Eight is the number for Macromedia
, which unleashed
its Studio 8 suite of Web tools and applications, chock-a-block full of
features, including advanced integration between the toolsets.
Built with Web designers, developers, video professionals and graphic
artists in mind, the suite includes Macromedia’s Dreamweaver, Flash
Professional and Fireworks applications, along with key productivity tools
such as Contribute and FlashPaper.
Less experienced developers may find
themselves upgrading to more advanced Web design, thanks to the expanded
drop-down menus and visualization features that save them from hard-coding
sites and applications between toolsets.
Take the new features in Dreamweaver, Macromedia’s design tool for
incorporating video. Jim Guerard, vice president of product management for
Macromedia, told internetnews.com the latest version includes visual
tools that simplify the integration of XML-based content, such as RSS
Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT).
“The releases represent what customers have been telling us” about design
needs and improvements to building Web pages and interactive content, he
Designers working with Cascading Style Sheets
panel that provides a view to complex CSS-based layout, which helps them
compare how the styles apply to the content. This eases the trial-and-error
process that is often part of working with CSS. The idea is to give newer
users a leg up and advanced users more precision.
Zoom and guides tools help developers get a closer look of images at the
pixel level in order to measure distances between objects in design
compositions. Plus, a new code collapse tool helps them focus on specific
code, while a new coding toolbar helps developers pluck common coding
functions in a snap, while taking care of background transfers and upload
functions at the same time, Guerard added.
If all the toolsets have one theme in mind, it’s about working with
interactive video. With the Dreamweaver tools, Flash video can be
incorporated into a Web site in five clicks. Plus, it offers support for
Macromedia’s ColdFusion MX7 and scripting language PHP 5
It’s all riding atop Macromedia’s Flash Platform, including the latest
Flash Player (version 8), the driving force behind the release that also
launched Monday with a bevy of snazzy upgrades to the runtime environment.
Guerard said Flash Professional 8 marks a significant release for the
authoring environment behind the rich client run time in Flash Player.
Graphics performance is beefed up, along with improved effects, animation
controls, video encoding and embedding features and workflow integrating. It
features On2 Technologies’ VP6 video codec for compression of video and an
advanced text-rendering engine.
Call it a richer content creation experience with integration between the
different toolsets the keyword.
For example, Fireworks 8, a lightweight graphics and images tool for Web
design, features interactive CSS-style pop-up menus, over 26 new blend
modes, easier importing with different file formats, and a less-bumpy
roundtrip editing experience among Dreamweaver 8 and Flash Professional 8
Workflow needs are improved with Contribute 3 and FlashPaper 2, as well.
For example, Contribute 3 offers developers a more controlled,
template-based workflow environment for updating content on a site. FlashPaper 2 extends the content-creation process by converting any file
type into Web-ready PDF or SWF file formats, Macromedia officials explained.
The Studio 8 suite is expected to ship in September. Pricing is $999 for
a full license (NA commercial) and $399 for an upgrade (NA commercial) with
education, government and volume pricing available.