March 4, 2002

Flash MX (Flash 6) announced

Macromedia announces Flash MX (Flash 6) today, available on March 15th with WinXP and OS X support. Check out the press release. Upgrade price is $199 and new purchase price is $499.

From Flash MX "top 10" new features:

--Video Support
Create distinctive rich content and applications that incorporate video. Import any standard video file supported by QuickTime or Windows Media Player, including MPEG, DV (Digital Video), MOV (QuickTime), and AVI. Manipulate, scale, rotate, skew, mask, and animate video objects, and make them interactive using scripting. Video is natively supported in Macromedia Flash Player 6 with the addition of the Sorenson Spark codec.

---Note: Remember the contextual menu options in Flash 6 that expose microphone and web cam functionality? from: http://www.macromedia.com/macromedia/proom/pr/2002/flash_mx_apps.html

"For communication and collaboration solutions, developers will be able to use a new Macromedia communication server technology that will enable powerful capabilities including two-way audio and video as well as real-time data transfer with Macromedia Flash Player 6." Guess they are still working on that "new communication server" tech.

--Familiar UI With New Property Inspector and Answers Panel
Learn Macromedia Flash MX quickly with its familiar and flexible development environment. User interface enhancements include collapsible panels and a new context-sensitive Property inspector that highlights what tools and objects can be used in relation to a selected element. The user interface also contains a new Answers panel that connects the web to the development tool and provides useful information to designers and developers within the user interface.

--Dynamic Loading of Images and Sound
Macromedia Flash Player 6 now dynamically loads external JPEG and MP3 media files during runtime, which results in smaller file sizes and the developer's easy modification of the content?without having to reauthor it.

--Named Anchors
Develop usable user interfaces and applications that ensure the best experience for your viewers. With named anchors, Macromedia Flash MX content can now be bookmarked, allowing for the use of the browser Back and Forward buttons.

--New Graphic Design Tools and Color Mixer Enhancements
With the new Free Transform tool and Pixel-Level Snapping Control?which provide enhanced creative freedom and control over graphic content?
designers work faster. Color Mixer enhancements make creating, editing, and using colors and gradients easier than ever before with consistent color selection models and interfaces.

--Optimized Application Server Integration
Use XML structured data to populate visually rich user interfaces to create sales forms, virtual shopping carts, customer surveys, and stock availability matrixes. Persistent XML connectivity allows real-time information to be displayed.

--Develop and Playback Accessible Content
Macromedia Flash Player 6 now supports assistive technologies such as screen readers through support of Microsoft Active Accessibility. In addition, Macromedia Flash MX now integrates tools for creating accessible content. To add descriptive text to animations and user interface elements, select an item and enter the appropriate description. Users with disabilities will be able to experience your content.

---Note: there's more information on Macromedia's initiative to make Flash more accessible at:
http://www.macromedia.com/macromedia/proom/pr/2002/flash_mx_accessibility.
html

Looks like it relies on third party accessibility clients utilizing Microsoft's Active Accessibility initiative on the Win platform:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/workshop/browser/accessibility/
overview/overview.asp?frame=true

--Multilingual Support
Vertical Text and support for Unicode in Macromedia Flash MX enables developers to rapidly build multilingual content and applications. Macromedia Flash MX will ship in 11 languages, including three new languages: Korean, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese.

--Design for Multiple Mediums
Design and deploy content to any browser, platform, or device supporting Macromedia Flash Player, the most widely distributed rich client technology on the Internet. Macromedia collaborates with hardware, operating system, and browser providers to ensure that Macromedia Flash Player is available across leading desktop and device platforms (Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh, Linux, Solaris, MicrosoftTV, Symbian EPOC, Pocket PC, and others).

--Pre-Built User Interface Components
Accelerate development with a core set of pre-built, customizable components for common application interfaces, including scrollbars, rich text fields, input buttons, radio buttons and check boxes, and list and combo boxes. These components ensure a common user experience across rich applications created with Macromedia Flash MX.

Posted by Lewis Francis at March 4, 2002 11:56 PM
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