The potential computational power of today multicore processors has drastically improved compared to the single processor architecture. Since the trend of increasing the processor frequency is almost over, the competition for increased performance has moved on the number of cores. Consequently, the fundamental feature of system designs and their associated design flows and tools need to change, so that, to support the scalable parallelism and the design portability. The same feature can be exploited to design reconfigurable hardware, such as FPGAs, which leads to rethink the mapping of sequential algorithms to HDL. The sequential programming paradigm, widely used for programming single processor systems, does not naturally provide explicit or implicit forms of scalable parallelism. Conversely, dataflow programming is an approach that naturally provides parallelism and the potential to unify SW and HDL designs on heterogeneous platforms. This study describes a dataflow-based design methodology aiming at a unified co-design and co-synthesis of heterogeneous systems. Experimental results on the implementation of a JPEG codec and a MPEG 4 SP decoder on heterogeneous platforms demonstrate the flexibility and capabilities of this design approach.