Macromedia, Inc. Monday unveiled Macromedia Flash Writer, its free downloadable plug-in for Adobe Illustrator.
Flash Writer enables Illustrator users to save their graphic files to the Flash Player file format (SWF). This will enable Illustrator users to immediately utilize their artwork on the Web without having requiring them to reformat it as a bitmapped file.
Also announced was Macromedia (MACR) Generator 2, Macromedia’s solution for personalizing, automating, and visualizing graphical content for “high-impact” Web sites. Generator 2 creates targeted, real-time graphics and interactivity for Web sites with on-demand content in a “rich visual experience.”
Util now, Adobe Illustrator users have had to convert their vector artwork to a bitmapped GIF or JPG format in order to view and publish it online. This process causes the graphic to lose scalability and the does not allow the designer to quickly publish the artwork on the Web. The Flash file format also features a compact binary file which can be streamed and displayed from any Web server.
SWF files from Flash Writer can also be brought into the Flash 4 authoring environment to add animation, interactivity, MP3 audio compression, and other advanced features to deliver a richer user experience.
Macromedia Generator was designed to allow companies to create “sticky” sites that combine interactive graphics, charts, tables and animations with dynamic information. Generator features an open architecture that is integrated with the user’s existing enterprise infrastructures. Benefits of Generator include improved communication, reduced development time, and better customer service.
The latest version of Generator includes streamlined authoring with Flash 4 to simplify the creation of dynamic templates, along with the ability to drag and drop objects to add dynamic content to a site. Enhanced server side performance provides 30 percent faster delivery of data, and users can access the data driven content through URLs.
Generator 2’s features include:
- Generator objects palette — drag and drop objects which add dynamic content, including charts, tickers, scrolling lists, images, tables, Flash movies and sound
- Professional authoring environment — development is streamlined with Flash 4 to provide an easy-to-use, visual authoring environment
- Media anywhere — data driven content can now be accessed with URLs, in addition to SQL queries, ODBC/JDBC, Java class APIs or text files
- Advanced Publishing capabilities — now outputs QuickTime movies in addition to GIF, animated GIF, JPG, PNG, and SWF (Flash movie) formats
- Enhanced charting capabilities — Generator 2 has a rich charting engine and has added 3D pie charts, stock charts and tables
- High performance architecture — performance has increased 30 percent, providing faster data delivery to Web site visitors
Generator 2 will be available for Windows NT and Solaris, with the Windows NT version expected to ship in September, and additional versions slated to ship in the fall. Flash Writer is compatible with Adobe Illustrator 8 for Macintosh and Windows, and will be available in September from the Macromedia Web site.