MAX 2005: Sneak Peaks

In 15 minutes they will start the ‘Sneak Peak’ session. This is where Macromedia lifts it’s usual veil of secrecy and shows us some future ideas for it’s products. I know Thomas Higgins from the Director team is scheduled to show something. I’ll try to blog in real-time if I can, though I may lose my wifi connection if too many people show up.

We’re being warned that this is all pre-alpha software, etc. These features may never see the light of day, but they are things that the development teams want to show off anyway and get some audience feedback. The “theme” this year is the Crocodile Hunter. Lots of snakes and croc props. Outback hats. Australian accents.

Captivate is up first. Implementing a scenario simulation wizard. Basically a flowchart of branched scenarios. A Library so images can be reused. Integration with other products, like Fireworks. You can export Captivate into SWF.

Flex showed some debugging tools. You can record actions in the Flex session using Mecrury QuickTest Pro. The actions get recorded as scripts, which can then be used to play back the user experience. Then they showed a collaborative shopping environment with two people shopping on the same site at the same time with chat and video.

Flex and mapping services. ESRI showed a mapping service that uses SWF graphics instead of bitmaps. They showed the ArcWeb Map Viewer alpha build and you could zoom in and see maps, search and even rotate the maps. Neat. Ships in November.

Breeze collaborative live presentation of a journey from Australia to Anaheim. Basically, they used a Flash Earth map and were able to share live. And it recorded it, audio and all.

Cold Fusion showed some Eclipse stuff, RDS Fileview/Dataview. A database explorer in Eclipse. A query builder, somewhat graphical with joins and sorting and such. Also, a Flash Media Server gateway that works with Cold Fusion.

Flex Builder is in alpha now, and they showed some of it and some they may want to add. I don’t know enough about Flex to comment on this very well, sorry.

Dreamweaver: AJAX (Dynamic HTML stuff) being created in Dreamweaver. New menu items to facilitate AJAX objects and such. Seems to really use XML a lot. A lightweight ajax.js engine. Refresh regions. AJAX library has various services.

Contribute: Focus on integration with new workflows liek AJAX, blogs and Wikis and such. Edit buttons in browser toolbar. Contribute toolbar in MS Word allows you to publish Word docs while you work on them in Word. New protocols for blogging. Can add new content to blogs without having to create a “new page” and such. Alpha and betas next year.

Director: Thomas Higgins takes the stage. Full screen tabbed editing. All editors tabbed right across the top of the window. A script explorer on the left that lists all scripts. Score window can be docked on the side of the Stage for short scores. Tool windows can be un-floated and layered. Lots of changes to make the UI easier. Center docking channel.

New Flash 8 Asset Xtra for Director. All script objects inside are available to Director. Showed dynamic real-time blur of 3D fire, using Flash blur effect. Behaviors to use Flash image stuff in Director very easily.

Flash: 8.5 will be the biggest, most ambitious release of the player. Showed ActionScript 3.0 demo, same flocking behavior I saw earlier. The idea is AS 3 is fast. Blaze is code name for next authorizing tool, maybe in spring to give us AS 3 in Flash. Code collapse.

Flash mobile: Flash Lite 2.0 to include video. Ideas for new features: memory reporting, performance reporting, heap size, etc., device state management, simulate phone events like incoming calls. Recordable events in emulator for faster testing. Brightness controls in emulators to simulate phones, daylight, night, backlight, etc. Mobile projectors — look like phone, but on a PC.


Posted on October 18, 2005 at 6:17 pm by site admin · Permalink
In: General

7 Responses

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  1. Written by JP
    on 10/18/2005 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks for the update. Was hoping for more in Director than UI tweaks and Flash integration though… (regarding the described UI changes… are these really needed on dual-monitor set-ups?) No word on Mac-Tel migration either?

  2. Written by Casey
    on 10/18/2005 at 9:46 pm

    Yeah, I can see something like this being a dot release between now and Director 11, but a major release…I know the team at MM has said they don’t want the next major release to be “Director 11, now with all the features of Flash 8” – I wish they would have shown more. Once again, I think some kind of Movie Clip/Multiple Timeline has to be in the next version, if this is going to be Linked Director Movies, they need to fully work and have a way to edit them in the main movie. Also, 3D must be address, either revamped or simply declared “unsupported” like the Multiuser Server. Many Director Developers have held on for a while, waiting for the “version 2” engine. If it’s coming, put it in, if not, say it’s never going to happen and let us move on. I know you can sense the frustration, this is the make or break version of Director for me, and I really would like it to make.

