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Introduction

Introduction

Macromedia Flash MX Professional 2004 is the latest in the Flash family of software. Flash was originally just a vector animation tool but is now one of the most advanced programs for creating Rich Internet applications to provide powerful user experiences. Not only is the player that plays Flash content one of the most downloaded pieces of software, surpassing both Internet Explorer and Netscape as well as nearly all media players, but the content is so small in file size that anyone can create great user experiences for dial-up users.

This new version of Flash has continued in its hard-to-follow tradition of surpassing all expectations with new features. But this time, the features are not just new types of content. Many of the improvements involve making it easier and faster for Flash developers and designers alike to create rich content. Macromedia has even built in steps for developers to extend the capabilities of the authoring environment. But don't let the new features in the authoring environment fool you: Flash MX Professional 2004 is packed with new content features such as loading images directly into text fields, streaming both audio and video directly into your Flash movies, and of course, all the new components including data components for connecting directly with XML and Web Services, the hottest thing to hit the Web since JPEGs.

Along with the newest version of Flash comes the new edition of Flash Unleashed. Throughout this book, you will find countless examples and explanations of some of the newest and most powerful tools Flash has to offer, including a complete overview of ActionScript 2.0, the new version of Flash's programming language. Also included in this book is a handy reference guide for ActionScript to help with faster workflow.

Macromedia Flash MX Professional 2004 Unleashed was created with the reader's needs in mind. Please don't hesitate to email me your experiences with this book as well as with Flash MX Professional 2004 at missing-link@evolutionar-e.com.

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