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Graphic Software for Creative People

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Detailed Description and Review

Studio MX: Flash MX, Dreamweaver MX, Fireworks MX, Freehand 10, ColdFusion MX Developer Edition, and Flash Player 6

5 out of 5 stars

Windows Software Mac Software Macromedia

software box cover AbleStable 5 Star Award [pc and mac] Macromedia's Studio MX comprises a vast collection of great web development tools in one cost effective package. Get your hands on Flash MX, Dreamweaver MX, Fireworks MX, Freehand MX, ColdFusion MX Developer Edition, and the Flash Player 6.

System Requirements

PC

Pentium II 300MHz+
Windows 98 SE/Windows ME/Windows NT 4 (Service Pack 6)/Windows 2000 or Windows XP
96 MB RAM to open one application (128 MB recommended)
Additional RAM required to open multiple applications simultaneously
16-bit colour monitor capable of 1024x768 (millions of colours) or better
510 MB of available hard-disk space to install applications
CD-ROM drive
Adobe Type Manager Version 4 or later for use with Type 1 fonts
For Adobe PostScript printing: PostScript Level 2 or PostScript 3
Netscape Navigator 4.0 or Internet Explorer 4.0 or greater
FreeHand requires a PostScript Level 2-Compatible printer or higher
Note: These requirements do not include ColdFusion MX Server Developer Edition

Mac

Power Mac G3+
Mac OS 9.1 or higher, or OS X 10.1 and higher
96 MB RAM to open one application (128 MB recommended)
Additional RAM required to open multiple applications simultaneously
16-bit colour monitor capable of 1024x768 (millions of colours) or better
510 MB of available hard-disk space to install applications
CD-ROM drive
Adobe Type Manager Version 4 or later for use with Type 1 fonts (OX9.x)
For Adobe PostScript printing: PostScript Level 2 or PostScript 3
Netscape Navigator 4.0 or Internet Explorer 4.0 or greater
Dreamweaver MX for the Mac OS requires Runtime for Java (MRJ) 2.2 or above
Freehand requires a PostScript Level 2-Compatible printer or higher

Detailed Description

Studio MX is the ideal bundle for professional Web designers, bringing together Dreamweaver MX for page design, Flash MX for animation and interactivity, and Fireworks MX for editing and epitomising graphics. You also get Freehand 10, a full-featured vector image editor, and on Windows ColdFusion MX for dynamic web applications. There is no doubting the quality of the individual products. Dreamweaver MX is a visual web editor that generates highly compatible code, and also includes useful site management features. Flash MX is the de facto standard for web animation, containing rich multimedia content in remarkably compact files. Fireworks is a great tool for putting the finishing touches to existing graphics, adding text effects or other elements, and epitomising the results for web display. These three are the core Studio MX products, and the suite is excellent value for these alone.

Integration between the individual products is generally very good. It begins with the interface, which uses common elements such as dockable, collapsible panels and a dynamic property inspector, so that you can switch comfortably between products. On a technical level, the key feature is round-trip support. You can embed Fireworks graphics and Flash movies in Dreamweaver pages without losing any information, so that you can later reopen an element in its original application with all its features intact.

The MX range differs from earlier Macromedia products by targeting application development as well as design. For this you need to build on a web application server, such as the bundled ColdFusion MX, or one of the other supported platforms including ASP, ASP.Net, PHP, or any Java Enterprise Edition server. You can connect to databases through JDBC, OLEDB, or .Net data providers, depending on the server platform being used. Dreamweaver MX is more developer-friendly than previous versions, with an enhanced code editor incorporating many of the features of HomeSite, Macromedia's code-centric web page designer. Although ColdFusion MX has its own tag language, called ColdFusion Markup Language--it generates Java code that can be deployed on any of the leading Java application servers. This also enables Java developers to extend ColdFusion with custom tags and components. In effect, the combination of Dreamweaver and ColdFusion provides an easy way into dynamic, Java-based web development. As an alternative to ColdFusion, support for Microsoft.Net is a little less comprehensive, but still good, and includes visual designers for the key ASP.Net server-side controls.

Application development is not just a matter of server-side scripting. Flash MX also has potential as a rich client, with an interface driven by embedded Javascript. Through a technology called Flash Remoting, Flash MX has support for Web services, and the Studio bundle makes it relatively easy to set up ColdFusion to supply Web services, and Flash to consume them. While it may seem strange to think of Flash as a rich client moving beyond the Web page, it does make some sense when you consider that it is cross-platform and very widely deployed. In addition, ColdFusion itself can consume Web services hosted on other platforms. Taking everything together, Studio MX is an essential development tool for ColdFusion as well as a great bundle for any Web designer.

Tim Anderson, Amazon

Manufacturer's Description

Macromedia Studio MX is an integrated suite of software tools for creating rich, Internet applications delivered across major platforms and devices. The collection includes Macromedia Flash MX, Dreamweaver MX, Fireworks MX, Freehand, a developer edition of ColdFusion MX Server, and Flash Player 6.

Work in a familiar, customisable environment with consistent user interface elements, including colour management, drawing tools, code editing, a common Property Inspector, and panel management, all making it easy to move between the applications. Create each element of the Web production process including graphics, laying out HTML pages, coding application logic, building rich, user interfaces, and assembling complete solutions all in one suite.

Take advantage of drag-and-drop visual tools and components, code libraries, and extensive code editing support for developing applications using HTML, XHTML, XML, ColdFusion, ASP, ASP.NET, JSP, or PHP. Integration with ColdFusion MX gives you a fast way to develop Internet applications that incorporate Macromedia Flash. Support includes code samples and reference material to high-performance connectivity, common language support between Dreamweaver, Flash and ColdFusion, seamless integration with Flash components, and an integrated toolset for tying back-end logic with Flash user interfaces.

Macromedia

AbleStable® Review
5 out of 5 stars


Syndication Licensees Only Using This Content

Macromedia released a crushing blow to its competitors with the release of Studio MX. With a suite of programs as excellent as these for a price that's very competitive, Macromedia have given the professional visually oriented web designer a world class integrated web development environment.

A large reason for giving Fireworks MX and Dreamweaver MX a four star rating is the individual cost of these applications which we feel is high. Studio MX however comes in at a significant price reduction as compared to buying the applications separately. Check out our reviews of Dreamweaver MX and Fireworks MX, as Studio MX still represents a significant investment for the individual web developer.

Studio MX offers the web designer the opportunity to develop sites that use any web technology that's out there, whether it be a Flash-based, database-led, interactive, cutting-edge youth site, or simply a simple html creative portfolio site. Studio MX is for the serious enthusiast and professional designer to create the future of their dreams.

Studio MX gets AbleStable's® 5 Star Award.

Review by AbleStable®


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