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In this chapter

What's New in Studio MX?

Who Should Read This Book?

How to Use This Book

Conventions Used in This Book

Macromedia Studio MX 2004 is the latest version of a product suite that includes Dreamweaver MX 2004, Flash MX 2004, Fireworks MX 2004, FreeHand MX, and ColdFusion MX 6.1 Developer Edition.

Dreamweaver MX is the leading professional Web development tool, used for creating all kinds of Web sites.

Flash started years ago as a tool for creating simple Web animations, and has evolved into a development environment for Internet applications, whether they involve interactivity, rich media such as video, or database access. In addition to its intrinsic capabilities, Flash gains strength from the fact that it is the dominant authoring tool for the Flash Player, which is not only the most popular rich media plug-in, but the most widely installed browser plug-in of any sort.

Fireworks MX is a graphics editor optimized for the Web, focusing on bitmaps but also supporting vector graphics.

FreeHand MX is a vector graphics drawing program.

ColdFusion MX turns your current Web server into a database server.

Together, these five programs form a powerful, flexible, integrated suite for developing Internet applications.

What's New in Studio MX?

Dreamweaver's new features include

  • Full CSS integration, including a “Relevant CSS” tab that displays rules applied to the selected element, and more accurate CSS layout rendering in Design view

  • Dynamic cross-browser validation, automatically performed each time you save a document

  • Enhanced integration with Flash and Fireworks

  • An image-editing toolbar for frequent graphics operations

  • Intelligent cut-and-paste from Microsoft Office documents

  • “Siteless” page editing, permitting you to work on a server without creating a full Dreamweaver site

  • Secure FTP for safer server connections

  • Enhanced code-editing tools, including an improved Tag inspector and a new Code View context menu

  • Advanced find and replace

Flash's new features include

  • Faster Flash files (SWFs)

  • Third-party plug-ins supporting 3D, text effects, graphs, charts, and more

  • Timeline Effects, which make it easy to add common effects such as fade-ins, fade-outs, wipes, drop shadows, blurs, position-rotation-scale animations, and fragmenting and “exploding” objects

  • Behaviors for easy application of predefined ActionScript snippets

  • More and better components, for faster construction of sophisticated user interfaces

  • Templates that provide basic design and architecture for a project, saving you set-up time

  • A spell-checker

  • Enhanced find and replace

  • A Video Import Wizard, including video clip editing

  • A History panel that records previous actions, enabling flexible undo, redo, and command creation

  • Tighter security rules in Flash Player 7

  • ActionScript 2, implementing object-oriented programming (OOP) in a more standard way

Fireworks' new features include

  • Improved performance

  • Graphical previews that make it easier to select the right fill, brush, or texture

  • An Auto Shapes tool that provides new shapes

  • A Red Eye Removal tool that removes “red-eye” from photographs

  • A Replace Color tool that makes it easier to change selected colors in bitmaps

  • Motion blur effects

  • Roundtrip editing for server-side file formats, such as ASP, CFM, and PHP, seamlessly reflecting Fireworks edits in other MX 2004 programs

  • New anti-aliasing options

  • A contour gradient feature that applies a gradient effect that matches an object's shape

  • Six varieties of dashed and dotted lines

  • An Add Noise Live Effect that applies “noise” to an image for a more natural look

  • JavaScript API (Application Programming Interface) extensions

FreeHand MX and ColdFusion MX were not updated for Studio MX 2004.

Who Should Read This Book?

This book assumes that you have some background in graphics and/or Web design, and you've purchased (or are considering purchasing) Studio MX 2004 with the goal of producing professional-level work. You're looking for ways of using the software more efficiently and effectively. Perhaps you've played with the programs and looked at the tutorials and help files a bit, and you want something more.

While keeping proficiency and professionalism in mind as the goal, this book still tries to explain concepts and techniques completely. Nor does it assume that you know something about Studio MX 2004 before it is covered in these pages. The hope is that even a beginner—a motivated beginner, that is—could find this book valuable.

Starting with basics, not skipping anything, and still getting into advanced topics means packing as much useful information into each page as possible. Therefore, this book often does not walk you step by step through basic tasks. It assumes you are a motivated learner, willing to jump in and experiment.

How to Use This Book

This book contains one major section for each of the five Studio MX 2004 programs. In addition, there is a preliminary section (Chapters 13) covering topics and features that apply to multiple programs in the Studio MX 2004 suite. All the later sections in this book assume familiarity with the first three chapters. Therefore, most readers will probably find it useful to look the first section over before proceeding to material specific to a particular program.

In particular, Chapter 3 serves as an introduction to the user interfaces of Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks, and FreeHand. This is possible because these programs have so much in common. Whichever program you are interested in, Chapter 3 is your jumping-off place.

Except for this dependency on the first section, each program-specific section can basically stand on its own. You can go right to the first chapter on Flash (Chapter 14) without having read any of the chapters on Dreamweaver (Chapters 413). Similarly, you won't have any problem reading the chapters on Fireworks (Chapters 2428) if you haven't read any of the Dreamweaver or Flash material.

There are two other exceptions to this “each-section-is-an-island” principle. First, there are features that specifically target integration between two Studio MX 2004 programs. To grasp these features, you obviously have to have some understanding of both programs.

