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Ron Ridley Auto Care Mall

  Macromedia Studio MX 2004 (Part 1)
Macromedia Studio MX 2004 integrates the leading professional tools for designing and developing web sites and applications. Building on the power of Macromedia Studio MX, it delivers an updated user interface, new creative features, and major usability improvements. Its deeper cross-product integration offers an even more streamlined workflow at each stage of the development process, from creating graphics and laying out HTML pages to coding application logic and assembling complete websites and solutions. Macromedia Studio MX 2004 delivers all the professional tools designers and developers need to create great experiences, from rich user interfaces to robust applications.

Macromedia Studio MX 2004 includes:
- Dreamweaver MX 2004
- Flash MX 2004
- Fireworks MX 2004
- Freehand MX 2004
- Cold Fusion MX 6.1 Developer Edition

Because of the extensive list of new features and improvements in this edition, I'll be covering this product in several parts. In the first part (this one) I'll be taking a look mainly at the integration of the products and ways that they work hand in hand. In the parts that follow, we'll examine the new features of the four main products within; Dreamweaver, Flash, Freehand and Fireworks.

The list of products that are shipped within the studio are great products on their own, but when you combine them you all of a sudden have an arsenal of web developing weapons that will allow you to take on virtually any web application battle head on and win. Lets cut right to the chase here and get down into how these products can be used together.

Macromedia Flash MX 2004 and Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004

- Flash Element Support -
Flash is one of the quickest and easiest ways to ad interactivity to your projects and menus. Dreamweaver now lets you drag and drop Flash Elements into your web document and edit its tags and properties through the Tag Inspector just like any other element on your page.

- Launch and Edit -
You can launch and edit any Flash element on your page by simply right from within Dreamweaver. No longer do you have to open Flash then open the file, edit, save and them update in Dreamweaver. This new process allows you to open, edit, save and synchronize your Flash files quickly and easily.

- Actionscript Support in Dreamweaver -
Actionscripts coded into your Flash element can be edited directly within Dreamweaver. Color-coding and code hints also help make this an easy and powerful enhancement.

- Preview Flash Files in Dreamweaver -
We have all wondered what our Flash element will look like or behave like once implemented. Dreamweaver now lets you preview the Flash element directly within your authouring enviroment with a convenient 'Play/Stop' button right in the Property Inspector.

- Create Flash Objects within Dreamweaver -
I really like this one! You are able to make Flash buttons for navigation or even animated text elements based on Flash directly in Dreamweaver without having to open the Flash MX program. One of my favorite features!!

Macromedia Flash MX 2004 and Macromedia Fireworks MX 2004

- Import PNG to Flash -
Importing native Fireworks PNG files into Flash maintains any and all layers and effects applied to it and can be edited even further within Flash. Photoshop users can import PSD files into Fireworks and export to PNG for use in Flash, also maintaining its layer and editing options.

- Export Flash SWF Files from Fireworks -
This one is handy for those animated ad banners! Create an animated gif file and export it as a Flash File!

- Launch and Edit in Fireworks -
Within the Flash enviroment simply click on the Edit button within the Property Inspector to launch and edit the image in Fireworks. Changes will automatically be updated in your Flash project!

Macromedia Flash MX 2004 and Macromedia Freehand MX 2004

- Symbol Library -
For those familiar with the symbol library within Flash, will find the new Library within Freehand very familiar. Edit an image from your library and automatically update instances of it within your Freehand Files.

- Test Movie -
Without leaving the Freehand enviroment, the user may preview what their Freehand work will react like as a Flash movie with the preview feature before exporting.

- Launch and Edit in Flash -
Much the same as in other Macromedia product combinations, Flash elements within your Freehand project can be launched, edited and updated directly from the Property Inspector.

- Import Freehand Files into Flash -
Freehand images can be imported into Flash while perserving all vectors and text editablility.

Macromedia Freehand MX 2004 and Macromedia Fireworks MX 2004

- Import/Export & Launch and Edit -
Image files can be transferred back and forth between programs maintaining all properties and editability. Images may also be launched and edited from within the property inspectors in each application.

Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 and Macromedia Fireworks MX 2004

In my opinion this is the biggest reason to buy the Studio. Its Fireworks and Dreamweaver integration alone saves you the time in creation that pays for the product in itself. I love this stuff!

- Integrated Graphics Editor in Dreamweaver -
This is a great one! Crop, resize or even resample images in your Dreamweaver enviroment! No need to leave your web page editing for such simple graphic tasks. Huge timesaver!

- Launch and Optimize/Edit -
Double click on any image in your web page and automatically launch and edit in Fireworks. Your changes are automatically updated and optimized in your Dreamweaver document.

- Export as Dreamweaver Library from Fireworks -
Dreamweaver's library is very similiar to that of the Flash and Freehand Libraries in which Fireworks generated images can be exported to for convenient locating and use. Library items edited and exported from Fireworks will also update automatically in all instances of it within your Website.

- Roundtrip Table Editing -
Many cases have different people doing graphics while someone else does strictly the coding. Roundtrip table editing enables the graphic artist to edit and manipulate sliced images while at the same time maintianing the slice and table information of the original HTML coding.

- Integrated Native Behaviors -
Create a rollover menu for example in Fireworks and import it into your Dreamweaver document and maintain the ability to edit the behavior of the Fireworks graphic without leaving Dreamweaver.

- Auto Insert HTML and Graphics -
Fireworks generated graphics, sliced for tables or HTML coded can be inserted into a Dreamweaver document with a single click of a button. All of your images and coding are properly placed by Dreamweaver automatically.

- Create Fireworks Placeholder -
Sometimes you just don't have that graphic ready or the graphic editor hasn't had time to complete your graphic work yet, but that doesn't have to slow you down from doing the coding. If you know the exact size of the image that will be inserted you can generate place holder images easily with a click of the button.

- Shared Sites and Check-In/Check-Out -
The best thing invented for teams of developers and graphic artists. I am sure that many of us have run into times when you have two people working on the same page at the same time. Fireworks now features the same Check In/Check Out feature preventing team members from overwriting others work.

Although each of the products above can be purchased and used as 'stand-alone' applications, using them all or combinations of such products essentially acts and serves as a sort of 'stand-alone' in itself with thetight integration between products. It just makes sense to use the MAcromedia Studio MX 2004 if you are serious about web development, while at the same time being profitable and productive.

Well that about covers the ways that all of the products in the Studio work together creating endless combinations to increase your productivity saving you time and money. In part 2, since previous versions were covered in this publication previously, I'll go into some of the new features in Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Flash.

My rating for the integration would be a combined total of 10 out of 10!

Review ID Number: 299
  Product Details
Review Date: 2004-01-20
Reviewer: Brad Lawryk
Rating: 10 out of 10
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