  3. Written by JP
    on 10/19/2005 at 6:53 am

    I would feel better if they absorbed the Printomatic and Buddy API Xtras. Not only are these essential for many projects (what if one of these guys got hit by a truck or something?) but they add a significant chunk of change to the fledgling developer’s start-up costs. The only downside is if the Xtras were allowed to stagnate under the MM/Adobe ownership…

  4. Written by Mike
    on 10/19/2005 at 9:09 am

    Not a breath about 3D revisions. Exactly what I expected to hear. 3D is so far off MM’s radar and has been for years now. And don’t expect Adobe to help out, as they have already killed off their own 3D “atmosphere”. Adobe is all about ROI and they’ve already decided themselves that doesn’t exist with 3D. So why would they fund R&D to the director team to ramp up the 3D capabilities. I like the changes coming for Director and I’m really pleased and excited after seeing the sneak peak details. I do feel bad for folks who were crossing their fingers for a bump in 3D. It really is ashame that there has never been a version 2 bump.

  5. Written by Mike
    on 10/19/2005 at 9:21 am

    BTW, I wrote a huge article after the MX 2004 release about how I thought MM had missed the boat. I’ll sum it up. I was shocked they had spent so much time and R&D on an unproven concept (CENTRAL), when they could have allocated that man power and resources to Director, 3D and shockwave. Because they could have easily have focused attention on an online portal for director game developers to submit games to and do revenue sharing. This was the CENTRAL model, but I really felt it made more sense for people to download cool games, than neat software/shareware apps. MM could have kept the 3D, shockwave momentum building and moving forward. Ironically I think 3D as a concept is finally being embraced by the consumer (films, commercials, animation). And hardware is about a year or two away from reaching that key inflection point where base Dell systems can handle most 3D apps/games, etc. It sucks to see no 3D updates just as the market is finally beginning to enter a sweet spot. Not just for the end usere, but also the affordability for 3D apps and development of 3D games.

  6. Written by Tom Higgins
    on 10/20/2005 at 2:52 pm

    Hey all, just a few comments in reply to what’s been said above:

    1. In regards to having only shown UI and Flash Xtra features goes, it’s just a matter of what we had ready to show as of yet, that’s not to indicate that those are the only features that will appear. We appreciate the need for features beyond those and are looking at quite a few of the often requested items you all speak of. Sorry I can’t be more definitive but please know that if/when I can start spilling out more information, I will. 🙂

    2. Working closer with 3rd party Xtra developers is definitely an item of interest to me as well. Whether that come in the form of a “DRK” of sorts (bundle a number of 3rd party Xtras on a CD with some demos and tutorials so that both new and existing users get a better idea of the scope of our extensibility layer) or something provided within future releases, I think that’s a great idea. This has been a topic of discussion internally as well as at MAX this past week.

    3. 3D. Hmph, well, I can’t really argue against the fact that 3D hasn’t been a focus here at Macromedia since the 8.5 release. Two major product releases with no 3D features sends a pretty clear signal, so no arguments there. But as to whether or not Adobe is interested in 3D I would like to point out that they do seem interested in 3D technologies again. Sure, Atmospheres was put to rest but as of late they seem to be very involved with the 3D Industry Forum (3DIF – and now offer 3D rendering abilities inside PDF ( So while I don’t have any concrete information about their future plans around 3D technologies, the fact that they do seem to be investigating in the field as of today (even if in a different focus area than our engine has been used for) gives me higher hopes for 3D updates under the new corporate banner than I might have otherwise.

    But hey, that’s just my $0.02 and until you have new bits in your hands that’s about all it’s worth. I just thought I’d share my thoughts with y’all in case you were interested.

  7. Written by Bill Brown
    on 10/28/2005 at 10:46 pm

    Pure speculation here, but I think one big reason for MM/Adobe to start developing for 3D again is a little product called Microsoft Sparkle Interactive Designer. Thank goodness for competition.
    Also, as Mike eluded to, basic consumer hardware is now powerful enough to run 3D smoothly. Even some cell phones are getting 3D acceleartion! The release of Microsoft Vista will also be a big reason for people to upgrade their ancient boxes to 3D-capable hardware.

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