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Flash MX vs Studio 8

Macromedia Flash Professional 8 is the latest iteration of Macromedia's Flash suite. The previous version of Flash was Flash MX. We will be providing a brief overview of the differences between the two versions of the Flash application. If you would like to get the word straight from the horse's mouth, with marketing bias and all, check out Macromedia's Flash Professional 8.

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New Photoshop Features

The biggest thing I'd have to say about Flash Professional 8 is the inclusion of many of the popular filters we have been using in Adobe Photoshop for the last decade. Now with Flash you can easily add drop shadows, blur, bevel, and glow. It's kind of hard to believe that it took Macromedia this long to add such a staple like drop shadow, but the wait is over for those of us who've been wanting it.

Maybe Adobe's acquisition of Macromedia will turn out well for the Macromedia Flash developer community.

Flash GUI Facelift

Flash Professional 8 also introduces a visual overhaul of the graphical user interface (GUI), making it much more pleasing to have to spend hours upon hours within the program. The window title bars have a soft blue gradient that has a relaxing effect. Also, when you take your flash projects for a test run they now pop up in a new window that is fit to size, which eliminates that small annoyance I always had with taking my Flash projects for a test drive.

Actions Changes

In Flash MX there were two modes of operation when adding actions to your Flash file: normal and advanced mode. Macromedia has renamed normal mode to "Script Assist" though its functionality largely remains the same.

The navigation of the actions has also been updated (Actions is now Global Functions), but Flash MX users won't feel lost with the additions and changes.

High Resolution Video Codec

The first thing you'll notice about this iteration of Flash is the advertisements you see seem so much more lifelike. This is thanks to Macromedia's new video codec (On2 VP6 High Quality) which yields surprisingly vivid results.

Mobile Emulator

A cool addition is the interactive mobile emulator that you can use to test out your flash applications on mobile phones. Phones must have the Flash Lite Player installed to run flash applications.

Conclusion

By and large this update isn't that different than any other iteration. You've got a couple new tools to force an update for the serious developer, the GUI is slightly more user friendly, and numerous other small changes were made, but there aren't any revolutions.

Check out for Macromedia's information.

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