The Macromedia Upgrade Train just pulled into the station with a new version of Studio, now at version 8.0. What’s new? Flash, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, new features, huge file size, lower price.
Nah, just kidding about the price. You’ll think Macromedia is a member of OPEC and selling gasoline when you see the new price tag.
First, this isn’t meant to be a full, inclusive in-depth review of Macromedia Studio 8. Why? Well, reviews take time. Studio 8 was just released today.
It’s also available as a free (albeit HUGE) download in the trial version so you can try before you buy and make your own review.
What you will get is first impressions from someone who’s been using Dreamweaver and Fireworks and Flash since the 1.0 days. Yes, I’m that old.
Second, this may be the last true Macromedia version of Studio as Adobe plans to swallow up Macromedia and incorporate their graphics, web, and server applications into the Adobe stable of products.
You do get one prelude with Macromedia Studio 8. Price increase. Get ready. You’ll think you’re heading to the local Shell station for a fill up.
Thirdly, I like Macromedia Studio; Flash, Fireworks, Dreamweaver. They’re great graphics and web design applications, in the Adobe tradition. Adobe has nothing that’s as cool and complete as Flash. Image Ready is not Fireworks. Dreamweaver runs circles around GoLive.
Is it any wonder Adobe wants to buy the company? Why does Macromedia want to sell? Shareholder value. Get out while you can because it’s getting tough to make a buck despite the high prices.
Finally, this brings me to the quandary. Value. Studio’s new upgrade price is $399. The full version is $999. Obviously, Adobe has secretly planted some of their executives on the Macromedia pricing committee.
Is the upgrade worth the price? I’ve started skipping versions of Photoshop CS. Why? Not enough new value or valuable features to make it worth the expense.
Remember folks, Adobe and Macromedia are in business to make money. From me. From you. That’s OK, “IF” I get something of acceptable value in return. Do I? That’s the big question.
On the surface, Studio has new features. A totally new version of Flash. A revamped Dreamweaver. Fireworks has a few added features and touches but appears to be about the same as the last version.
There’s still no way to create rounded corner rectangles using numerical values. Yeeeesh. How many years does that take? Or, does Adobe have a patent that prohibits Macromedia from delivering certain features?
Fireworks does have some nice menu controls for CSS; good touch for web designers. Dreamweaver is now heavily drag-and-drop, knows how to spell ‘XML,’ and has better zoom and guide features for more precise control.
Flash is an improvement on the standard. Adobe never did well competing against Flash. It’s unlikely that Microsoft will compete successfully against Flash. Why?
Because Macromedia made it work well, and, like Apple with the iPod, keeps making it better with each generation. You won’t believe the number of new graphic and image enhancing features in Flash 8.
It may be that Adobe wanted to buy Macromedia for Flash and Friends, though it’s more likely they wanted to keep Macromedia away from Microsoft.
So, is Studio 8 worth the extra few bucks per gallon? If you’re a Flash user, yes. If you’re only a Fireworks user and can’t spell CSS, no. If you rely on Dreamweaver to make web pages, maybe.
Me? Yeah, I’m coughing up the $399 for the upgrade. Why? This is the year I didn’t upgrade Photoshop CS. So, next year I upgrade Photoshop and Illustrator, but not Flash, Fireworks, Dreamweaver.
Why? Economics. After all, I have to take out a second mortgage to finance SUV fill ups at the local Shell station.