MX2004 Studio Tour | September 11, 2003

I was quite excited about the launch of Dreamweaver MX2004 after reading about some of the new features on the Macromedia site. Also being into my Flash programming and enjoying building Flash games, I was looking forward to the new version of Flash MX2004 and in particular ActionScript 2.

When new bits of software come out, MM usually go on the road and today they came to Brighton to show off their new applications. Usually I quite enjoy these events. You get a chance to see the new software in action, ask question, do a bit on mingling and at the very least get a couple of hours out of the office. However I felt todays event was a bit of a letdown.

The main areas I was interested in were DWMX2004's improved CSS/Accessibility support, and Flash MX2004 being split into two version. However considering that MM were talking to a room full of developers, the talk seemed to be aimed at a much lower level than I'd expected. They focused far too much on cute little gimmicks which new or inexperienced users would probably get a kick out of, but nothing that was of much interest of a professional web designer.

For instance, I've always quite liked the idea of adding effects to Flash and this has appeared in MX2004. However from what I could see the effects were so simple and nasty, that apart from a few Flash newbies, I couldn't imagine anybody actually using any of them. If your trying to brand something as a rich application development tool, creating a fairly nasty, amateurish "explode" effect is probably not the way to go. There have been third party tools around for years that create much more sophisticated "text effects" than anything I saw today.

I was also a little concerned about how they were selling the whole CSS integration thing. They started off saying that the reason people didn't use CSS was because it was difficult to code (from a language point of view) and then went on to show what came across as being an extremely complicated way to manage page styles. In fact it made me fear that we'd suddenly see a rush of sites with huge bloated style sheets simply because people didn't really get CSS, in the same way as older WYSIWYG editors used to produce hugely bloated HTML files.

In general I felt It was far too focused on features and not benefits. I hope MX2004 studio is as a significant improvement on MX as the MM site makes out, but I couldn't help leave feeling that the new MX2004 studio was being aimed much more towards content creators and managers rather than professional web designers.

Here is another Brighton residents impression of the MX2004 studio tour.

Posted at September 11, 2003 7:28 PM


Jon Hicks said on September 11, 2003 8:25 PM

Thats such a let down - MX Studio has a reputation of being very much a pro user product. Are we going to see Photoshop filter syndrome cropping up in Flash sites from now on?

I’m interested in a report I saw in MacUser, saying that Dreamweaver 2004 runs dramatically faster than the orginal MX version. I’ve got so fed up with how sluggish Dreamweaver MX runs, I’ve been using BBEdit and Transmit instead. Although I miss Dreamweavers features (code hinting, integration with Fireworks and Flash, reference pane;, to name but a few).Did you get any impression from the demo whether it was faster?

Andy Budd said on September 11, 2003 9:21 PM

I think it was just the way they were spinning it. However I think you may be right about Photoshop filter syndrome cropping up in Flash.

They did say performance has been increased. However my main problem with all the MM products is their tendency to crash my OS X. When I’m heavily using MM products I get a couple of crashes a day, which is a bugger.

If you want to test it out, you can download trail version on the MM site.

Jeff Croft said on September 11, 2003 9:59 PM

As soon as I saw Dreamweaver’s new CSS features on the site, I thought about the oncoming pile of bloated CSS pages. It’s disheartening, but I still think it’s better than bloated HTML pages. The bottom line is that SOME WYSIWYG application has to satisfy those who don’t care to learn XHTML/CSS, and my hunch is that MM is a better choice than most for the task. As long as people are just drawing “layers” on a page visually, there’s no good way to force upon them the concepts of structural, sematic markup and lightweight CSS. They just aren’t going to care, as long as their pages work.

I don’t think there’s anything we (or MM) can do about it. :(

Andy Budd said on September 12, 2003 2:12 PM

Here is another Brighton residents impression of the MX2004 studio tour

praveen said on December 29, 2003 11:23 AM

very good

praveen said on December 29, 2003 11:23 AM

very good