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Macromedia Studio 8: Making All the Apps Play Nice

Article Description

Matthew David discusses how the latest version of Macromedia Studio hones the individual Studio apps to help your Web team create a tightly integrated Web site, with a minimum of duplicated effort.

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Editing Graphics

As Internet connections get faster, customers expect richer media experiences when they come to a Web site. This means lots of graphics. Studio 8 comes with two key graphics tools: Fireworks 8 and Flash 8. Both of these tools interface through the Site Management tool to allow you to place their work directly into your Web site.

Fireworks has always had a close relationship with Dreamweaver. The two products have matured along the same development cycles since day 1. This relationship is clearly represented in Studio 8. When you're working in a Web page in Dreamweaver and you want to edit a graphic in that page, you can select the graphic and choose to have the image edited directly in Fireworks. Fireworks will open with your image. You make the desired edits—which can include cropping, redrawing, even resizing the image—and then select the Done button on the canvas. The reworked image is placed directly into the Dreamweaver page. Fireworks closes and you're back working in Dreamweaver. No muss, no fuss.

Flash works in a similar way. The only difference is that the original FLA file must be opened to allow you to edit it in Flash Professional. When you've finished your edits, you can publish the SWF file and be back in business within Dreamweaver. Flash movies can also be dragged directly onto the Dreamweaver page and viewed inside Dreamweaver. The precise visual layout Dreamweaver now supports allows you to accurately see how the Flash movie will look, without having to preview the page in a Web browser.

Not only can Fireworks and Flash communicate back and forth with Dreamweaver, they can also communicate effortlessly with each other. For instance, you can create a graphic within Fireworks, select the graphic, and immediately paste it into Flash. There's no need to export and import files. Visual effects (such as drop shadows) applied to a vector image will be brought over as a vector into Flash. Previously, the image had to be converted to a bitmap to be ported accurately from one product to the other.

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