Macromedia Ships Flash 4
Now with MP3 Streaming Audio, the Web Standard for Creating High-Impact, Vector-Based Sites Delivers Wealth of New Enhancements
San Francisco, Calif— June 15, 1999—Macromedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: MACR) today announced the worldwide availability of Flash 4, the new version of its popular Flash authoring software. Flash 4 includes integrated support for high-fidelity MP3 streaming audio and commands for easily creating sites with sophisticated interactivity. In addition, Flash 4 dramatically streamlines the development process with a revamped authoring environment optimized to help developers create bandwidth-efficient Web sites that combine the production values of television with the immediacy of the Internet.
Since its introduction in 1996, Flash has become the standard for creating high-impact vector-based Web sites that deliver sound, interactivity, graphics and animations and perform flawlessly across multiple browsers and platforms. Macromedia last month announced a Free Source licensing program for the Flash Player code, speeding its incorporation into the next generation of Web-enabled appliances. Many leading companies, including Citibank, PepsiCola, Daimler Chrysler, and Nestle are using Flash to create beautiful Web sites that effectively communicate their brands.
"With Flash 4, Macromedia has brought Flash to a level where it stands completely on its own," said Josh Ulm, design director at Quokka Sports, a digital sports entertainment company based in San Francisco. "Macromedia has found a way to balance what makes Flash conceptually unique with what makes applications intuitive, smart and easier to use. Combine that with fact that the Flash Player source is now free, and the development platform suddenly becomes wide open. For Quokka, that means complete control in authoring the experience while providing our sports fans with the most easily accessible and visually intense content on the Web."
MP3 Audio, Sophisticated Interactivity Enhance Web Experience
MP3 streaming audio support in Flash 4 allows designers to create new Web audio applications, such as long-form animations with voiceovers and background music, while keeping files small enough for efficient, low-bandwidth delivery.
Newly introduced support for text entry fields in Flash 4 allows developers to create more attractive and better integrated Web forms, applications, and e-commerce front ends. Sites can now easily gather customer data from within Flash-based Web pages, and then pass that information to a Web server. Flash offers extensive control over how user-entered information is displayed, allowing designers to create richly interactive Web sites without sacrificing aesthetic control.
Flash 4 takes interactivity a step further, with an enhanced set of Actions that allow Flash developers to create interactive interfaces and distinctive Web applications without needing to do any programming. New Actions in Flash 4 enable sophisticated behaviors such as draggable interface elements, conditional logic, and basic mathematics, simplifying the creation of Web shopping cart applications, for example.
A Fast, Professional Development Environment
The Flash 4 authoring interface has been revamped to make creating distinctive Flash sites faster and easier. Improvements include new Inspector palettes and drawing tools, as well as simplified layer management so that creating original content in Flash is more intuitive. An optimized Timeline and smart motion guides streamline the process of creating animations; and an improved Library palette with sorting, grouping, and usage tracking capabilities eases asset management. Finally, a new Publish command outputs the range of Flash-supported formats—including multiple versions of HTML, compressed bitmaps, and even the new QuickTime 4—with a single mouse-click.
Other Macromedia applications that publish the Flash file format include Macromedia FreeHand, which combines professional illustration tools and a powerful, multipage document layout environment for print and Web multipublishing, and Macromedia Generator, the server side solution for automating and personalizing Web site graphics.
"The new features and workflow enhancements in Flash 4 enable Web developers to deliver high-impact, low-bandwidth sites that can be experienced across all browsers, platforms, and Web-enabled devices," said Jonathan Gay, Macromedia vice president and architect of Flash engineering. "Fusing MP3 streaming audio, advanced interactivity, QuickTime export, and integrated publishing features, Flash 4 is truly adding life to the Web for designers, consumers and the industry."
Pricing and Availability
Flash 4 is now available for Windows 95/98, Windows NT, and MacOS for an estimated street price of US $299 in North America. Current registered Flash users can upgrade to Flash 4 for US $129. Flash 4 can be purchased by calling (800) 457-1774 or bought directly from Macromedia's Web site at www.macromedia.com. Interested parties outside North America should contact their local Macromedia distributor.
Macromedia's mission is to add life to the Web. By providing its award-winning Web Publishing, Web Entertainment, and Web Learning solutions to Web designers, consumers, and the enterprise, Macromedia is delivering a completely new generation of Internet tools and technologies designed to transform the Web experience. Headquartered in San Francisco, Macromedia (NASDAQ: MACR) has more than 500 employees worldwide and is available on the Internet at http://www.macromedia.com.
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Macromedia, Flash, FreeHand, Generator, and Shockwave are trademarks or registered trademarks of Macromedia, Inc., as indicated. Other company names, brand names and product names may be trademark(s) of others.