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Adobe Flash CS3 Professional

The former Macromedia superstar makes a strong Adobe debut By Kevin Schmitt
It hasn't even been two years since Macromedia-that-was unleashed Flash 8 (a huge step forward for the juggernaut [insert favorite use here] application), and now along comes Flash CS3 Professional. Sporting a new surname and a slew of new features, how does the now-Adobe product stack up, even as Microsoft's Silverlight (the technology formerly known as "Sparkle") begins its attempt to crash the party? Read on to find out.


It was only recently that Microsoft's long-awaited Silverlight technology was announced at NAB 2007, representing (potentially, anyway) Flash's first true threat in a long, long time. I'm not exactly sure who specifically was awaiting Silverlight, but it sure has gotten a lot of press over the years. How successful Silverlight is going to be without a Linux client or any non-Windows development tools remains to be seen, but Adobe needs to take Microsoft seriously here, and by all indications, it has. Flash today is in about as good a position as it can be, what with Flash Video having exploded over the last couple of years coupled with (or the reason for) the impressive adoption of the Flash 9 Player, Adobe's open sourcing of some of the code in the ActionScript VM as well as the very fresh open source Flex announcement. And now that Flash CS3 has been fully integrated into the Adobe lineup, all that has to be done now is the not-so-small task of making sure Flash remains as ubiquitous as it is today. A big part of that is keeping the development tools the best they can be, and while Flash CS3 doesn't pack the groundbreaking punch that the Flash 8 upgrade did, the CS3 iteration of the Flash authoring tool manages to go well beyond the obvious Adobe integration and Universal Binary compatibility that is all the more skeptical amongst us were expecting.

New features

In the shameless plug department, I've already done a roundup of new features in Flash CS3 Professional, and as I have so lazily done in the past, I now direct you to that piece for the full scoop on what's new and notable. I'll just wait here patiently while you read that one:

For those of you who actually read the First Look piece, expect your gifts in the mail any day now. However, I understand that some of you may want instant gratification without having to leave the cozy confines of this particular page, so I'll take this time to briefly go over a few of the previously highlighted features which I think represent the best of the best in Flash CS3:

Photoshop/Illustrator import. For some, this is the alpha and the omega of Flash improvements, with true access to actual Adobe file formats representing one of the great productivity enhancements of the 21st century. And lest I get too hyperbolic in my praise of the PSD/AI import feature, I often remind myself of the hell and horror of spending countless hours and many painstaking steps to get complex artwork to import and display correctly in Flash, a nightmare that has now been turned into a dream with the single-step process. Select your file, set a few options, convert text, name instances, and you're set (fig. 1).

Figure 1

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