Macromedia adding to Studio MX suite

Macromedia Inc. last week added to its Studio MX Suite, its Contribute tool for adding content to Web sites and a new version of the Freehand design tool.

The company will rename the suite Studio MX Plus and also unveiled a software subscription service.

Announced in November, Contribute enables laymen to add content to Web sites. “It makes it possible for business users to contribute content to Web sites without compromising the control of either the formatting or the layout of files or directory structure, or anything about the Web site that the professional [Web developer] wants to hang on to,” said Tom Hale, senior vice-president in charge of business strategy at Macromedia, in San Francisco.

Macromedia will upgrade the Freehand MX (formerly Freehand 10) print and Web graphic design tool now in the suite, fitting it with a new interface and a live connection to technical resources at Macromedia and integration with other parts of the product family. Other new features include an enhanced ability to output directly to the Flash file format, the ability to import Flash files, a bigger selection of action script events, and an improved movie set-up process.

A user of the current Studio MX product said he has been pleased with it. “We pretty much use it for the assembly of all our Web sites. We also write some back-end code as well,” said Buck Cerulli, vice-president of Creative at 2b interactive, an Internet marketing and promotions firm in Memphis, Tenn.

Macromedia also is announcing DevNet Subscriptions, a software subscription service for Macromedia developers. Developers can access technologies such as tools, servers, extensions, and components from the company. A subscriber portal enables users to download products, including upgrades and extensions.

DevNet includes the DevNet Resource Kit, featuring building blocks of user experiences, such as pull-down menus and data grids.

The DevNet Subscriptons program is available in two levels, Professional and Essentials. A DevNet Professional subscription, which features single-user perpetual licenses to tools such as DreamWeaver and Contribute, costs US$1,499 for the first year and US$999 to renew yearly.

DevNet Essentials costs US$299 and complements Macromedia Studio MX tolls with an annual subscription to advance access of the quarterly DevNet Resource Kits.

The company also is adding components and extensions for DreamWeaver and Flash to the DevNet Resource Kit. Components such as a rich text editor and UI controls will be added.