How Does This Flash Thing Work, Exactly?

I'm a reasonably accomplished software user. I can get most of the software I work with to do what I need it to do. Most of the time.

December 30, 2003

3 Min Read
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Sometimes I feel so inadequate.

I'm a reasonably accomplished software user. I can get most of the software I work with to do what I need it to do.

Like many of us, I use (am saddled?) with Microsoft products and/or products that work on Windows. Some of it is excellent stuff, other items are just terrible (but isn't this life?). By the way, this article is being written with Word, and then e-mailed to Jennifer, my ever-faithful editor, via Outlook using my FREEBSD server J.

What has happened since the early days of software has been called the bloat. Now bloating, in many instances, is dangerous. From the days when I worked on a Thoroughbred Horse Farm, I learned that a horse that has bloat, if not quickly remedied, could die. Software, when it gets bloated, doesn't die, it just causes the user to upgrade their computer, so they can still run the core group of sub-programs that they want to use.

I just got a copy of Macromedia's StudioMX2004. This suite of software comprises Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks and FreeHand. It's a powerhouse of software, and a web developer's dream. Now, I'll admit it, they've stumped me. I looked at Flash, and for the life of me, can't get it to work. FreeHand, duh! Have absolutely no clue! Did I mention that I'm graphically impaired Fireworks, I can use ever so casually (at least Fireworks 4.0. I didn't even bother with MX, I was so stymied by Flash and FreeHand).I've been a user of Dreamweaver since it was Dreamweaver 3.0. I tried all the other major software at the time, and decided this was the best package. So I was really interested in what MX could do, after migrating to 4.0. I admit, the migration was easier than expected. It read all the sites (projects) stored in my system and just copied them over. That saved me hours of work! But so far, I've only used the base set of functions (in other words, I don't have Coldfusion, an ASP machine, and can't get the PHP MySQL to workyet).

I must say that MX requires one to do a fast learning curve to make it work. Here are my gripes in no particular order " and you should know that I like the package!

The entire package is based on styles, unlike version 4.0. Every two seconds, another style is born. And, they've changed the way fonts are sized! The software is slow on my machine (I have 1.2 ghz and 512-MB RAM). Every time I cut a line, the entire page cuts away (this is getting to be a real pain). Starting a new page from a template, requires me to find the right site (project), instead of just popping up as it did, correctly, based on the site I chose when I began working on the particular project.

Then there are changes that are just changes. I'm getting used to them (I suppose I'm a creature of habit). I'd recommend Dreamweaver, but, then again, I haven't done a comprehensive look at the other products in a while...Oh, and Macromedia, how 'bout making Flash more intuitive? You've intimidated me, and now I have feelings of inadequacy!

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