with Jeremy Clark, Product Manager: Macromedia Flash 5
long was Macromedia Flash 5 in development? What were some of the beginning
goals at the project start?
Jeremy Clark: The
development cycle was about a year for Flash 5.
The goal from the
beginning was to shape the program in two ways. First, to make it more
approachable - easier to learn for beginners and easier to work
other web design programs like FreeHand, Dreamweaver and
Fireworks. The second
was to raise the bar of what could be done
with Flash, so that once
people were able to get into the program
and learn it, give them the
power to grow and really make the most
of it. As part of this we exposed
our internal scripting model and created ActionScript as a full-fledged
adding advanced interactivity to their site, but not at the
expense of the designers - there are two ways to add scripting, one
which is a simple drag-and-drop interface with pull-down menus to change the
command options, but also a text-editing mode that traditional
scripters are comfortable with.
was the funniest moment you remember during development?
Jeremy Clark: That
would probably be in the midst of our development when we received boxes
of "Flash 5" - energy bars and protein drink mixes for the
team from http://www.flash-5.com.
They actually tasted quite good!
does Macromedia Flash 5 have over it's competitors?
Jeremy Clark: What
does Macromedia Flash 5 have over it's competitors?
Macromedia Flash is actually in a pretty unique position, as we created
defined this market space and there has not been any major
yet. We have been developing both the Flash authoring tool and the Macromedia
Flash Player, for almost four years now, and it has quickly
become the de-facto standard for vector graphics and animation on the Web.
of people on the web can see Flash content without
having to download any playback technology, more than any other
media type on the Web. We have
over half a million Macromedia Flash developers, thousands of which
attend conferences such as the successful Flashfoward2000 conferences in San
Francisco and New York.
new features and improvements does Flash 5 have over the previous version?
Jeremy Clark: Macromedia Flash 5
sports a newly enhanced
Macromedia user interface, making it even easier
to use alongside
some of our other web publishing tools such as Dreamweaver,
Fireworks and FreeHand. As part of that, users can now
their own custom keyboard shortcut sets, or save their panel
layouts in predefined sets as well. We added native FreeHand file import
ease the workflow between the two programs. On the creative front,
added a new bezier pen tool for technical illustrators to compliment
existing natural drawing tools we're known for, and we added
draggable guides and improved our object selection model. On the
advanced side, as I
mentioned we created ActionScript as a powerful new scripting language within Flash,
and we also adopted such industry
standards as XML data transfer and support
for HTML-formatted dynamic text.
has the new version of flash been accepted by web developers and IT
Jeremy Clark: We've had a very
warm reception from the web
development community and received great
reviews from the press
as well. Web designers have expressed their
excitement about the
improved user interface and creative tools, and the
web developers/IT professionals have been particularly vocal about their
can also be judged by the great demand for books on Flash 5 - there
are over 35 books that we know of coming out in the next month or
two, and that's just for North America.
Macromedia Flash 5 easy-to-use for amateur developers? What kind of
help and tutorials does Flash offer for new users?
Jeremy Clark: Yes, Macromedia
Flash is not just for experts. We have built-in lessons that launch when
you install the product as well as samples and tutorials. We increased
our documentation four-fold, with over 800 detailed pages including two
manuals: "Using Flash" and a separate "ActionScript
Reference Guide." We recently launched the Macromedia Exchange for
a web site where Flash users can download free extensions to the product
in the form of samples, Smart Clips, code snippets, tutorials and more.
Lastly I should mention that we're currently running some Holiday
specials where customers can receive $50
off Macromedia University
training courses and a free advanced online
from DevX and eHandsOn. More on these specials can be found at
other Macromedia products, such as FreeHand, work in harmony with
Flash 5? How do these products further improve the use of Flash 5?
Jeremy Clark: With Flash 5, we
tightly integrated FreeHand by adding
support for importing native
FreeHand documents. We maintain the
integrity of the original file,
including all of the layers, guides, and
colors, as well as mapping over
any items in FreeHand's symbol
library to the Flash library, and even
mapping pages in a
multiple-page FreeHand document to different scenes
in a Flash
movie. You can also now launch and edit Macromedia Fireworks
when editing any bitmaps in the Flash movie, and once you're
editing the file in Fireworks, you simply click the "Done"
button in Fireworks 4 and it will save the changes and take you back to
your Flash movie. Macromedia is
very focused on integrating our
web publishing tools to provide a smooth
workflow for our users.
there any features you would have liked to include in this version
Jeremy Clark: Well, that happens
to us with each version, as it does with every software company. We've
got a great vision of what we'd like to add to Macromedia Flash and what
our users want us to add. It's always a tough challenge to prioritize
these features and choose the ones that will make the most impact that
can be completed in time. But the features we weren't able to squeeze
into Flash 5 may very well see the light of day in a future release.
you have anything else to add?
Jeremy Clark: Thanks for the
opportunity to talk to your
readers about Macromedia Flash. If you want
to find out more
about the authoring tool, visit www.macromedia.com/flash.
If you want to see some amazing sites people are making
with Flash and our other web tools, I encourage you to visit
or entertain yourself for
hours at www.shockwave.com.
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