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Macromedia Flash MX Ships

New version expands authoring capabilities By Dave Nagel
Macromedia announced today that it's shipping Flash MX, the latest incarnation of the company's multimedia authoring tool. According to Macromedia, the latest release is designed not only for creative content on the Web, but also for application development. It will also be Macromedia's second content creation tool to operate natively under Mac OS X.

The new version of Flash is targeted toward designers and application developers. It incorporates new server technologies that allow designers with Flash experience to move into application development in a familiar workspace. It also adds several new creative tools for traditional Flash development, including support for video clips.

Video support enables users to add interactivity to video clips within Flash content with support for the Sorenson Spark codec within the Macromedia Flash MX development environment and also within the Flash 6 player, which is also OS X-native. Macromedia Flash MX can import any standard video file supported by QuickTime or Windows Media Player. Users can then manipulate, scale, rotate, skew, mask and animate video objects and make them interactive using scripting. The video is automatically compressed by the Sorenson Spark codec in Macromedia Flash MX. A Sorenson Spark Pro codec will also be available from Sorenson Media separately in the new Sorenson Squeeze for Macromedia Flash MX.

Other new features include:

  • Macromedia Flash Player 6 now dynamically loads external JPEG and MP3 media files during runtime for smaller file sizes and the ability to modify content without reauthoring it.
  • Support for named anchors, so elements of a Flash presentation can be accessed through the browser's forward and back controls.
  • Free Transform tool.
  • Pixel-level snapping.
  • Support for XML structured data and persistent XML for the display of real-time information.
  • Pre-built interface components, including scrollbars, rich text fields, input buttons, radio buttons, check boxes, list boxes and combo boxes.
  • Support for 11 languages, including Korean, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese.

A couple of quick notes on the Mac OS X version. First, the Flash 6 player has been noted to cause problems with Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer running in Mac OS X. Specifically, the player causes crashes under certain circumstances (including attempting to view this site). And in terms of importing video, the import dialog needs to be modified to read "All Video Formats" rather than "All Formats," as in the example below.

Macromedia Flash MX is available now as an electronic download for Macintosh and Windows, including Mac OS X, for $499. Upgrades run $199. Educational pricing is also available. A boxed version of the product will be available March 19. For more information, visit

Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at [email protected].

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