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