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Macromedia Flash 8 Basic

Macromedia Flash 8 Basic

Each new release of Flash brings with it new features, improvements, and added sophistication. To start, Macromedia have split the Flash development environment into two products: Flash 8 Basic and Flash 8 Professional. The Basic edition is aimed at Web designer, interactive media professional, or subject matter expert developing multimedia content, and the Professional edition is for the application developer. They are essentially the same application with some added functionality in the Professional edition that can be enabled when purchased.

  • Action panel set and remove breakpoints (p. 360–361) You can use the Debug Options button in the Actions panel to quickly set and remove breakpoints.

  • Adjustable gradient focal point (p. 117) The Gradient Transform tool (formally Fill Transform tool) now includes an editable focal point that lets you position the focal point (center) of a gradient fill applied to an object.

  • Bitmap caching (p. 176) Supports unnecessary re-rendering of vector objects by flagging a vector object as a bitmap while still maintaining vector information. Caching a vector as a bitmap prevents Flash Player from having to continually redraw the image, providing an improvement in playback performance.

  • Export keyboard shortcuts as HTML (p. 59) You can export Flash keyboard shortcuts as an HTML file that you can view and print using a standard Web browser.

  • Fireworks Importing Improved (p. 182–183) You can now import blend modes and filters (called effects in Fireworks) into Flash. When you import Fireworks files into Flash, Macromedia Fireworks PNG file graphic properties remain intact and editable in Flash.

  • Gradient enhancements (p. 103) New controls allow you to apply complex gradients to objects on the Stage. You can add up to 16 colors to a gradient, precisely control the location of the gradient focal point, select from different overflow modes, and apply other parameters to the gradient. Macromedia has also simplified the workflow for applying gradients.

  • Group panels (p. 55) You can now use a menu command to group panels, such as different Libraries, Color Mixer, and Components.

  • Library panel drag and drop components (p. 126–127) Previously in Flash, you had to place components on the Stage and then delete them. You can now place components directly into the library without having to place them on the Stage and later delete them.

  • Library panel for all documents (p. 126–127) You can now use a single Library panel to view the library items of multiple Flash files simultaneously.

  • Link options available in Properties dialog box (p. 273) You can now access link options for bitmaps and sounds in their respective Properties dialog boxes to help simplify the process.

  • Local and network playback security (p. 449) A new security model lets you determine the local and network playback security for SWF files that you publish. The security settings let you decide if SWF files should be given local or network access to files and computing resources. This helps prevent the malicious use of SWF files accessing information on a local computer and transmitting that information over the network.

  • Macintosh document tabs (p. 18) You can now open multiple Flash files in the same Flash application window and choose among them using the document tabs at the top of the window.

  • Multiline support in the Strings panel (p. 169) The Strings panel has been improved to include multiline support in the String field and the language XML file.

  • Object Drawing model (p. 73, 81, 122) Previously in Flash, all shapes in the same layer on the Stage could affect the outlines of other overlapping shapes. You can now create shapes directly on the Stage that will not interfere with other shapes on the Stage. When you create a shape with the new Object Drawing model, the shape will not cause changes to other shapes that exist underneath the new shape.

  • Object-level Undo mode (p. 444) You can now choose to keep track of the changes you make in Flash on a per-object basis. When you use this mode, each object on the Stage and in the library has its own undo list. This allows you to undo the changes you make to an object without having to undo changes to any other object.

  • Panel management improved (p. 56–57) Customize panels to optimize the way you work and reduce on-screen clutter. You can group panels together in tabbed-panel sets, like Dreamweaver and Fireworks.

  • Pencil and Brush tool curve smoothing (p. 76) The Pencil tool and Brush tool now let you select the degree of smoothing to apply to curves that you draw with those tools. By increasing the amount of smoothing, you can reduce the number of points used to calculate the curve, which results in smaller SWF files.

  • Preferences dialog box improved (p. 58) Macromedia has streamlined the design of the Preferences dialog box and reorganized it for improved clarity and ease of use.

  • Publishing interface improved (p. 447) The Publishing Setting dialog box has been streamlined and reorganized for more control.

  • Rectangle and Oval tool settings (p. 79) The Rectangle and Oval Tool Settings dialog box lets you specify the width and height of ovals and rectangles, as well as the corner radius of rectangles so that you can create rounded-corner rectangles.

  • Script Assist (p. 334, 360) Script Assist mode (formerly called Normal mode) in the Actions panel allows you to create scripts without detailed knowledge of ActionScript. Script assist provides a visual user interface for editing scripts that includes automatic syntax completion as well as descriptions for the parameters of any given action.

  • Stage Pasteboard expanded (p. 88, 118) You can use the area around the Stage to store graphics and other objects without having them appear on the Stage when you play the SWF file. Macromedia has now expanded this area, called the Pasteboard, to allow you to store more items there. Flash users often use the Pasteboard to store graphics they plan to animate onto the Stage later, or to store objects that do not have a graphic representation during playback, such as data components.

  • Stroke properties improved (p. 75) Select from a variety of line cap and join types. A join is the place where two strokes come together. A cap is the end point of a stroke that does not join with another stroke. In addition, the maximum size of a stroke has been increased from 10 to 200 pixels, and you can now color strokes using a gradient fill. You can now apply a gradient to a stroke and a fill. Stroke hinting makes stroke intersections easier to view by adjusting line and curve anchors on full pixels, preventing blurry lines.

  • SWF metadata (p. 17) Authors can add a title and description (metadata properties) to a SWF file, allowing Internet search engines to more accurately categorize the content represented by the movie file and improve the searchability of SWF file over the Internet.

  • Text tool improved (p. 152–153) Resize a text box using text handles. You can drag any of the four handles to resize a text box.

  • Text in both Flash authoring and Flash Player Improved (p. 164) Text on the Stage now has a more consistent high-quality appearance in the Flash authoring tool and in Flash Player with FlashType, which greatly improves the readability of text, particularly when it is rendered at smaller font sizes.



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