, the MX 2004 product line includes a new flavor of Flash, Macromedia's set of tools for creating applications, interfaces and animated graphics using the widespread Flash format. Flash MX 2004 Professional uses a forms-based interface similar to that used by programming environments such as Microsoft's widely used Visual Basic. The regular version of Flash MX 2004 will use the timeline-based interface familiar to long-term Flash developers.
Macromedia has acknowledged that broader acceptance of Flash as a development environment is necessary to realize Macromedia's goal of transforming the animation format into a. The company is , code-named Royale, that will use a text-based interface intended to appeal to developers accustomed to working with Java.
Besides the Flash MX 2004 versions, the new products include Dreamweaver MX 2004, the company's main Web design package; Fireworks MX 2004, a collection of graphics design tools; and Studio MX 2004, a package that combines Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks and several other products. All are available now at prices that were announced.
The new version 7 of the Flash Player, the small application that PCs use to render Flash content, is also available for download now. Improvements in the Player are to allow Web applications and video to run faster.