Studio MX 2004

Well, I have stayed up much later than I thought I was tonight, but for good reason. If you go to macromedia.com you will see why I am up so late.

I read John Dowdell’s Blog and tonight I came across this entry and I was intrigued. I posted a comment saying I was in not realizing that the presentation started at 9pm pacific time since macromedia.com is on the west coast.

So midnight rolls around and I have no idea what the heck this presentation is about, but what the heck, its just sleep.

Turns out that they are launching Macromedia MX 2004 in mid September (Sept. 15 seems like the actual date, but they didn’t want to commit to a firm date with good reason I am sure UPDATE: I recieved an email from someone at Macromedia and they told me that no official date has been set for the release, so Sept. 15th isn’t it, however it should be available Mid-Sept.).

The presentation was conducted using Breeze Live, which from what I saw was very impressive indeed.

Below are some of the highlights from the presentation, which included a conference call:

Dreamweaver MX 2004

Jennifer Taylor, the Dreamweaver Product Manager talked to us about some of the new features.

Foremost, massive performace boosts to Fireworks and Dreamweaver ‘will blow you away.’ And when I get my G5 in a few months I am sure these puppies will be blazingly fast.

Dreamweaver MX 2004 is CSS-centric. Macromedia claims that this will do for css what Dreamweaver did for html. The release includes many templates designed professionally using CSS to give people a jumpstart on designing their own solutions. A new relevant css pane shows the css properties of the slected item, and allows you to apply changes. This is very cool and I can see myself using it all the time.

The user interface is much improved, although sadly the multiple layouts that are available to windows users, and have been since Dreamweaver MX, are not available to the Mac users, my one disappointment with the release. A new start page has been added that allows you fast access to creating new documents and access recently created ones, much like the panes in newer versions of Office.

Speaking of Office, Dreamweaver MX 2004 offers up improved support for Word and Excel. Not only does it clean up Office generated text, it keeps formatting intact. For example, you have an excel sheet with a colored background, differently formatted cells, ect., all you need to do to make it into an HTML document is copy and paste it into Dreamweaver; the formatting remains. Not impressive enough? Did I mention the formatting is actually applied via CSS that Dreamweaver creates on the fly based on the copied information? Way cool.

Finally, one of the biggest improvements that must go hand in hand with emphasizing CSS is Cross-Browser Validation. This feature examines your code dynamically, and alerts you to the number of errors your code contains, and what exactly those errors are and what browser they will crop up in. The amount of effort that must of went into this feature alone is amazing.

Since it is 2am, I am going to just wait until tomorrow to cover the other things that came up in the presentation.

Overall, this is awesome and I can’t wait to start using Studio MX 2004.


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