Macromedia Updates Suite of Products

Macromedia on Monday announced an updated version of its suite of multimedia creation tools -- dubbed Studio 8 -- heralding the first overhaul of its product line in two years. The suite includes its Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks, as well as the Contribute and FlashPaper products.

Also announced was a public pre-release of the Flash 8 Player, which Macromedia calls a major update to the technology.

"Studio 8 is a huge leap forward," Stephen Elop, CEO of Macromedia said in a statement. "There are tremendous improvements to features and performance allowing designers and developers to build and deliver more expressive and compelling experiences for the web and devices in less time than ever before."

Enhancements to Dreamweaver include expanded CSS support, as well as drag-and-drop XML integration, enhancements to the workflow process, and built in support to add new features such as Flash Video into Web sites.

Flash Video is one Macromedia's key highlights of the new version of Flash. In addition to new video and animation features, Flash 8 will include new graphic effects and better scripting support, as well as integration with popular video editing and encoding tools.

Along with offering new ways to create desktop Flash content, Flash 8 will also allow for content aimed at mobile devices. The Flash Lite player comes preinstalled on more than 70 devices - currently mostly in Asian countries. Flash 8 will allow the user to test mobile content through emulation features provided in the software.

"We are excited about the possibilities afforded by the Flash Professional 8 authoring tool to develop exceptional mobile applications," said Brad Brockhaug, senior director at Forum Nokia. "The new mobile testing features will save Flash developers and designers valuable time as they continue to bring to market innovative content and applications for mobile devices."

Macromedia's Fireworks product adds support for CSS-based pop-up menus, as well as broader import support and integration with the rest of the Studio 8 suite.

Also included in Studio 8 is Contribute, a content management tool, and FlashPaper 2, which converts any file type to either PDF or SWF file formats.

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