The second exception has to do with features that relate to database access. An online database application comes in three parts: a database server, application-specific services that run on the server, and clients that access those services. ColdFusion, Dreamweaver, and optionally Flash are natural allies in creating such a three-part online database application: ColdFusion for implementing the database server, Dreamweaver for creating application-specific services built on ColdFusion or other server technologies, and either Dreamweaver or Flash for creating client applications. Chapter 32 (“Understanding and Administering ColdFusion”) in the ColdFusion section discusses this cooperative relationship in more detail. In the Dreamweaver section, Chapter 13 (“Developing ColdFusion Applications in Dreamweaver”) shows how to create ColdFusion services and browser pages that access those services. Finally, in the Flash section, Chapter 23 (“Using Flash for Dynamic Data”) uses one of the ColdFusion services created in Chapter 13 for examples involving Flash database clients. So there is a tight relationship between Chapter 13, Chapter 23, and the ColdFusion chapters. This is natural because an online database application simply cannot be constructed with Dreamweaver alone, Flash alone, or ColdFusion alone.

If your primary goal, for example, is to create a Flash client that accesses ColdFusion services or any online database service, it might makes sense to read the ColdFusion chapters first (even though they're at the end of the book), then Chapter 13 to create the service that the Flash client will access, and finally Chapter 23 to create the Flash client.

For most purposes, however, you can read this book from cover to cover or use it as a random-access reference. The same applies to each individual section: You can read sequentially or look for the particular feature that interests you. Within a section, however, later chapters may assume familiarity with earlier chapters.

First-time users will probably do well to dive into the programs and play a little bit before starting the book. Realistically, you will probably use this book largely as a reference, to help you solve problems as they arise. On the other hand, Dreamweaver MX 2004, Flash MX 2004, and Fireworks MX 2004 have enough new features that even experienced users may benefit from at least skimming these sections from beginning to end, looking for the “New in Studio MX 2004” icon:

Where there are sample or reference files on the CD to accompany the text, be sure to look at them. In the case of sample files, try playing with them and modifying them. The hands-on experience will prove invaluable, and you may even be able to use a file as a partial basis for your own project.

Also, be sure to check out the many excellent Web resources for Studio MX 2004 developers. If you need a jumping-off place, go to http://www.hurwicz.com and click on Using Studio MX.

This book is divided into six parts:

  1. Getting Started with Macromedia Studio MX 2004

  2. Dreamweaver MX 2004

  3. Flash MX 2004

  4. Fireworks MX 2004

  5. FreeHand MX

  6. ColdFusion MX

Part I (Chapters 13) gives you an overview of the Studio MX 2004 suite. Chapter 3 goes into detail about common interface features.

Part II (Chapters 413) covers Dreamweaver MX 2004. Chapter 13 covers database access. Examples use ColdFusion services.

Part III (Chapters 1423) is dedicated to Flash MX 2004. Chapter 23 shows you how to create Flash database clients; it and uses a ColdFusion service for examples.

Part IV (Chapters 2428) covers Fireworks MX 2004, and Part V (Chapters 2931) covers FreeHand MX.

Finally, Part VI (Chapters 32 and 33) focuses on ColdFusion MX, but includes material that may be helpful in understanding the database-related features of Dreamweaver and Flash.

Conventions Used in This Book

In ordinary text (not code), italics indicate the initial definition of a new term or phrase. Initial caps indicate words that appear in the user interface, such as menu items, dialog box names, dialog box elements, and commands.

A monospace font is used to differentiate code—HTML, ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML) and ActionScript—from any other text with special emphasis. For example, you will see <p align="right"> (HTML), <cfoutput> (ColdFusion) and gotoAndPlay() (ActionScript).

Within code, italicized words are placeholders for actual code that you will substitute. For example, in the ActionScript Key.isDown(charCode), charCode is a placeholder for a character code that you will substitute. Key.isDown(Key.UP) is actual ActionScript, in which Key.UP represents the actual character code.

A common ActionScript convention, often used in this book, is to start object names with my when they represent new instances created by the programmer. For instance, TextField represents the built-in class of text fields, not created by the programmer. On the other hand, myTextField is a new text field instance created by the programmer.

Because using the mouse is different on Macs and Windows-based PCs, we have indicated the appropriate action for Mac users in parentheses, while PC useres should refer to the actions in brackets. For example, “To see the pop-up menu, (control+click) [Right-click] anywhere on the screen.”

All the Studio MX programs except ColdFusion have a panel, at the bottom of the screen by default, labeled Properties. Macromedia now refers to this panel as the Property inspector. However, you may also see Properties inspector or Property inspector. Panel, inspector, and sometimes tab and even the old palette are often used interchangeably. These various bits of jargon all mean essentially the same thing—little boxes with particular specialties. In addition to the main text and screenshots, this book contains tips, cautions, notes, and cross-references. These are all designated with special icons, as follows:


Tips contain insights and techniques that will help you use Studio MX more effectively.


Notes contain extra information or alternative techniques for performing tasks that will enhance your understanding of the current topic.


Cautions warn you about potential problems.

→ Cross-references direct you to complementary or supplementary information in other sections of the book, or on the CD that accompanies this book.

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