Make some changes" button, flowers are undeleted. I can't tell if it's some or all of them.
- As you may have noticed in the shots, there are no vases. The flowers are just floating in the window. A selection of things into which to put the flowers would be nice. (I count this as a problem because I certainly expected such.)
I guess maybe I was expecting a Photoshop for flower arrangement (Flowershop?), but that sounds as if that's a bad thing. That's exactly what I expected, and Flowerbuilder isn't that. It is marked "beta," but I'm used to "beta" meaning post-alpha, as in, "it works pretty well for us but there are probably weird bugs we didn't find." If I found that many problems, either they didn't do any QA themselves or they have low standards (which may be because it's just a beta).
(Aside, a true geek's implementation would fractally grow or at least randomly mutate the flowers. As it is, each flower looks exactly the same, except some are reflected horizontally. If it were a more general program and not a greeting card alternative, you might grow a whole garden from dirt and seeds instead of just arranging flowers.)