Macromedia Updates Product Line to Version 8

Macromedia announced Monday version 8 updates across its product line for Studio 8, Dreamweaver 8, Fireworks 8, Flash Professional 8, and Flash Player 8.

Macromedia Studio 8, which combines Dreamweaver 8, Flash Professional 8, and Fireworks 8, Contribute 3 (a basic content manager), and FlashPaper 2, which converts printable files into Flash documents or PDFs, and will ship in September for US$999 for a full license and $399 for the upgrade.

"Studio 8 is a huge leap forward," said Macromedia CEO Stephen Elop, in a prepared 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."

Studio 8 contains workflow enhancements, new products, and feature firsts. The addition of Contribute and FlashPaper allows designers and developers a streamlined approach to maintaining web content. Studio 8 also includes new video encoding tools, which give customers an easier method for creating and publishing high-quality interactive video. New features include CSS enhancements and visual authoring tools, and new tools for authoring and testing mobile content.

Localized versions in German, French, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Korean, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese will be available in the next quarter, the company said.

The company also announced that Freehand MX, Macromediais illustration application, will no longer be bundled with Studio, but will only be available as a standalone product for

Deamweaver 8, Macromediais popular design application, has a number of new features including a new drag-and-drop workflow that allows designers to click-and-drag design elements into place on the page, as well as zoom and guide tools to help designers square their designs on the screen with what theyive come up with on paper. The new version also includes support for embedding XML files into Web pages, allowing dynamic content on the page to be updated automatically. Dreamweaver 8 will be available in September for $399 for a full license and $199 upgrade.

Flash Professional 8, for building interactive Web sites and mobile applications, will ship in September for $699 for a full license and $299 for an upgrade. Professional 8 includes a new video codec and includes compatibility with Adobe Creative Suite 2, ColdFusion MX 7, PHP5, Flash Player 8, and support for the latest OS X Tiger and Windows versions.

Fireworks 8, for building graphics and images, will be available next month for $299 for a full license and $149 for the upgrade. Graphic designers and web application developers can now create interactive CSS-style pop-up menus, experiment with more than 25 new blend modes, and import new file formats.

Flash Player 8, Macromediais Flash Player client runtime, is free of charge and is available now. Flash 8 will enable designers to layer video atop video or other interactive content.