I came across the Balsamiq Mockups product a while ago from a link off the Atlassian software blogs. I think it’s a really well thought out and executed product. My personal thoughts are when designing a product you can end up focusing too much on a specific design rather than the underlying concept and their mockups product is a great tool to avoid this. It has a crude-ish hand drawn view of mockups and doesn’t pretend to be pixel perfect layout and representation. It’s the perfect mockups tool and encourages the focus on the UX and concepts rather than any specific rendering. I think in product development you can get a chasm between people who have to implement the system, and the ui designed in a graphics tool. At least I’ve found this (in more than one organisation) can devolve into focusing on specific looks rather than critically examining the user experience of a system. I think you can use wireframes but then this often ends up going the other way with not enough intent conveyed. I think the mockups product is the perfect balance; not too specific, but built around designing, exploring and conveying intent and the user experience.
I was also dubious and highly skeptical of AIR and flash apps but i’ve been really impressed with the leveraging of flash into both a standalone desktop instance and integration into various enterprise wiki’s with a product that just nails it. We use mediawiki at my work and i’d love to see some support 😉
Anyway the blog is at http://www.balsamiq.com/blog/ and it’s definitely worth following both for software development and micro isv wisdom.